Monday, February 6, 2012

The Big Demotion-when Dogs become Dogs.

When I took up the life of a free-lancer a few years back the results were almost all happy ones.  One of the few down sides to it is that frequent absences make it impractical to own a dog.  I love dogs.  Perhaps in my writing it shows just a little.

When people remember their best dog ever it is about an even split between some beloved childhood pet and the first dog you have together as a young couple.  The first case is obvious, the second requires just a little explanation.

The first dog you have as a young couple is your "practice child".  We talk to these dogs a lot.  We are interested in their growing up.  We scoop up droppings.  These are all excellent parent training exercises and make for a pet that is fully integrated into the nuclear family.

And then the first child turns up.  Overnight your dog becomes just a dog.  They realize it on some level.  You see them peering up mournfully from the floor, the new sounds, sights and-oh my goodness-the smells all a mystery beyond the canine ken.  Dogs being practical sorts just sigh, inwardly or audibly and await the eventual barrage of tossed foodstuffs from the high chair.

One of my neighborhood dog pals is facing this transition.  Buck up Haley!
One slight advantage dogs have in the competition for attention...they are never embarrassed by anything:

Sorry, it was the only photo of Haley in full costume that turned out!

Closer to home our eldest son and his fiance now have a dog.  Meet Bruce.

Peering out the window at Haley, who never gave him the time of day.

Bruce should keep the kids busy for a few more years.

Spouse and I of course had our "practice child" dog.  Great mutt she was.  She was a constant companion to my wife during residency and many nights on call.  After her passing we had a local artist do a painting of Bezoar the Wonder Dog.  It hung in my office for years.

Now the world can be a funny place.  When this painting was commissioned we had a baby, our number three son.  And the artist had a daughter about the same age.  In small town America it is hardly surprising that they eventually met, a bit more surprising that they have become very good friends.

But not ready for dog ownership any time soon.

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