There was a time in my life where I thought having dogs was a great idea. We have two small dogs, and they were our world. Peanut was mine, from way before I ever knew my husband, and Winnie Cooper was bought right after we moved to New Orleans. For the first few years of our life as a new family, we brought these dogs to do everything with us. Peanut even came on our honeymoon (but that is a whole other story)! We saw the dogs as practice for having kids. And then we had actual kids.
Before children, I remember thinking, “My dogs are the best. I love them so much. I cannot imagine a life without them!” Peanut and Winnie followed me all over the house. They got walked regularly. They ate really expensive dog food. Heck, I even bought them matching sweaters. I fretted over these dogs and thought they were the world. Now, the conversation about the dogs goes something like this,
Me: Did you feed the dogs?
Husband: No. I thought you did.
Me: Well I thought you did.
Husband: Crap. We are out of dog food! Who’s going to the store?Also the kids need more squeezy yogurt.
Now, it’s not that I don’t love my dogs. It’s just that I don’t love love my dogs. After the first child, the dogs sort of got lost in the shuffle but provided enough entertainment to the child that we thought it was cute. By the time the second child came along, the dogs got pushed so far down the to do list that they almost seem like an afterthought at this point. Usually I’m reminded they are around because of the barking or a child screaming that the dog stole their food or toy. In general, they are just another thing that needs to be taken care of in the midst of busy days, which I just don’t seem to have the energy to do. Yes, they get fed two times a day and get walked, but the zest and zeal for which we previously had for these activities has gone by the wayside after adding two small children to our family.
I’m not sure what it is that causes me to feel this way. The dogs aren’t bad, per se. It’s just that they are more of a pain in the butt. Peanut is somewhere around 13 years old. He is an old, grouchy dog who just wants the kids to give him food but doesn’t want to be pet or played with. The kids see him as a small, white dog that should be poked and thrown food. He is sort of okay with that. Winnie is more like a cat. She hides. She sits in windows. She sneaks around. If you don’t remember to push the chairs in at the table, you WILL find her on it eating all the food. These traits I used to find endearing now just grate on me. I hate to admit it, but some of the best days we’ve had in our house lately are the days the cleaning lady has come, the dogs are at daycare, and the kids are playing and there is no dog barking. Of course, we will take care of the dogs until their time comes, but I just can’t figure out what happened that made me feel so ambivalent towards their existence.
Funny story: We live on a busy Uptown street. The other day we decided to go on a family walk. We have a fenced in yard so we put the dogs in the yard. Part way through the walk, my older daughter (who has been sick) asked to go home. I decided to walk home with her while my husband and other daughter continued on the walk. When we got to the yard, I realized the dogs were not there. But I heard them inside. Silly me, I just thought my husband put them inside before the walk and I just didn’t realize it. A few moments later, my neighbor comes knocking on my door to tell me that the dogs had gotten out and were running away. She said her and another neighbor were able to gather them up and she put them in the house because the front door was open. OMG! Pre-kids, I would have flipped. But when she told me this, I didn’t even freak out at all. I felt more bad that she was inconvenienced than anything!! And my next though was, “Thank goodness she got them and put them in the house. I don’t have the energy to have to deal with searching for two dogs. It’s so close to the baby’s bedtime.”
So someone please tell me: Am I the only parent that feels this way about their pets?