Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What Dogs Leave by Margaret Ullrich

We just got back from a walk. Bumped into a few people. Folks are still asking where Bobo is and if we'll get another dog.

We've had at least one dog for 35 years. It's funny the stuff you get used to doing and having around the house. We had a board over the bottom of our bookcase because our fourth dog, Popcorn, got into the habit of peeing on the bottom shelf. He also taught Bobo that little trick. We just got used to vacuuming around the board. Finally we realized we don't need to protect the bottom shelf anymore.


I never realized how many habits we had gotten into because we had dogs. It was a whole lifestyle: get up at night (sometimes a few times) to let the older dog out, wipe them down when it rained and snowed (now we don't have a towel hanging in the side closet), having to do 2 hour-long walks every day (we each did an hour).

During the winter we wondered if one of us would come home with a broken limb because of the ice. We also had to remove ice and mud from their toes after they'd been out in the yard and after walks, and carry treats when we went out so we could calm them when we got home.

There was also the nightly teeth brushing, twice-a-week fur brushing, every three months trimming of fur and nails (I clipped while Paul held). Whenever we were out we had to watch the clock (after 4 hours we'd be asking for trouble). And, of course, checking their dishes regularly during the day.


I asked my cousin Alice how she got used to life after her dog Sadie died. Alice wrote back:


After Sadie died it took a while to get used to her not being there. Looked for her to let her out. And I could swear I could hear her claws on the kitchen floor or her whining to go out.

I missed her but now I'm glad I don't have a pet.

My grandkids tell me they're getting a dog for Christmas. All I could say is they better not. I always wind up with them, and I really don't want any more pets. I don't even want to dog sit.



Alice is right. It's a lot of work.


Still, I miss them.

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