My friends are all starting to do the unthinkable. They’re getting dogs. Now that their kids are mostly in elementary school, they’ve got no little baby left in the house…and for some reason dog ownership seems to be the next logical move. I’m thrilled for them, but not for me, because now they’re going to become one of the many, many people known as annoying dog owners.
See, every time I go to the house of a friend who has a dog, there seems to be no boundaries or limits when it comes to the dog. It’s like everyone’s dog is their most spoiled child. From the second I walk in the door, the dog is jumping up at me as if I’ve got bacon stowed away in my purse. It’s quite embarrassing since dogs always seem to go for the crotch. And it seems like the host always refuses to do anything beyond saying, “Don’t worry, he doesn’t bite.” He may not bite, but that dog is about one jump away from giving me a pap smear. Dare say anything and the dog owner will usually respond, “Oh you don’t like dogs, do you?” As if anyone who hates having a dog between her legs automatically hates dogs.
When it comes to dogs and their behavior, it seems like anything is fair game in a dog owner’s mind. But parents could never get away with letting their kids act that unruly. If you’ve ever had the misfortune of being in public your toddler has a meltdown, you know that strangers are neither helpful nor sympathetic when they say, “Why can’t you control that child?” So it seems like dog owners have it made. No one ever criticizes the way they’re raising their dog and their dog gets to do whatever it wants. So, what if I were to treat my kids like most dog owners treat their dogs? Here are five things that would probably occur:
1. My kids would jump on you when you walk into my house. I want to raise polite children who greet friends and relatives by saying hello. But if pet rules apply, it’ll be totally appropriate for my kids to jump on a friend and possibly bury themselves in the person’s crotch. Instead of apologizing to my guest or asking my kids to calm down I’ll stand back and say, “Don’t worry, she doesn’t bite.” Hopefully, she won’t.
2. No public restroom? They’d be free to pee in your yard. Dog owners think nothing of letting their dogs pee all over a stranger’s lawn. It seems harmless enough until you realize that dog’s pee will kill the grass. So if I’m on a walk with my kids and one of them needs to go I’ll no longer look for the nearest bathroom, I’ll look for the nearest lawn. Hopefully, there’s some toilet paper nearby.
3. My kids would sit on your lap without asking. I once went for job interview during which my future boss’ three dogs camped out on my lap. Not once did anyone ever ask if I wanted a dog on my lap. And since it was an interview, I felt like I couldn’t speak up. But when I stood up to leave, it looked like I was wearing a Mirkin because I was covered in dog hair. So next time a dog owner comes to my house, I’ll assume it’s totally fine for my kids to get comfortable on his or her lap. Hopefully, the kids won’t shed like dogs!
4. They’d stand in the backyard and yelp at the top of their lungs. Either my neighbors sleep wearing the world’s best earplugs or they go out of town a lot because we are constantly woken up by their dogs randomly barking. If it turned out the dogs were protecting the neighborhood I’d be thankful, but they’re not. They’re just barking, all night long. So from now on, my kids can do the same. Just not before I get myself a pair of those earplugs.
5. My kids would never respect personal space. Ever. Just today I was in a shoe store trying on shoes when I felt a little lick on my ankle. I looked down to see somebody’s pet licking me. When the owner came to retrieve her dog, she didn’t even apologize; it was as if everyone in the world loves being randomly licked. They don’t! So from now on, I’m going to let my kids lick, nip, or bite whomever they like. Fair is fair.
Going forward, I’m going to treat my kid like dog owners treat their dogs. And when someone glares at me or comments that I can’t control my kid I’ll respond by saying, “You don’t like kids, do you?” And then I’ll pat my kid on the head, offer him a treat, and keep walking.