Just the other day I saw something that at first seemed amusing, then disturbing, and to my friend Emily, (I’ve changed her name), it looked down-right practical; a stroller for pets. If you’re out for a brisk three mile walk and you want to take along your petite pooch, with legs the size of toothpicks, a pet-stroller might be in order. A dog house on wheels gets your Taco Bell Chihuahua inside the restaurant but if he speaks you’re out the door. Management is not kind to children who bark.
Emily thought the stroller brilliant because to her there is no difference between rearing a child and raising a pet. To me, potty training and paper training are two different things.
When my daughter Becky was a baby, I mentioned how cute she was spitting out her first mouth-full of Gerber’s Oatmeal; Emily was heartbroken when she had to switch from puppy-chow to dog-chow. I was offended; they were two different species for goodness sake. How could anyone love a dog as much as a baby?
When I had my second child, Rachel, Emily bought another puppy and a cat. Our house was full of babbling babies, bottles and Weebles; Emily’s was wall-to-wall newspapers, a litter-box, yips and hisses.
Once my daughters became old enough to play with the dogs, and by then two cats, the comparison of rug-rats vs. ankle-biters ceased. The whole, talking and treating a pet like a child issue sort of left my psyche until my now grown daughter’s fiancé proposed, presenting her with a beautiful diamond ring and the cutest little miniature-dachshund on the face of the earth. I proudly proclaim that until the wonderful title of grandmother is bestowed upon me I have Hitch.
I call him my grand-dogger.
At work when pictures of grandchildren are passed around by proud grandparents it takes every bit of restraint I have to not blurt out how cute Hitch looks fetching and carrying a full sized Frisbee, or how sweet he is curled up in my lap, or how big he has gotten; all 8 lbs. of wiener-dog adorable energy. When my boss expounds on the intelligence of her beautiful granddaughters or shows me the latest matching outfits she has bought them, I can’t resist sharing my latest Hitch purchase; the little green dish with tiny dog bones on it, and a natural-fleece lined zebra-print raincoat, with a hood. I must admit there is something about a natural-fleece lined animal-print article of clothing for a dog that seems so wrong, but it’s cute, how could I resist.
Yes, I have become one of those nauseating people who talks about a dog like it is a child. When my husband and I watch Hitch, I call it babysitting. When I hold him, I sway back and forth and pat him, like I gently patted my babies.
My husband, who thinks the only good-dog is a big-dog, and ours weighs over a hundred pounds, speaks to Hitch like he’s a toddler. To him, every other small dog is defined as a yipping little tangle of dog-hair at the end of a mop handle, but not Hitch.
“The little guy had personality,” he says, and I must say, I do agree.
So until, and if, my daughters have actual children I will be one of those obnoxious people who follow every one of your cute grandchildren stories with one about my grand-dogger. Did I tell you I went back to that store to see if they have any of those strollers left? No, well okay then, enough said.