By Jim Clark
I know it has been a while since my words have graced this magazine and I can tell you it is good to be back. And, since my last column, I have joined the Dark Side. No, I am not a New York Yankees fan <shudder>. I got a cat. Well, in Latin he is a cat, but I am pretty sure he is mostly rat.
I debated long and hard about getting a pet. My boys definitely wanted to get a dog. Heck, I wanted to get a dog too. I just couldn’t do it. With my school schedule, my kids’ school schedule, my coaching soccer, and any weekend trips we plan to take, a dog would spend what I consider too much time alone.
The boys and I did look at a couple of dogs. There is a great vet clinic by the grocery store we go to and we looked at a few puppies. They also gave us leads on a few dogs that were available. In much the same way there are some humans that shouldn’t be reproducing, there are humans who are breeding dogs with the same rearing talents. Many times, they are the same people.
One lead took us out to a trailer park at the edge of the county. Oh boy! I should have known better when the directions included the phrase “then you turn off the paved road…” If that wasn’t warning enough for the coming culture shock, the banjo player seated on the porch was playing Flatt and Scruggs tunes.
The boys and I weren’t out of the car fifteen seconds when a woman came from around back with a swarm of puppies at her feet. They were flopping around, jumping over each other, yipping playfully. I think the best way to describe the puppies would be to call them “Blockers.” Yep, from a block away, they looked cute and cuddly.
Up close, things were a little different. I am not one to judge the actions of others but, when folks like Charles Darwin and Fred Rogers look down upon your procreation methods, I couldn’t help but wonder if family trees were supposed to be circular.
We didn’t get a puppy there. Once we were back on asphalt I got a text (and, since this is a family magazine, I will manipulate the truth and say I carefully pulled over to the side of the road to read it). It was from the vet with another lead on puppies.
The day was getting late and I would have preferred to have gone home, but the boys were excited about the possibility of getting a dog. We went to the new address.
Let’s just say things were a little different at this address. I am not going to say the neighborhood was tough, but the only Labs on this street were the Meth kind. I saw at least three pit bulls, a couple of mastiffs, and I am pretty sure one guy had a hyena on a chain. Needless to say, we didn’t stop.
So we headed home with no dog. The boys were disappointed, but understood. After we talked about the responsibilities of owning a dog, how much time we should give it versus how much we have to give, and that the landlord was not too keen on a dog.
So, we have Charley and are still looking for a dog. Maybe in the Spring. I do want a dog. The boys want a dog. But I want to show the boys how to properly raise a dog, not just own one.
Once soccer season is over, it might be time to get a lab (no, not the meth kind, but that could help offset some costs). I will let you know.