Hunting for a hound
(note this was orignally published in May/2008)
By DARREN HANDSCHUH
Can we get a dog?
That is the questioned being floated around the family homestead lately, mainly by the children.
We haven’t had a dog for several months after putting our last beast down to end 16 years of pet ownership. She was old, deaf, mostly blind, her hair was falling out and she would bark at the wall for no particular reason so we all agreed it was time for her to go to the great doggy park in the sky, or where ever it is dogs go.
I could tell you I miss her, but ‘thou shall not lie.’
After we put her down, we agreed (OK, I suggested) we go one year without a dog before we consider getting another hound. Well, that year is almost up.
I have to admit, I have been enjoying life without a dog running around barking, digging up the yard, dropping little doggy landmines all over the place and in general being more work than I care to take on at this station in life.
I have been compiling a mental list of the good points and the not-so-good points of owning a relative of the wolf clan.
On the upside, dogs offer companionship and make sure you are never alone. In a house of five people plus their friends and an often-visiting mother-in-law I relish being alone.
In fact, I cherish it. In fact, I look forward to it. In fact, if I didn’t get some alone time I would probably wind up with one of those fancy fashion accessories that magicians are always trying to escape from.
Mind you the dog won’t talk, change the channel or hog the couch, so that argument is iffy at best.
Another good point about a dog is you can play with it and whatnot when you are bored. Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t that what they invented video games for. And a video game will never make a stinky on the floor.
But the dog is more interactive than a video machine, so the hound will have to get the nod again.
Another good point about a dog is they are a walking food disposal system. If you drop a piece of food on the floor, the mutt will be on it like piranhas on a cow. But, without the dog, the food just sits there, so that is a definite plus to owning such a creature.
OK, there are three points in favour of bringing an entirely different species of life into my home.
Let’s see if we can find a couple drawbacks to adding a furred critter to the fold.
The dog might not get along with the cat, but that is more of the cat’s problem than mine so that one doesn’t really count.
As puppies, canines tend to chew things. We had a dog many years ago that ate all the wood skirting around a shed. I am not kidding. He ate so much wood I was convinced he was terrier crossed with beaver.
He also ate a $10 bill, a couple of cassettes, some Christmas decorations and part of our couch to name just a few of the items he dined on.
Dogs can also be truly gross little critters. I have touched on this briefly in the past, but it is so significant it deserves another mention: dogs eat their own vomit.
Enough said in the gross-out department.
The truly icky thing is I have been witness to such culinary madness. I have also seen dogs eat their own recycled food byproduct commonly known as doo-doo.
Let’s just say I do not let dogs – no matter how big or small – lick me on the face, or on the hand, or even on the sleeve of my jacket if I can help it.
The whole vomit-as-a-food-source thing is a pretty strong argument on its own. Mind you that might cut down on the amount we spend on dog food.
The real problem is, I am a dog person so I like having a dog around. We have a cat, but a cat just can’t be compared to a dog.
For one, a dog will generally come when you call it, while a cat will just stare at you with a look of ‘if you want to pet me, crowbar your butt off the couch and come over here.’
Dogs are also eager to please their master. Cats think they are the master.
The upside of cats is they are a lot less work than a dog. When we go away for the weekend all we have to do is make sure the cat has enough food and water and it’s ‘See ya later.’
If you do that with a dog, all of the food will be eaten in the first 10 minutes and there is only so many times a dog can barf, so eventually its food source will run dry and it will become quite hungry.
But being a dog person, one would think it would be an easy decision. The thing is, not having a dog means a lot less work for me.
“But we’ll help look after it,” is the plea of my children.
“Right, and Elvis is going to come out of hiding to become the next president of the United States and solve global warming by eating every cow on the planet, thus saving earth from their harmful emissions.”
I kind of enjoy going away for the weekend and not have to worry about what we are going to do with Fido.
Camping also brings its own set of challenges when you have a dog because you have to keep them on a leash, off the beach and silent.
All of these items have been debated with my wife, who is on the ‘Yes’ side of the debate.
It got to the point where I had to put my foot down and say, “As the man of the house I decree we are not getting a dog – until the fall anyway, or sooner if you want, if that is OK with you dear.”