Those of you who have been to my house, or even just to my Facebook page, know that one of the most domineering forces in my life is my dogs. As soon as you walk through the door, they are in your face, stealing your shoes, and possibly your wallet. They sit on the kitchen table, have chewed the eyes and ears off every stuffed animal my kids own, and are pretty much the reason I
At this point, on my side of our family, we are the only ones with children. Human ones, that is. Everyone else has at least one dog, and they are all treated better than most people's real offspring. My parents have filled their empty nest with two poodles- a beautiful Standard black poodle, named Chloe, and a tiny toy poodle, Bailey. My parents bring them on daily trips to the park, have arranged their social and vacation schedule to accomodate their new brood...I wouldn't be surprised if they started a college fund for both of them.
My sister Missy and her new hubby have THREE little dogs, and are thinking about getting a fourth. Phife, Lily and Baxter, are all adorable little creatures- especially Baxter who looks like a cross between Benji and Dorothy's Toto. My youngest sister Karen and her other half have two Pugs, Winnie and Barry- who are probably the cutest and most clueless dogs I have ever met. Seriously, when God was handing out brains, the Pugs were too busy sniffing each other's hineys and eating goose poop. Then again, I'll take dopey and loveable, over smart and mean anyday.
Then last, but not least, my brother and sister-in-law have a Shiba Inu puppy, Mia, who reminds me of an arctic wolf you might find on an iceberg in Alaska- she's one snow-white gorgeous gal. All of these dogs are well fed, well groomed, and most of all, very well loved. Not that my two little devil dogs aren't loved, but, well, things aren't quite how they used to be...
Back in July 2002, right after my husband and I tied the knot, our favorite topic of conversation was what kind of dog we were going to get. After extensive googling and some good ol' fashioned newlywed arguing, we both agreed on a Boston
Terror Terrier. According to the gods of the canine world, the American Kennel Club, the Boston Terrier is "truly an All-American dog... a charming and highly intelligent breed." Sounds awesome, right? Then again, Ted Bundy was charming and highly intelligent, and I'm pretty sure we wouldn't adopt him.
That September, we found a reputable breeder, drove out to Timbuktu, and hand-picked our first baby...8 week old Mugsy. He was seriously the cutest thing we had ever seen- tiny, sweet, HUGE eyes...a cuddler, a snuggler and a snorer. And he was smart little man- our first potty training experience went off without a hitch, we brought him to Puppy Kindergarten every week, where he was the star pupil, sitting, staying, heeling, all for a piece of cold hotdog.
Then, when Mugsy was about a year old, we started noticing some strange behaviors. Barking at the ceiling, refusing to eat his food unless we threw it on the floor so he could "hunt" it (stupid humans!), staring and growling at the dishwasher for an hour and a half...after consulting our vet, we met with Dr. L, an Animal Psychologist. Literally, a dog shrink (I think we all know who really needs a shrink, right??)
Anyway, Dr. Doolittle, who p.s., costs $300 an HOUR (you know what kind of massage/facial/liposuction I can get for that kinda cash??), diagnosed Mugsy with Obsessive Compulsive disorder and an anxiety disorder. We handed her half our life savings, she handed us our golden ticket, a prescription for Prozac. Yes, real people Prozac, aka, the best $6.00 I spend every month.
Dr. L also suggested that we get another dog, so Mugsy would have a companion. Apparently, not only was he anxious, but he was bored. We found a Boston Terrier rescue, and a 25 page application, two home visits and one trip to Pennsylvania later, we adopted a 10-month old little Boston Terror girl, Rita. Then the real fun began...Double Trouble doesn't begin to explain what these two are capable of, not to mention the havoc their medical expenses have wreacked on our bank account...more on that, later.
For the first four years we were married, before we had babies, these two nutjobs were our babies. We would take them on daytrips to NYC so they could walk around Central Park. We took weekly outings to Petco to buy new treats and chews. We dressed them up in Christmas sweaters and took professional pictures with them to send out as our holiday cards...for three years in a row. Yes, we were crazy, but we loved our pups, and we had lots of time and neurosis to devote to them.
Then, the inevitable happened, and our family grew...and then grew again. Five years and two kids later, the dogs are lucky when I remember to feed them- and that's usually only because Mugsy picks up his metal bowl and drops it on the kitchen tile repeatedly, like a crashing cymbol, until I
a)yell my fool head off
c)bribe one of the kids to fill up his dish
d)spend the next 10 minutes sweeping the trail of dog food that goes from the closet to the dishes, left by my not-so-careful three or five year old.
Anyone with kids knows that having little people in your house creates enough chaos and mess...throw in two dogs, whose favorite pastimes are to bark incessantly, eat crayons and soap, and pass gas (seriously, stankiest. dogs. EVER.), and you have an instant three-ring circus. I spend quite a few hours a day, threatening to send Mugsy to "the farm" and swatting dogs off the table while they noisily slurp up whatever is left in Bella's bowl of Cocoa Pebbles.
Now, things aren't all bad...my canine devilish duo provides plenty of entertainment for my other devilish duo- allowing them to chase, tackle, and dress them up in hair bows and boas. Mugsy sings one heck of a rendition of "Happy Birthday", and Rita can outcatch anyone in a game of Frisbee. Best of all, they are truly good sports when it comes to
being tortured playing with my little ones. Every night when my little monsters (of the human variety) are snoozing and the house is finally in order, I settle in on the couch with my hubby, a book and the remote. I immediately find myself covered with Bostons- 50 pounds of craziness, exhausted from a full day of driving me insane, snoring happily on my lap. I look at their smushy little faces, and I fall in love all over again.
And then someone honks their horn two miles away and the troops are alerted...there's not enough Prozac in the world...
Purely for your entertainment, here is an incomplete list of the vet bills we have incurred over the past nine years...one thing I know for sure...our vet's kids are going to Yale, while we might be able to afford the finest community college New York has to offer.
- Mugsy slipping on a patch of ice, dislocating his knee, requiring orthopedic surgery: $4000
- Rita jumping out of the back of a moving roof-less Jeep and breaking her tailbone: $1500
- Mugsy and Rita double-teaming my purse, finding a bottle of Advil, breaking it open and eating them like Skittles ON THE 4TH OF JULY, when our vet was closed and we were forced to go to the emergency vet clinic, where both dogs had to swallow charcoal and have their stomachs pumped: $2500
- Rita eating a can of bacon grease- this chick has some major food issues- giving her a major case of pancreaitis: $1800
- Rita suffering from a slipped disc in her back (probably from the 10 extra pounds she carries on her compulsive eating little body), and needing acupuncture TWICE a week for two months, at $75 a pop...I'm too tired to even do the math for that one.