Monday, July 7, 2014

Parenting Lessons My Dogs Have Taught Me

I read somewhere that relatively intelligent dogs have the mental capacity of three year olds. So living in our house is like living with a couple of two year olds. While I do realize kids are different than pets, I feel I've learned a few valuable parenting lessons from raising our dogs. 

The toddlers I live with.
1) Sibling rivalry is real and it cannot be prevented no matter how fair you are to your kids. For example, Dinger loves ice cubes. You give him a "low calorie treat" (as Travis calls them) and he will race around like a crazy dog, he runs so fast his skull moves faster than his face skin and he gets these crazy dog eyes and all his teeth show as his lips flop around. You give Roxi an ice cube and she takes it gingerly before making her "Gag me, this is nasty," face and spitting it out. Now, if we hand Dinger and ice cube, Roxi will sit and glare with a face that clearly says we are awful people and so unfair to her. And no matter if both have identical bones, they want the one the other has and will stoop to stealing and trying to hoard both bones.

2) You develop a booming, intimidating, "I mean business," voice and an accompanying "I'm not messing around" face in addition to your normal demeanor. And you use it on special but far too often occasions. Like when the kids rip down the breakfast nook table from the kitchen wall. I yelled so loudly they both behaved for the rest of the day. Or when your sixty pound child decides to leap over your head while you are peacefully sitting on the couch with a glass of wine. And also when one of them sneaks out of the house and rolls in poop. This last one happened just the other day. We left for about fifteen minutes. Upon pulling up to the house, I see Roxi's face pop out from the side of the house. I instantly start swearing and Travis jumps out of the car to chase her down. I have never seen a more disgusting dog. This picture just doesn't do her justice. The weird greenish brown portions show the worst of the carnage but what it doesn't show is that everywhere her fur is black, is also covered in poo. 

This is my dog, her name is Shitball. 
3) Speaking of; bodily fluids are a lot more commonplace. And you do a lot of things you never thought you would. Like change your clothing by the highway when someone pees or vomits on you. (I'm at a count of at least two such incidents).

4) You loosen up a lot with the second one. Embarrassing fact, I cried the first time I put Roxi in a kennel and she whined for me. The last time someone whined outside my bedroom door at night, I locked them  in the kennel then put the kennel in the bathroom across the house. I used to not allow dogs to have bones on the couch. Now they do it all the time and if they're not fighting, I don't care. Full disclosure, this could also be because I hate the couch and it's on it's last leg anyway. Metaphorical last leg though, the couch legs disappeared ages ago. 

5) There's no reason for nice things. Travis's last pair of cowboy boots bit the dust when Dinger ate the toe off of one of them. 

6) Bribery is seriously underrated. The dogs don't watch TV, but if we want a few moments of peace, we hand them their bones and they are occupied for hours chewing and stealing from each other. 

7) These two, are escape artists. The other night after the usual routine of locking Dinger in his kennel before bed, I awoke in the middle of the night to a big dark shape standing next to my bed, breathing into my ear and I almost had a heart attack until I realized what monster was in my room. 

8) Kids are expensive, smelly, and generally a load of trouble but also wonderful and totally worth it. 

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