i’ve discovered something. there are two types of people in this world (well, three types, actually, if you count cat people. which i don’t). dog people and kid people. you can go from one category or the other, greg and i used to be dog people, now we’re kid people, for example, but you can’t be both at the same time. for example, since becoming parents, greg and i pretty much hate our dog.
that is, until recently, as ruth has started to show a real affinity for caring for doofy and tells us we’ve hurt her feelings when we yell at her and is always worrying about her and fussing over her. we’ve since had a small change of heart about our dog, doofy, and now regard her as and treat her more as part of the family. and we try to keep the yelling to a minimum.
like, tonight. we were out of cat food and we knew that if we were to have any shot at uninterrupted sleep, we needed to get some more before the end of the day. “should i go or do you wanna go or should we make it a field trip?” i asked greg after dinner. “a field trip,” he said, more, i knew, out of fear and dread of being alone with the kids while i ran up to the store than in a genuine spirit of family adventure. but that’s ok by me. i didn’t feel like going alone. ruth wanted to bring doofy. for you non-dog people, pets are allowed at petsmart and there are often numerous dogs on leashes anytime you care to go.
it’s been a while since we’ve ventured out with our dog on anything more than a neighborhood walk, but we quickly learned something. we immediately got a more positive and supportive response from perfect strangers regarding our dog than we’ve ever received regarding our kids. the lady we walked into the store immediately started gushing about how much our dog reminded her of her old dog. she gave us advice on what to feed her, looking at her with doe eyes, and then, before parting ways, told us to, “enjoy her.” in all, four people remarked that she reminded them of their old dogs and about six people over the course of less than an hour struck up conversations with us regarding our pet.
i was baffled. i looked over at smelly old doofy, the oftentimes bain of my existence, such as when she’s barking or crying when they’re trying to sleep or she’s underfoot as i’m scrambling to get everyone out the door, or she’s crying in the yard to be let in, and couldn’t for the life of me see what these people were seeing. i tried but failed to understand what made them coo and gush and reach out to touch her, brought one man nearly to tears, recalling his old canine friend.
if i understood it all once, i’ve forgotten. perhaps one day it will be clear to me again. when i don’t have small kids to snuggle, care for and nurture, that space may open up to a pet in my heart again. until then, i stand in confusion at this response to my beastly beast of a mangy dog. i am not a dog person. i am a kid person.
ruth kept rushing up to me, showing me what she and dad had picked out for doof, very important and satisfied at caring for doofy. joel refused the cart and instead just wandered up and down aisles, fingering bird toys and bags of cat food. at one point, he found a nice little niche taking down cans of cat food one by one and lining them up on the floor. don’t worry. only one can rolled underneath a nearby display never to be seen again. they’re only 40 cents so i didn’t feel too bad about it. joel saw the birds, and joel and ruth pet the cats up for adoption.
as usual, we spent way too much on pet stuff and overheard some interesting conversations between pet people. they probably listen in with the same shocked outrage on similar conversations between kid people.
ah, the world. what a crazy place.