Okay, I’ve got to admit I never saw this coming. Never expected it. It’s like one of those things you swear will never happen to you, but when it does, it kind of creeps up on you and suddenly you’re there. There’s no turning back, no way to pretend it isn’t true.
I (we) have become one of those empty nest (I hate that phrase as much as I hate the term “chick flick”) couples who have acquired another child late in life. It (he) sleeps most of the day, demands to be fed specific foods (i.e., loves carrots but hates green beans), does not want to wear a coat in cold weather, and hogs the best chair in the house. Okay, I’ll admit this sounds sort of like a teenager, but the difference is while he loves to ride in the car, he doesn’t beg to drive.
He also has four legs and lots of fur that requires regular maintenance. And has bad breath. Really bad breath.
Somehow this little guy weaseled his way into our hearts and while he hasn’t replaced our daughters, he has managed to entertain us in much the same way they did (do). He makes us laugh. He can also make us very angry and/or anxious — when he slips by unnoticed and heads out an open door. This not only tests our patience but also our aerobic status — that little guy can run fast. Much faster than my 54-year-old legs can.
When we leave him at home for a long stretch, we feel guilty and usually come home with a new toy or bone. I realize this is really kind of silly. In fact, it flies in the face of all I once believed in — that a dog cannot truly be a member of the family. After all, it’s just a pet, right?
Somewhere along the way, I became one of those pet owners who babies and spoils a four-legged creature, oohs and ahs over its cuteness. It’s almost embarrassing. Actually, it’s really embarrassing.
But what really amazes me is that my husband has become equally attached. He might not admit it, but he likes the darn dog. People tell me that they see him driving around town with the dog in the front seat, head out the window, ears flapping in the breeze.
In fact, he was the one who suggested we may as well let Ike, our little miniature Schnauzer, sleep with us. Hey, who am I to argue? What’s one more snoring male? Some nights it’s like a chorus of snores. I just shove my earplugs in harder and laugh.