Today we are tasked with coming up with a post inspired by a comment we made on another blog.
This morning, as I pulled up my reader and explored tags related to parenting, I came across this post by MommyBlogga: 10 Reason Why Being a Mother Makes Me Want to Kill My Dog. Before I go any further, I do want to make clear that she does not actually condone petricide.
We have four pets: two dogs and two cats (we also have an aquarium, but the maintenance on that is pretty low). Our cats, George and Maggie, we adopted. George is and has been the most laid back, easy to care for cat ever. Maggie has been neurotic since we took her home. When we moved into our current house we didn’t see her for a year, and she still seems to forget who we are if we go away for a weekend. Our dogs are Mortimer and Zelda. Zelda is a wire-haired fox terrier. Those who don’t know me ask if we named her after the Nintendo game, those who think they know me assume it’s after Zelda Fitzgerald, and those who really know me know that she’s named after the video game, but that I wanted people to think she was named for Fitzgerald. Mortimer is an 85-lb black Goldendoodle. I happened to have finished Terry Pratchett’s Mort, so…big black dog…death’s apprentice…Mortimer. Luckily both dogs are breeds known for their lack of shedding.
I can relate to most of the items on her list. Mortimer’s tail is right on head level for my 3 and 1-year-olds, so there is frequent face smacking. They bark at everything which makes nap time tenuous. They do smell like dogs, and since this summer there have been several occasions where they’ve brought fleas in. If we had our three children before taking on any pets, we’d probably have at least three fewer pets. Still, I started thinking about the not so obvious upsides.
First, the barking; yes, it’s annoying. I’ve started to hate squirrels and I curse the wind when it shifts, as both of these are just two of the many things that set my dogs into barking hysteria. On the other hand, I am aware of anyone coming up to my door as soon as they step into our yard, and occasionally Mortimer’s booming voice turns solicitors around before the ring the doorbell.
Then there are the attempts to snatch food right out of my children’s hands. All in all, this is a bad thing. If he’s not paying attention, Zelda will slyly eat the exposed part of the banana that my son is holding in his fist, which leads to legitimate outrage and a potential fit. However, my kids have gotten savvy, and know that the best way to keep their snacks for themselves is to eat them at the table, which theoretically would make my house neater. Likewise, I’m not happy that the dogs push my kids around, but, my kids are stronger and stay better aware of their surroundings for it. I figure, with the food snatching and knockdowns, if there is ever a toddler Hunger Games, my guys have a leg up. They know how to stand their ground and defend their food.
Related to a point made above; I am not going to win any awards for housekeeping. Today was the first time I’ve mopped my floors since I don’t know when, and I don’t keep up on sweeping and vacuuming as much as I should. I frequently insist my friends keep their shoes on upon entering my home. I’m ashamed that it would be worse if it were not for the dogs. If you were to look at the floor under where my 3-year-old sits at dinner, you would guess that he just opens his mouth, throws food at his face, and hopes it gets in. The dogs take care of that mess expediently.
That’s just a few of the positives; along with the fact that they’re family, and I love how Mortimer allows the kids to use him as a step stool, and how Zelda has actually jumped into the shower with me when she was frightened by thunder, and how both George and Maggie seem to know when I’m a little down, and sit near me and console me with their hushed purrs. Those are upsides too.