Allow me to introduce Laura, my beloved friend’s daughter. She has something to say on the subjects of dog fostering and dog ownership, and probably on other things doggy. Over to you, Laura!
(Is there a dignified way to do this without sounding like a field reporter? Because the only thing that’s coming to mind is “Ay-ay, Cellopets!” which is cheesy even for the news.)
I had no idea there were so many one-man humane societies out there. Cellopets’ multitudinous-dog lifestyle has always struck me as awesome, but until about an hour ago I assumed she was one-of-a-kind. It’s amazing that there’s this little online community to show the rest of us what we’re missing!
My family has never had a dog. We just haven’t ever decided we could handle it. I guess the idea of adding another high-maintenance member to our family – one that requires food, walks, attention, and the occasional bath – scares us all.
At the moment, we have two indoor cats that suit us perfectly. They’re fairly lazy and depend on us only for food and a moderately clean litter box. We (or half of us, anyway) make an effort to bond with them briefly whenever they’re around, but it’s not like we have to set aside forty-five minutes daily to “take care of the cats.” Sometimes I worry that we take them for granted, and one day they’ll be gone and we won’t have appreciated them enough. They are cats, though, and for the most part, cats are satisfied with a life of sleep, warmth, and love.
Back when I was just a wee dumpling, I desperately wanted a white terrier puppy. You know, like the Webkinz.
Then I found out that’s not how it works, you don’t get to just go out and buy a white terrier puppy, unless you’re a terrible person. It freaked me out a little, when my mom first told me they kill all the animals that don’t get adopted. That made dog breeders seem reeeeally snooty.
And now I’ve got a confession to make: I am a cat person.
See, I started spending time with people’s dogs. And I learned that dogs are really cute, but they’re also wet. And wild. And they can attack you. And they have a LOT of energy.
It must feel so great to have a bunch of little bundles of joy always waiting for you and depending on you, loving you forever. But I think that in order to live that way, you need to have a really playful mindset. The whole dog thing? You have to live it.
Right now, cats are more my family’s speed. I’m not saying that the amazing houseful-of-dogs lifestyle is never going to happen for any of us. It’s just a big idea, and we’re going to have to ease into it.
Back to you, Cellopets. 🙂
P.S. “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” – Groucho Marx
Well, I came home after today’s second long spate of note manufacturing to find Laura’s post, and my first reaction was one of fairly deep disappointment. I’ve waited a few hours to respond to it, and that was the right thing to do, because it’s my belief that truth is what one should want, always (well, I suppose there are exceptions…questions like, ‘Does this make me look fat?’ come to mind…) Laura was truthful, and I really appreciate what she wrote, and it deserves a better response than the one I would have written had I answered her immediately.
I find I cannot, even internally, argue against the reason Laura gives for not wanting a dog badly enough to get one. I had no idea that this was one of the family’s concerns. And I think, now that I know, I’ll have to discontinue my persistent urging re. dog ownership or fostering. Well, maybe not. Let me ‘think aloud’ here, and see what develops.
As the owner of both cats and dogs, I can say without even a second’s hesitation that caring for dogs calls for much more physical energy and strength than does caring for cats. The stuff I need to do to take good care of my dogs adds up to a lot of daily manual labor.
And that’s before I even get to the playing. Most dogs do have a great deal of energy, I suppose, although I’ve never, for some reason, compared the energy levels of cats and dogs. Playing with a dog, you know you’ve been playing! I come home and go right into our suite and sit or kneel down on one of the many cuddling spots, and they’re all over me in an instant, raking my hair with their paws, climbing onto my back, pushing themselves against my hands, and, of course, licking me all over my face. Thinking about this scene, I realize, for example, that almost every day I say the following sentence, ‘Audrey, you have got to stop picking my nose with your teeth!’ Laura would freak if a dog picked her nose with its teeth, she really would!
When I think of that, I feel I really cannot lobby any longer for a dog for her family.
On the other hand, ten dogs is a completely different thing than one dog, and this, again, is something I know from personal experience. And the breed type of the dog makes a big difference, and the individual personality of the dog, too. Out of my ten, for instance, Audrey is the only one who picks my nose (good thing, right?) And Giovanni is the only one who body slams me, and jumps straight into the air to get into my lap. And Charlotte is the only one who nips my thighs (only gently, and just occasionally) to herd me somewhere, and Burberry is the only one who gooses me (and everyone else she really loves–I dare you not to laugh).
Sosimo is very gentle, though, and acts very much like a cat, asking to be petted by pushing his head against my hand or laying his paw gently on my leg–very adorable, let me tell you. From Simo, and from Grace, Sadie, P.D.Z., Jimmy, and Anna Belle, I’m at no risk for even minor bodily harm. From the others, yes, I often have tiny, very tiny, injuries, inflicted unintentionally. Laura wouldn’t like this one bit, I bet. I’m a pretty tough cookie, physically. Once, when I was sledding with friends, I shattered a bone in my foot, insisted I was fine, and went to a movie. My foot felt odd, but I really had no idea it was broken. I probably have bad pain sensors. In any case, I’m pretty stoic, and the little things the dogs do don’t even usually make it out of my subconscious. Laura is much more sensitive. I can’t suggest to her that she subject herself to the slings and arrows of outrageous four legs.
Even just carrying some of my dogs is very strenuous. Grace needs to be carried often, and she’s bit of a ‘dead weight’, and feels much heavier than her thirty-some pounds. I’m quite strong, and can carry all the dogs, even Burberry, who tips the scales at about sixty-five. It’s way different than carrying a cat. 🙂 I’m very grateful that I can carry them, because, having cared for several elderly, arthritic dogs, I know that my ability to carry them may mean that they live for years longer than they would otherwise.
Because of my dogs, I run a lot more than I would if I were alone, or living just with cats. I run when I play with them in the yard, throwing things for them and encouraging them to chase each other and what I throw, and I often take one or more of them jogging with me.
It is much more physical, living with dogs. A great deal of roughhousing goes on. Laura is right–it’s very playful.
But back to my ‘on the other hand’, one dog is not ten dogs, and a Pug is not a Treeing Walker Coonhound or a Border Collie mix.
I have written myself out of my disappointment at Laura’s truthful and persuasive blog entry, because I have the perfect answer now–Laura’s family needs a dog who is like a cat, and my favorite type of catlike dog is a Pug (specifically, a Pug or Pug mix needing rescue, of course). If anyone cares to write in and suggest other types of dogs who could almost walk in a cat’s shoes, I’ll be very interested, and so, perhaps, will Laura and her mom.
I almost forgot to say something very important. Thank you, beloved friend, for teaching Laura that we shouldn’t buy dogs or cats; we should adopt them. That’s really the thing to focus on, in all this, and I’m proud of you for teaching it and her for knowing it. Many people who already own dogs don’t even know it. Great job on that!
Oh, look what I happened to find at Buffalo Pug and Small Breed Rescue, a group with an office right here where I am! 😉
Click on Rascal’s picture to see more of him!
Rascal was a stray in KY who landed himself into a high kill shelter and when his time was up Buffalo Pugs offered to help!!
Hi, I am Rascal!! Don’t let the name fool you! I am a very sweet little boy! I am half Boston and half Pug! Also known as a BUG! I have the cutest curly tail! I am spunky and playful but well behaved! I don’t mind other dogs and I am housebroken! I am not overly energetic but don’t mind going on walks or just relaxing and watching TV with you! My foster mom says I am a perfect little boy!! 🙂 Oh and did I mention I am just adorable!! If you are looking for a cute well behaved little guy put you application in today! I wont be around long!!