Dogs are kind of like children. Sort of. Furry children that you can leave alone in their crates while you go to work. So you might say that dogs are better than children, though of course I would never say that.
I did have a relative tell me recently that I shouldn’t replace having children with having dogs. Children are, after all, a blessing, and dogs are an epithet. I understand the sentiment. I think it’s an odd thing to say. But I understand.
That said, I’ve been in and around large families for a long time. Like, I mean large. My family is 13 people, parents included. Including those who have married in and a few grandchildren, we number 21 in all (if I haven’t counted wrong). Now, I plotted this growth on a graph, and by the time I’m 60, there should be about 700 of us. (I know, I know, that doesn’t work.)
One thing you get to understand very quickly in a large family is that every person in the family has their own personality. Sometimes wildly their own. I might be a liberal semi-introvert, but other in my family are very conservative and outwardly focused. We all express ourselves differently. We all extend into the world differently.
Dogs are remarkably similar. While Turtle (named after the character from Entourage) is a pure-bred Boston Terrier and a bit older, Winston (named after the racist, misogynist, obese smoker who was once prime minister of the UK) is a Boston/Poodle mix and very much still a puppy.
While Turtle only needs to be told once (or if it’s something juicy and delicious) twice not to do something. Winston on the other hand needs to be told again and again and again and again even if it’s something as dull and uninviting as chewing on the stuffing from Turtle’s bed which she has pulled out and distributed throughout the house.
With children they sometimes say you love the bad ones a bit more.
I call bullshit.
For the most part anyway. I mean, I can understand why you’d want to chase down your strays more than the ones that stayed at home, and humans aren’t dogs. But one of my former girlfriends’ brothers was such a little demon, there’s no way his parents didn’t often think, “Why did we ever give birth to this little bastard?” I myself caused my parents no end of grief. I wouldn’t blame them at all if they often wanted to send me to an all-boys school built on the edge of a volcano to be trained as a bomb diffuser. I’d get that.
In the meantime, I spend most of my limited spare time watching that one dog. And while I’m doing that the other one is getting into trouble behind my back.
It’s a wonderful life.