Tuesday, June 25, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 16

Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on August 11th, 2015, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 16, Issue 23 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 16, Issue 23

In the doghouse

With a dog in the family, Krider wonders who is boss


I’m proud to announce that I’ve been clean for 10 years now. Thank you, yes, it was a difficult accomplishment, one that I think deserves a toast with a cold alcoholic beverage. 

You see, up until last weekend, my household has been animal free, which means I have been clean; clean from animal byproducts. That is correct, no doggy hair, no doggy poop, and no doggy breath around me. I was a free man, able to travel, leave the house at will, and I have never worried about finding a “dog sitter.” I scoffed at other people’s enormous veterinary bills as “animal owner” problems. It just wasn’t my reality.

Of course, that was all before last weekend, the weekend when I was conveniently out of town and my wife, whom I love, and my daughter, whom I would do anything for, went to the pound and rescued a dog. I didn’t know we were getting a dog. I ignorantly thought we were just discussing getting a dog. Apparently the discussion continued after I left town. My opinion wasn’t represented (not that it would have mattered anyway).

This ongoing discussion regarding whether or not we should get a dog had been raging on for quite some time at our house. My vote wasn’t just “no,” it was more like “hell no.” My wife was initially on the fence on K-9 ownership and my teenage daughter “really, really, really” wanted a dog (because they’re cute). Regardless of the debate, or the pros and cons of dog ownership versus cuteness, the ladies voted without me. Damn the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. You already knew how this story was going to end. Women have the right to vote, and now I own a dog.

But I don’t own just any dog, I own a dog that absolutely loves my daughter to the end of the earth (which is what she wanted) and a dog that growls and barks at me every time I walk into my own house (which again, is what my daughter probably wanted). Being unwelcome in my own home, the home I occasionally work hard to fix up, isn’t an awesome feeling. However it seems that my feelings are of no one’s concern. My wife doesn’t care, my daughter doesn’t care, and it has been made abundantly clear the dog certainly doesn’t give a single wag of its tail about my feelings. All they care about is my daughter’s happiness and the “cute” dog’s happiness. If dad wants to find happiness, he can try to find it in the backyard while picking up doggie bombs. 

I will admit that I do feel as if I scored one victory in “Dog Debategate 2015” because I convinced my wife and daughter not to get a puppy. We have never had any sort of animal so we wouldn’t have the slightest idea of how to take care of a puppy (can you clean one in the dishwasher?). I also convinced my girls that we didn’t need to purchase some sort of purebred dog at an exorbitant price when we could rescue a dog from the pound and save a life. My only instructions to the girls were, “If, and I mean ‘if’ we get a dog, then get one I would be proud to walk around the block alongside. Get a manly dog. Don’t get anything that fits in a purse.”

With those specific instructions (no puppy, no purebred, and no dog that would be mistaken for Paris Hilton’s purse rat) my wife and daughter picked out Betty. Betty is a purebred mutt. She has short brown hair, short legs, and an enormous forehead with beady eyes. Essentially, she looks like a pit bull mated with a weiner dog (whose cousin was probably a Chihuahua). We call her the pithuahua. If it sounds ridiculous, that’s because it is. 

And it is funny to see a dog that is only 18 pounds, try to protect the house from, of all people, the house’s owner.

Theoretically one of the great things about getting a dog from the shelter versus a breeder is the fact that the pound dog is free. Well, the dog is free if you think free equals $280. Plus the girls dropped another cool $200 at Petco for designer water bowls and pink leashes with bedazzled diamonds (another reason for me not to walk the dog). So, on the first day of dog ownership I was out nearly half a grand (and I didn’t even know it, since I was out of town). To thank me (well, my bank account, anyway), for rescuing Betty from certain euthanasia at the pound, little Betty crapped in my game room right under the poker table. It suddenly gives a whole new meaning to having a Royal Flush. 

Because the family brought the dog home while I was away, when I finally came home the dog was confused as to who the heck I was. She had already established her new kennel, and it didn’t include this guy with the bad attitude about little poopy mistakes on the carpet. I was an intruder and thus I was welcomed with growling and laughable barking. It was strange to see so much bravado from an animal I could stomp out while wearing flip-flops. I wasn’t worried though. I had lived in my house a long time. I knew my position as the patriarch of the family was firmly established. Two days into dog ownership and after being snorted at and growled at by a dog with a pit bull attitude and a Chihuahua/wiener physique I realized I was wrong about that.

The hierarchy of the house now goes, Betty the pithuahua, my daughter, my wife, my son (who is leaving this new mess for college), and then me. Once my son leaves I will be the only man in the house. Socially I will be at the bottom. And interestingly, social media-wise I am still at the bottom since now, unbelievably, the dog has its own Instagram account. Follow BettythePithuahua and kill me now.

Krider is thinking if things get worse, it might be him going to the bathroom outside. If you enjoy Rob’s stories check out his novel Cadet Blues available on Amazon.

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