Utah Dad grew up in a non-dog household and when I say "non-dog household" I really mean a "despise and fear all dogs household". We will place the blame for this attitude squarely on the shoulders of his dad (I'm actually sure that he won't mind). When Utah Dad and I got married, my family still had our most beloved yellow Labrador Pete (we had many various dogs over the years but Pete lived with us the longest and became part of the family). Utah Dad tolerated Pete (and might be willing to admit that he sometimes liked him) but practically made me sign a prenup that we would not have a dog unless we had at least three acres of land.
So, you can imagine my complete surprise a few weeks ago to learn that Utah Dad had spent some time researching the best dog breed for our family. If he had just checked online I might not have been so shocked, but he went so far as to make a phone call to a local pet store and had a lengthy conversation with the owner. That evening he announced to the family that our perfect dog would be either a beagle or a Boston terrier and that he thought we should get one. Soon.
I made a quick note of the size of our back yard. Nope. Not even close to three acres. Not even close to one acre. I never thought that in our marriage I would have to be the heavy on this particular issue. I never imagined that I would one day tell my husband that we were not getting a dog. Because I actually like dogs. I recall a multitude of fond memories of almost all the dogs we had growing up. But I don't want one. At least not right now.
I grew up on a small farm. We had acreage and the dogs could do their business somewhere I didn't have to go. I didn't have to take them for walks. I didn't have to scoop poop from my lawn or my neighbors' lawns. (One of my "pet peeves" is when people let their dogs poop on their neighbors lawns or the sidewalk or the park or . . . and do nothing about it.) Frankly, I think I already deal with enough poop.
I recognize that having a puppy that loves you unconditionally and slobbers wet kisses all over your face would be good for my kids (and Utah Dad, who must be feeling unloved or something). However, my kids are still young and probably not ready for the responsibility of completely caring for a dog. I am the mom. And I know that I will have the primary responsibility of caring for the dog. And you know what, I don't think my kids even want a dog. When Utah Dad brought it up that night at dinner no one jumped on the puppy band wagon. Amberly said she wanted a cat (ew!).
I thought that the phase of wanting a dog was over and dead the next day when Utah Dad informed me that he had spent his afternoon watching the neighbor dogs poop all over their backyard. He hates the two dogs next door. They bark every time we go outside. (In our good neighbors' defense--we have a fence and they never let their dogs "go" on our yard). Then last week while Utah Dad was out of town for work, the local pet store called ("Animal Ark" flashed on the Caller ID). The woman asked for my husband and I told her that he was gone and I would be happy to take a message. She hesitated and then told me that they had just gotten Boston Terrier puppies. Utah Dad had asked her to call him if they got any. I laughed, thanked her for calling and told her that we were not getting a dog (especially not a Boston Terrier).
When I told Utah Dad about the call, he was upset. His words: "I told them specifically to ask for me and not to leave a message with you if I wasn't home." I had foiled his ruse.
And then the Netflix movie last night was "Marley and Me". I added it to the list months ago and forgotten about it. The movie, about a big crazy yellow lab, had varying effects on Utah Dad and me. I experienced a wave of nostalgia. I'm sure that anyone who has ever loved a yellow lab could completely relate to the experience of owning Marley. I laughed and I cried a little--really just a drop or two of moisture leaking from my eyeballs. My family had and loved Pete for twelve years. My dad rescued him from the pound as an over-grown, already house-broken one-year-old puppy. Our family lore includes thousands of Pete stories (just ask my brother-in-law). "Pete Stories" is an actual genre in the bedtime repertoire at my house.
Utah Dad, however, was mortified by the destruction that can be caused by a large, hyperactive dog/puppy. He didn't meet Pete until he was a middle-aged dog who spent most of his time laying around and farting. I can pretty much guarantee that Utah Dad will not allow a yellow lab in his future which makes me a little sad because they are my favorite. But the movie didn't completely deter Utah Dad from the idea of owning a dog. It may have actually had the opposite effect.
After the movie, he insisted that I take an online questionnaire that would tell me the perfect dog for our family. How much time would I be willing to spend grooming a dog? A few minutes a week. Would I be willing to take my dog to a professional groomer? Are you kidding? I rarely take my children to a professional groomer. What is the climate? Extreme--freaking cold in the winter and blasted hot in the summer. After answering a few more questions, the results were in. The top two dogs on my list were hairy and ugly and not at all what I would choose (were my answers to the questions really considered at all? Maybe just the extreme climate). Third on my list was the beagle.
Beagles are cute. And someday when I no longer have a baby in diapers, I can actually picture our family with a dog--maybe a beagle.