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The Dog Ma

Sep
15
2006

I am a dog person. My kids call me a crazy dog lady.
Heir 1 tries to make me feel guilty by accusing me of loving the dogs more than my own sons, an argument that crumbles when I refer to the decade I spent homeschooling them while my career and finances languished in limbo, not to mention the 19 hours of unrelenting pain I went through to give you life, you spoiled ingrate, who never calls to see if his only mother is alive or dead or what because, God knows, she wouldn’t make a fuss and upset your fancy schmancy life, Mister Big Shot.
Don’t tell me about guilt.
We have four dogs, two Australian Shepherds and two Parson Russell Terriers. We go to dog shows, obedience trials and various other dog-related events. We have doggie t-shirts and sweatshirts. We look for ways to travel with our dogs, which requires more planning than an Italian wedding reception.
Many of my friends are dog people. But not all of them. It’s just that my dog-people friends are more convenient than my non-dog-people friends. Dog-people understand that dogs have to sniff each others’ butts by way of saying “howdy.” They barely comment when a dead animal carcass blocks their way to the front door. They understand why I don’t defrost the sirloin on the counter.
When my non-dog-people friends come over there is this frantic grabbing of all that is canine to shove down the stairs – dogs, bones, mangled toys that might affect the young (our Parson Russell Terrier Gaspode has a fondness for a headless cow). There is a quick perusal of all the corners to check for the fur balls that accumulate every day, particularly during shedding season. Someone has to quickly check the toilet seats for paw prints.
I spend a lot of time apologizing to non-dog-people friends and explaining why we would deliberately adopt a rescue dog we know is going to require $900 in vet bills.
A counselor friend I know theorized that when we adopt a pet we are really adopting ourselves – something that I, at the time, disagreed with since I thought he had just found a clinical way to call me a crazy dog lady.
But, having given it serious thought, I agree with him. I raise my dogs, not as my children, but as myself as a child. As a child I didn’t appreciate my parents’ role as molder of the adult I was to become. I just wanted them to give me food, shelter and love. That’s it.
And that’s my role in my dogs’ life. They don’t care about my motives and I don’t care that they’ll never get into Harvard. We have no lofty expectations of each other. They just want their Snausages and I just want them to not vomit on the one carpet in the entire house (this seems to be more of a challenge that you would think.).
I don’t know what this says about my childhood or relationship with my parents. I think I had a very nice childhood, but they say you never know until you’ve been in therapy or explored a past life or been abducted by aliens.
I guess you’d have to ask my counselor friend about his theory.
Tell him the crazy dog lady sent you.

Share  Posted by Jeanne Jackson at 11:32 AM | Permalink

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