Four months ago my neighbor walked up my drive. I was outside working in the yard.
“This is our new puppy, Penny. She’s just a couple of weeks old. You wanna dog share?”
As we talked, I realized he and his children had purchased the dog without full permission from his wife. He was trying to save his marriage.
“It’s an interesting concept,” I admitted. If I was ever going to have a dog, split custody would be the way to go. You’d have built-in care when you went out-of-town, and you could split the expenses.
I briefly wondered if there was someone who might want to do the same with my kids.
I’ve always felt I was sort of robbing my girls of one of a child’s most precious experiences by not allowing them to have a pet, well save the Hermit crab. Perhaps this was a way to give them what they desperately wanted with only half the pain for me.
We decided that my neighbor would potty train the dog and that we would keep it when they went on vacation in several months. That would be our test drive.
It’s several months, we’re on day 7 of 9, and we’re failing the test.
I have spent the last week of my life arranging my schedule around Penny’s bowel movements. There is only one being on this earth that I’m willing to make adjustments to my schedule for bowel reasons: ME. I do not like this.
I wake up at 6 AM so Penny can pee. She then eats. My neighbor told me that exactly ten minutes after she eats, we must take her outside because she WILL be pooping soon. The one thing he had wrong is “exactly” ten minutes. It could be less. It could be 9 or eight. Just ask my dining room carpet.
Oh, and just because she poops ten minutes later does not necessarily mean she ain’t gonna poo 20 or 30 minutes after that. Just ask the rug in my living room.
And guess what? I’m out of plastic Harris Teeter bags. Wanna know why? Because when I take Penny out to do her business, I then have to PICK HER BUSINESS UP and CARRY IT WITH ME for the rest of our walk. Yes, I have to pick up her dung, it’s a law in Raleigh. On Tuesday I happened to have an itchy nose. I had the leash in my left hand and bag of her brownies in my right hand, although I sort of forgot. When I reached up to scratch my nose, I realized I had %$#& about an eighth of an inch from my left nostril. I gagged.
At work I was telling a buddy of mine this story and he said, as if he had pondered this on several occasions, “You know Danny, you never see white dog poop anymore.” He then walked out of my office.
He’s right! When I was a kid, there was petrified white dog poop all over our neighborhood. When I’d mow the lawn it would fly out from under the blades.
Never, ever do I see that anymore. I miss it.
You know why we don’t see it anymore? It’s because we PICK UP OUR DOG’S FECES! That’s not right. We shouldn’t do that. It should stay in nature where it belongs.
Although Penny is extremely sweet, and I have enjoyed her, this week has taught me that the Tanner family will not EVER be getting a pet, not even a fish. I don’t want to go outside at 11 PM waiting on a dog to decide which blade of grass to pee on. Twice I went myself in the yard while waiting. I thought that perhaps my example might spur her on; plus it was one less thing I’d have to do once I finally got back in the house.
The beautiful thing about the week is that I don’t think any of my kids will ever ask me if we can have a pet again. They’re as exhausted as I am!
I think I’ll keep my kids full-time. I think I’ll keep Penny on the occasional weekend. That will be plenty for all.