I’m a Guilty Dog Owner and So Are You
So, I have a dog.
He’s a he, with the name of Frankie and comes from a long line of German Shepherd X Kelpies rescued from the pound. He’s a modern day dog with the luxury of two mums — myself and my sister — and two grandmums — our mum and her partner (they’re not fans of the title). He’s also blissfully unaware of the fact he could have been the one whole male of the household, more bark than bite you know?
Okay, now picture this.
You’re out walking your own dog, around the usual ring of clipped lawns and uneven pavement.
The wind’s whipping by as you pump your calves, power walking with your pooch. Or, maybe, it’s only your dogs ass that’s getting whipped for shitting on the wrong person’s lawn, again. Either way, all is dull in your usual world.
Until your horizon, once bestrewn with only blossoms and bushes, is smudged by the black blur of fur that’s another dog. As the distance shortens, an “oh, no” shivers through you.
It’s that dog.
You know, the one that prances along with its tail perked up, ears pricked and alert as can be. The one that doesn’t wag said tail when another dog passes by. The one that barks — just that little bit much — when you walk past its gate. The one with the short, taut leash. The one with the lean and unfortunately strong physique. The one that beats up on your dog.
The one that makes you cross the road.
Yeah, that’s my dog.
And it’s more of a pain in my ass than yours. Trust me. It gets super awkward when I try to preempt another walker’s discomfort and cross the road early, only to find that they’ve also crossed, we’ve spied one another and in a split second realise — we’ve fucked it.
It’s at this point that the other party swallows their pride, crosses back and we both go silently on our way…
With me pretending Frankie’s suddenly done a phenomenally monstrous shit buried inside ‘that massive bush over there’ — so as to avoid their disapproving gaze.
What sucks the most though?
He’s actually bloody brilliant — none of us can figure out what his problem is. We did everything you’re supposed to do.
We socialised, trained, exercised & nourished him with that foul dog food. We played with him constantly and gave him strange, wobbly toys for times when we could throw that ragged rope thing no longer.
We even kept his Puppy School Certificate on constant display — to remind him of his accomplishments every. single. day. *Full disclosure: yes, he can’t read, apparently.
That is to say, we did do everything that your average human family could.
What normal human being has time to methodically, incrementally, 5 — then 10 — then 20 minutes at a time, every day, over weeks, slowly introduce their pup to the mind-blowing idea that they do in fact *magically disappear* from time to time?
Or feed them an all raw homemade diet of red meat, leafy veg, no grains & vitamin supplements, to be dished out morn and eve? Shit, I barely have enough time make my own food, and the closest I ever get to a supplement are those delicious Vitamin C tablets.
But I do think… am I the abnormal one? Is that the reason he has separation anxiety? Or itchy skin? Does every other owner know that the aforementioned ridiculousness isn’t in fact ridiculous, it’s part of the animal owning package? By god I’m driving myself insane.
But really, it’s the other owners with their judge-y eyes and pompous poodles. Or the scathing looks from precision handlers and their perfectly trained companions, that really gets the guilt gonads going. Okay fine, Frankie doesn’t particularly enjoy the company of other dogs, nor has he figured out yet that only nice people come through the back gate (except for the meter man of course).
And yes, I have forgotten a poo bag on occasion as well — but — that still doesn’t mean that he’s a bad dog, or, more neurotically so, that I’m a bad parent.
What it does mean though? I’d recommend you still cross the road.
And fuck having real kids.