Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Wrong Place at the Wrong Time

I became the [temporary] owner of a puppy on Tuesday, 15 May.

I was at Isla interviewing Brett Silk for a story on dog bite prevention when this woman pulled up in an SUV, pulled out a cardboard box, brought it in and set it down. She went back to the SUV. We all watched her from the glass doors.

"Does this happen often?" I asked.

"All the time," they said.

I guess the woman had second thoughts about what she was doing, because she returned to the lobby and said, "My son brought this dog home that he found along the roadside. I can't bear the thought of him being hit by a car but I can't keep him. We're moving to South Carolina and I'm taking care of a sick relative."

A moment of silence. Then I, ever hopeful, took a deep breath and said bravely, "Well, I have a credit card. Let's see if he's healthy and take it from there."

Three kinds of people exist in the world: cat people, dog people, and indifferent people. I am definitely a cat person. I thought Gregg was a dog person; he always talked about how he grew up with dogs and said he wished we had a dog. That is, until we actually got one.

The kids were initially very excited about having a dog. However, there is a big difference between having a dog, having a puppy, and having cats.

I had to get up earlier than normal to play with him, feed, and toilet him. When I got home at night, I played with him instead of reading my email or books, or spending time with my family. Working 12-hour shifts meant I didn't spend much time with my children before bedtime anyway. My discretionary time, always scarce, became microscopic.

Sparky, as we named him, adored playing fetch and could play it for hours on end.

Cats, on the other hand, love playing with me and, at about the time I'm getting tired, it seems they feel the same way. Without any obligations or hard feelings, we both move on to other activities. My cats lack the ability to inspire guilt in me, unlike Sparky. So there you have it: the way to get me to do something is use your big brown eyes and guilt me.