February 25, 2013

The Dog Days of Winter

We've owned dogs for several years now, but I wouldn't say that I've ever been a dog person.  Wait!  Don't Shoot!  I like dogs enough, but I've always harbored a secret distaste for indoor dogs.  I can't stand it when I go to a friend's house and leave with dog hair all over my clothes and have to launder an otherwise clean outfit just to get the dog funk off.  I know.  I'm a complete snob in that department.

But over the past few weeks, something has been brewing inside of me.  Don't ask me why, because I haven't been able to figure that out, but I wanted to bring the dogs inside.  To live.  Really.  Well, first, I thought of how much  more peaceful our lives would be if we weren't always yelling out the window for the dogs to be quiet.  I mean, how can you have a peaceful home when you're always yelling?  But 2 large dogs in the house?  No way!  I tried to convince the kids to part with the larger, naughtier dog in exchange for bringing the calmer dog inside to be part of the family.  Then Joe had to go and state the obvious: even if the kids agree to give away one dog, it's only a matter of time before they change their minds and hate me for twisting their arm into giving away a family pet.

Joe said, "We could bring them both inside."  The thought was laughable.  A really obvious No Way!  But the thought had been planted.  I mulled over the complete chaos of having a seemingly developmentally delayed yellow lab and her calmer black lab/blue heeler sidekick in the house for a few days.  Images of overturned furniture, stinky carpet, and kids crying because the dog killed their very favorite toy from babyhood swirled.  Not good.  Still, that stupid, naive side of me thought maybe, just maybe it could work.  I mean, what's the point of having dogs if they can't be part of your family?  And in the sub-zero winters of Utah, no one is going outside to hang out with those poor, outcast family members.

So I bought a bottle of dog shampoo.  Just to see how it felt.  I hid it from Joe because I didn't even want to discuss having indoor dogs.  Just wanted to make my own private step closer, and bring on the inevitable reality check that this was a bad idea.  But that reality check never showed up.

The next day we found ourselves discussing it again, and this time I said, "Well, I bought dog shampoo at the market yesterday.  You know.  Just in case."  Joe looked surprised, but resisted the urge to make too big a deal of the fact that his wife who has been known to rant about "dog people" had secretly purchased a bottle of dog shampoo.  By the end of the day, we owned dog toys and were all 5 holed up in the bathroom bathing 2 large, and shockingly calm dogs.


Blow drying took hours.  Nothing got broken or chewed on or pooped on.  The day went stunningly well.  That night Buttercup, the gigantic lab with a complete and utter lack of self control, was curled up in Joe's arms, in a tent in the living room.  Still Water- the very best dog in all the world and the one that makes me feel like maybe "dog people" are not quite as crazy as I've always made them out to be in my head - sat right beside me as I did chores.  Suddenly, folding laundry was just fun time with the dog.  And the way she sat beside the open dishwasher without licking the silverware felt like grounds for a canine Nobel prize. So, things were good.


Today, we're on day 3 of the trial run.  I'm still not completely sold on Buttercup. It's kind of like having a hearing impaired elephant in the house.  She's big and clumsy and doesn't respond at all to anything you say, no matter how loud and obnoxiously you say it.  She's good when you're doing exactly what she wants to do, but unless you have time to follow her all over the house, she might as well be the star of Al Gore's upcoming hit, An Inconvenient Dog.  Don't let the picture of her sitting and listening to Hannah Jane read a Year Down Yonder fool you.  That was an anomalous moment.  She's an explorer and I don't have time to follow her around and make sure she doesn't pee on the rug or chew up a math book.  I have children to educate, after all.  So she's in the crate a lot to give us all a break from her insanity.


But Still Water is so much fun to have in the house.  She just sits at my feet waiting for the next fun thing.  She snuggles and smiles, and lets me drink my coffee in peace without trying to bowl me over with curiosity. She's great.  And she likes all the same blogs I like and she's a big fan of lesson planning.  Seriously, she's a very sophisticated dog and she told me that outdoor life just isn't for her.  Plus, she looks amazing in a bandanna.  That's important for a dog, right? 

So, we're torn.  Maybe the giant yellow elephant in the room will chill the heck out and become at least somewhat enjoyable.  One thing is for sure.  They're either both in or both out and I want Still Water in and the kids only love Buttercup more now that they've shared a bed so there's not way they're going to let me adopt her out now.  My gut says they're here to stay, but some little corner of my heart tells me that there's disaster on the horizon and I'm not the kind of dog owner to put up with much flack in the name of love.  I'm master of this domain and calm is our mantra.  If Buttercup messes with my calm, well, she's gone.


But in the name of the year of fun, it would be pretty nice to snuggle up with Super Dog while I watch Downton Abbey!

Also in the name of fun, in case you didn't notice, we found pixlr-o-matic today and made our dog picture a little more wild.  I promise not to go overboard with this, but what a fun website for those of us silly enough to move to a Windows 8 phone before there are fun photo aps for them!  Anyway, Buttercup looks much more tolerable when I can take pictures of her and then make sparkles shoot out of her forehead.


  1. I thought the sparkles flying off of the dogs was some sort of camera trick to show slobber... ha ha. I laughed when I read this post, you are hilarious!

  2. Well now you've gone and ruined the only imagery that was endearing that dog to me. LOL! Thanks a lot, Beth :D


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