The Murrays got a puppy. I’d like to introduce him, and then we’ll talk about him.
Cute little fellow.
Yeah, yeah. Within the first week:
I had spent $1,000 on the dog and on Training Sprays, Pee Pads, Poo Baggies, Gourmet Food and Other Stuff That Dog Owners Didn’t Need Until PetSmart Told Them They Needed®.
I had felt a warm ooze between my bare toes.
I had mopped up Charlie’s little puddles maybe a dozen times.
Only a dozen, because I’d taken Charlie down the three flights of stairs probably 60 times.
I had bellowed “no” several hundred times.
I had lain awake for hours waiting for Charlie to stop barking from his cage. I can tell you that he barks at the rate of 62 times per minute.
Sleep deprived, I had gotten into an e-mail argument with Scout’s Aunt Susy, who feels strongly that I should refer to the cage as a “kennel,” because “cage sounds like the zoo.” How does gulag grab you?
I had risen seven mornings before sunup to take Charlie out.
I had had a conversation about “buyer’s remorse” with my wife. Tyranically but sincerely, I told her the thought, however natural, is simply unacceptable.
I had missed five workouts, unable to leave Charlie at the house to go running, unwilling to drag him down the sidewalk as I jogged. (Finally, I got over it, and now drag him down the sidewalk.)
My wife told me I need to be “strategic” about when I wrestle with him, “So he knows when it’s OK to bite.” I told her I didn’t know what “strategic” meant in this context. She said, “Like, maybe just don’t wrestle with him at all.”
I had told Scout she mustn’t run from Charlie when he nips at her. She continues to run from Charlie every time he nips at her. “I’m scared!”
(Oh, and don’t think I don’t know you’re finding fault with my leadership already; I use the word “I” too much, and “we” too little. Well I’m running a three-ring circus here, and I don’t have time to play tiddlywinks with everybody’s ego.)
I have my strategies—for potty training, and less urgent forms of obedience—and I’m sticking to them, and demanding that everyone in the household sticks to them. But do I know they’re going to work? No, and so I furtively check the websites of pet “experts” to see if they’ve got any other strategies that might work better.
I think I know how a CEO feels.
Helpless, put-upon, a little scared … and sorry for himself.
And with absolutely no moral justification.