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Monday, January 07, 2008

no dogs were injured during this rant

When one of my Grandma's beloved beagles chopped down on my nose, bit me hard and made me cry, I knew I would be to blame. I must have looked at it wrong, or spoke in the wrong tone. Something. Never mind the fact that I was a kid, and loved the stupid dog and did nothing to harm it. I just remember we were sharing a moment - he was looking me in the eye - and tried to eat my face.

My baby pictures were soon replaced by pictures of show dogs.

I think it's fair to say I'm carrying with me some baggage.

Greg's parents are animal people: they raise and show llamas, have 4 cats and 3 large dogs. The newest dog, a standard poodle, travels with them; they adore him. But he wasn't used to kids in his house, making kid noises, carrying kid toys. He was jumpy, and later, pushy with the kids, pulling on Zack's sweatshirt to move him around.

Poor Zack. He's afraid of dogs, and no amount of reassurance helped, especially when the dog had a good 20 pounds on him.

I had to choke back a bitter laugh when he was being instructed to be the alpha dog, to be the pack leader. Like he's Cesar Millan, age 6.

I woke up the first morning we were there, angry. My whole life I've tolerated pesky pets, taken second place, been instructed on my failings, being a beta dog and all.

I sat in bed and it came to me: I just don't care. It's not my thing. I care, deeply, profoundly, about being a strong woman; a treasured wife, a tender mom. And while I really don't wish any dog ill - step off PETA, I don't - I'm sick of feeling like there is something wrong with me because I don't want to spend my days, using a deep voice, asserting myself.

I suck at being the top dog. It's unpopular in my family circles, but there it is.

I can live with it.

17 comments:

Professor J said...

Poor Zack. A child should never be put in a situation where the dog is the boss; nor should he be told to "be the alpha."

As a dog lover, I have to say I agree that it is perfectly ok for you to not love dogs.

Not a lover or a hater said...

I love animals but they are animals and not people. When people replace/supercede personal relationships with pets it bothers me.

The Boy always gets asks me why I 'persuade' our cat from being underfoot on the stairs. I tell him; "If I fall down the stairs and break my neck because I tripped on the cat, will he go to work and pay the bills? No? Then he and I can not be on the stairs at the same time"

Forsaking relationships with people for animals is dumb. Will your dog/cat/bird pick a good nursing home for you when you need it or feed you when you can't?

-Stu

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what was funnier, Lisa or Stu! I agree with all. And if I may say the dog/vacation issue is really funny from a distance!

Much Love,
Jen B:)

Jen M. said...

I only love my dog because she would die for us. She's the first one we've ever had.

Were your baby pictures really replaced? :(

Mrs. G. said...

You have my permission to not love dogs if I have your permission to hate yoga. I seem to be the only person on the planet right now who thinks it sucks

Kimberly said...

Amen! You summed up my feelings exactly. Thank you!

Lisa Milton said...

Sadly, my sister & I's pictures really were replaced. It isn't a secret that my Grandma fancies dogs over people; just painful, I guess.

And Mrs. G - Stephanie isn't a yoga fan either. I've tried to hoodwink her/cajole her into coming with me, because it really isn't that sweaty. No go.

lapoflux said...

Some people deal better with animals than people. Animals are (in general?) more easily "trained" and require less emotional commitment (the exception to this rule being our cat. She's crazy). Sorry about the baby pictures, that just rots.
And - I am proud of you for not being the alpha dog at your inlaws and biting whoever told your sweet boy to take on a dog bigger than he is. I'm baring my canines and it's not even my story.

lapoflux said...

Some people deal better with animals than people. Animals are (in general?) more easily "trained" and require less emotional commitment (the exception to this rule being our cat. She's crazy). Sorry about the baby pictures, that just rots.
And - I am proud of you for not being the alpha dog at your inlaws and biting whoever told your sweet boy to take on a dog bigger than he is. I'm baring my canines and it's not even my story.

flutter said...

Not everyone has to love a dog, babe.

Julie Pippert said...

Oh you shouldn't have to love dogs, or act like a dog lover or even be an alpha dog.

Wait...that's what you just said, brilliantly, may I add.

Okay well let me just say well said.

But...there are show llamas? Like, competitions among llamas? For show prizes? They do that?

I guess I need to get out more...

(Traveling with a standard poodle...very Steinbeck.)

stephanie said...

Our dogs were replaced by kids; I feel pretty okay with that even though I very much loved & adored our beagle & bassett hound (unless they were eating cat poop).

I am sad for your situation; it sounds like another girlfriend movie weekend is in order :)

Suzanne said...

Way to assert yourself. You should have done it sooner!

My thinking is that dogs are fine... but for crap's sake, they aren't people.

And yes, poor little Zack. He's too little to have to deal with being Alpha anything.

Melanie said...

Amen, sister. I have taken the anti-pup plunge my own blog (http://beanpaste.blogspot.com/2007/11/short-list-of-things-i-thought-i-really.html) But, as I said there, my annoyance is with pet owners, not the pets themselves.

I live in SW Idaho, were my lack of enthusiasm for 1)dogs and 2)camping makes me something of a pariah. Or piranha, whatever.

Herb, Your Only Dad Forever! said...

Lisa, I agree with you on the Damn Dog pictures! At home you will never be replaced with them as long as Mom or I have any say about it. Some day we will have a bye bye to dog picture barbeque. I love dogs, just not beagles. I've had to assist a kennel full for your Grandma too long. I wouldn't harm them, just aren't attracted to 'em! Mom and I are dogless now. Cinder is hard to replace. Best dog ever and she was a pound puppy! You are number 1! Love, Dad

katydidnot said...

only ask bossy if a kid should have to assert him/herself in order to expect not to be "bugged". lord knows, we don't want to teach our children to be alpha, they all already believe the whole world revolves around them.

Daisy said...

I have to agree with lover/hater... wwe're the same way.

One day, I came home from an errand and the kids met me at the door and said, "Daddy kicked the cat!" So, we understand about cats being underfoot.

Daddy got a timeout for kicking the cat in front of the kids. For GP's and all.... He says, "Please? Can you send me to my room???"