“No. I don’t want three dogs. Two dogs are more than enough for any normal person.” My husband repeats this phrase, which has become his mantra over the past several years, for the thousandth time.
“Oh, come on David. You love the dogs.”
“Yes, I do. But that doesn’t mean I want another one. I love Cameron, but he’s still an only child.” Of course referencing the fact that we have only one human child made me feel guilty in year one of this discussion, but this is year three. I’m over it. Besides, we both know if I ever told him I wanted another baby he would gladly take me to the nearest animal shelter. With Cameron in high school, we have no intention of starting over with babies. Dogs don’t need car insurance, carry cell phones or dream of going to fancy private colleges. They certainly don’t roll their eyes in exasperation at how clueless you are as an out-of-touch-with-the-world grown-up.
In their own way, the dogs help me deal with the fact that my son is growing up. I adopted our first dog when Cameron entered Kindergarten. When he started junior high, I got my Golden Retriever and trained her as a therapy dog. Cameron is now in high school and my need for a third dog has reached the breaking point. My grandmother says when he leaves for college I will need to have an entire litter. One can only dream.
The first year I yearned for a third, smaller addition to my pack my husband’s mantra had an angry, incredulous edge to it. The second year he sounded frustrated. Now the mantra is more of a desperate plea. A plea for reason, common sense, sanity, if you will. But, it’s hopeless because I have become Crazy Dog Lady.
Yep, that’s the nickname my loving family has given me. Nice, isn’t it? And it’s not just David and Cameron. My own mother even thinks I’ve gone off the deep end. I knew the dogs were going to be a point of contention with her when she and my step-dad came to visit us over the summer at our beach house. (This was back in the two-dog days.) I found her outside on the deck with a bottle of Windex in one hand and her rubber flip-flop in the other.
I knew what was coming, but I had to ask anyway. “Mom, what are you doing?”
“Just trying to get all the dog hair off my shoes.”
Did I mention she was applying the Windex to the bottom of her flip-flop? Or that it was only eleven o’clock in the morning and we still had half a day to tromp all over my fur encrusted carpet? I simply gave her one of the aforementioned exasperated, child-to-parent eyerolls and walked away.
My husband finally relents and agrees to a third dog. I’m elated and must immediately do what any expectant mother would do: go shopping. Unfortunately for David and Cameron, it happens to be Mother’s Day weekend. They are my captives, forced to participate in mom-related activities for two whole days. This is how they find themselves shopping with me at my favorite pet boutique completely against their will.
My eyes glaze over at all the sparkly collars, leashes and accessories to choose from. But, my moment of revelation comes when I spot the fancy dog stroller.
“Oh, my. I could really use that.” I am in a trance, practically drooling over the contraption that looks like a cage on wheels. It is pink, my favorite color.
“Look, it even has a cup holder,” I say, as if this makes perfect sense.
David looks alarmed. “What in the world do you need that for?”
“For the new puppy.”
At this point, Cameron chimes in. “Mom, if you get that I am voting myself out of the family.” Something tells me he’s been watching too much reality television. I sense an eyeroll coming on.
Meanwhile, I’m still making my case for the stroller. “She’ll be very tiny. She won’t be able to keep up with the big dogs. This way I can walk them and she can still come along.”
My husband takes on the demeanor of his “no third dog” mantra in year one. “No way. She needs to learn to walk on her own two legs.”
Cameron can’t resist. “Um, Dad. She’s a dog. She’ll walk on four legs.”
And they call me crazy!
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