Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Preparing for the new arrival

Well the day has finally come. It's my own fault because I once said "I never want to become one of those dog-walkers" when I noticed that the moms with older kids all seemed to get dogs. I cursed myself just as surely as I have too many times to count--never say never.

I had an inkling it was coming about a year ago when I was bragging to Coffee Friend 2 about how responsible my girls were with their new dog-walking business. They'd developed their own advertising, gotten a client and faithfully walked the two dogs without having to be reminded. They took their earnings and bought toys for the dogs and gave the rest to an animal shelter. Coffee Friend 2 looked me square in the eye and said, "You know you have to get them a dog, don't you?"

But I held out a long time. I held out nearly 10 years under a constant barrage of begging for a dog. All kids are dog-obsessed at some point but my girls are like crazy dog stalkers. They ask for a dog daily--if I say "Can I get you anything at the grocery store?" they say "A dog." They own a dog collar, leash, bowl and cage that they play doggie with. Every book they read, every movie they see is about a dog. Every wishbone, birthday candle, loose eyelash wish has been spent on wishing for a dog.

Yet I resisted. For all the usual reasons, I resisted. I told them that if they could find a dog that does not poop or shed or need to be taken out we could have it. For years I stuck to that. But alas, they have worn me down.

To put it succinctly--their desire to get a dog has finally outweighed my desire to not get a dog.

I never had a dog as a kid. Well, we had a few but my mother always came up with reasons to get rid of them. Calhoun the beagle puppy chewed too much. Of course he chewed too much--he was a puppy. And Herbie the mutt was fine but when we moved my mother managed to find a rental house that would not allow dogs. At least that's what she said. But it was okay because Herbie went to live on a nice farm. No, really. I think.

What can I expect from my mom though? Her own dog, Belle Star, had to be "put down" because she had mange. When that came up recently I went to the encyclopedia to find out what mange is. Imagine my mother's disappointment to learn that her father had offed her childhood pet for having a bad case of dandruff. Ah, well, that's why we have therapists.

Anyway, we're all prepared for the new arrival. First we had to get rid of some of the stupid pets we've acquired over the years in my misguided effort to avoid getting a dog. In fact, it was the demise of dear Oreo the guinea pig that got me thinking of a dog at all. With her out the door that left only four stupid pets. I talked Lilly into getting rid of the parakeets (they went to live on a farm) and we now ONLY have WonderBunny and Snuggles the guinea pig.

To prepare for our new arrival we've begun talking as if we already have a dog. I frequently shout out, "Get that damn dog off the couch!" or "Tell Starbucks to get his nose out of my crotch." Lilly (just turned 9) gets into this game. I heard her yell, "Smokey, quit drinking from the toilet!" yesterday.

Today is the day. We will go to the shelter to see who needs us. The girls have been checking the shelter online daily and watch the dogs they want come and go but we just weren't ready until this week (too many travel plans). Yesterday they noted with chagrin that their #1 pup, Lenny the houndog, was gone--apparently adopted over the weekend.

Grace (11) was sad that we may have missed the perfect dog but Lilly reassured her--"When we get there, God will make sure that the dog that was meant to be with us will be there."

I like her faith. I'm sure we'll find the perfect dog who needs us and in the end the perfect dog we need even more.

Let's just hope he never develops a fatal case of mange.

J. Zimmerman



  1. Did you forget Jill? She slept in your room (you were 6)for two weeks. Each moring when you awoke you could hardly breathe. After a day in school, you were fine. Alas, Jill was returned to the pound ...fortunately, you seem to have outgrown that allergy.
    Love, Mom