Baby Brother – I mean Dog – I mean Brother…

It took FOREVER to convince my husband to get a dog.  I started moaning about my desire for animal companionship around the time we got married, 16 ½ years ago.  He and I both worked long hours, and I selfishly wanted a waggly tailed puppy to greet me at the door when I came home.  We worked, we traveled, and that poor dog of my dreams would have spent the majority of his time alone, kenneled, and fending for himself.  So here, I am saying it, Lee was right.  Blech.  Saying that tasted terrible.

I need to add to this that while right, it wasn’t Lee’s compassion for furry creatures that made him insist on a pet-free home.  He had a dog he disliked as a child.  When I say disliked, I really mean hated, but hate is a bad word at our house, so disliked it is.  Said dog was barky, got into garbage, and for reasons that are only deep-seeded in Lee, made him dislike all dogs.004

Years pass, and we come to a reluctant agreement.  He agrees to adopt a dog if I agree to end my quest for more babies.  We both moved forward in this agreement with very mixed feelings.  I, overjoyed with my baby dog but sad about no more baby people. He, overjoyed with no more baby people and sad with my baby dog.

But there’s a twist.  He is not sad about the baby dog.  In fact, he loves the dog.  And not only does he love the dog, the kids love the dog.  And I love the dog.  We all love the dog more than we ever thought we could love a pet.  The dog has become a genuine part of our family.

Having lived with frogs, turtles, and fish for the first 16 years of our marriage, I’d forgotten how a pet can be a part of the family.  Turtles don’t exactly cuddle.  Truth be told, I have actually swaddled our dog in a blanket and held him like an infant.  He lets me.  This is why I love him.  And also, because he climbs onto my lap while I am driving and in what I am sure is a very illegal move, pretends to drive the car.  I love that.

Lee loves him because he is small, and cuddly, and licks his face.  He doesn’t shed, he doesn’t stink, and he never used to bark although he learned how to do that recently.  They have little wrestling games they play with each other.  Lee calls him ‘Bug’, which used to be the pet name reserved only for Rita.009-e

Avery loves him because he is his best friend.  He is the brother who doesn’t argue back, and who will run in circles with him without complaining that he is tired.  He greets Avery at the door after school and can’t contain his excitement when Avery lets him follow him upstairs.

The girls love him because he lets them teach him tricks and he crawls up onto their heads to wake them up each morning.  He lets them dress him in their doll clothes.  He lets them carry him around like he is a stuffed animal.  He pulls their hair with his teeth, and they let him.

I used to make fun of people who dressed their dogs or paid top dollar for food too good for human consumption.  Now we are those people.

We had no idea that our family needed him so much.  Ten months ago, I didn’t know there was a void in our family, but it was there.

Turns out, Lee got cheated in our deal, but he doesn’t seem to notice.

How does your pet fit into you family?

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