Thursday, June 5, 2014

Why Do You Have A Dog?


On Saturday, Barley and I were out for a little neighborhood stroll. Alongside the sidewalk, there's a big slab that's set several feet above the sidewalk that used to be a tennis court, but a couple years ago ownership of the park changed and the fences came down and now it's just a big slab with weeds growing through it.

I could see a little boy and another person sitting on the slab playing with a remote control car. I thought about crossing the road, but it looked like they wouldn't be able to get up quickly and Barley didn't seem to notice the car scooting around, so we kept on walking.

When we got up closer, the little boy said, "Come up here!" He was probably 3 or 4, which is not in the age range Barley likes when interacting with children, so we declined, but I stood on the sidewalk and chatted with him and the older man (maybe a grandfather?) about his remote control Mater (Cars is one of my favorite Pixar movies, after all). Then he asked me a question I've never been asked before: "Why do you have a dog?"

I paused.

Why do I have a dog? It seemed a little crazy to tell a little kid that I had a dog because when there wasn't one in my life it felt like there was too much oxygen in the house. I didn't want to admit to a complete stranger that I liked having something around that picked up the popcorn I accidentally dropped on the floor. Mentally, I ran through all of the reasons I like having a dog.


  • She's fun. If you know me, you know my motto is stolen from a bumper sticker I saw shortly before graduating from Queens: The truly educated never graduate. To me, school is fun. But I am still teaching enough new classes each year that having more reading and writing to do sounds overwhelming and makes getting another degree impractical, so instead I take my dog to school! Agility is fun. Noseworks is fun. Even obedience and reactive dog classes are fun. 
  • She's funny. This dog is a total goober. Whether she's jumping onto the dining room table or climbing into the boxes in noseworks class, she's endless entertainment. Recently, she was cranky that Soth and I had been snuggling and reading all morning, so she went into the living room and grabbed Soth's new bed, dragged it into the bedroom where we were snuggled up, plopped it down beside the bed, and then laid down on it.
  • She's an explorer. I've always liked where I lived, but the first six months I lived here, I didn't explore very much. Then I got Barley and we got our Doggin' Cleveland book. We've been to 18 different parks out of the book and a couple that aren't in the book. We've explored in Pennsylvania and Alabama together, too. She loves checking out new places and is always excited to visit old favorites. Now, I can say that I love where I live because I've seen just how many beautiful places there are around me!

  • She's snuggly. Actually, she's very bad at snuggling. She tries. But, she's so enthusiastic that I usually end up bruised from her attempts to snuggle. She's fluffy, though, so on days when the wind chill makes it feel like it's below 0, there's nothing better than hopping under the covers and letting Barley burrow in next to me.
None of these reasons seemed sufficient on their own and my inquisitor didn't have the attention span for a long answer (and Barley didn't have the patience for a long pause on our walk). I went with the best answer I could think of.

She's my friend.

The little fellow said, "Ah" like it was the most sensible answer he'd ever heard and went back to trying to get Mater to drive in the direction he wanted him to go.


16 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for joining the hop. I like your list. Those are great reasons, especially the last one.

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    1. Thanks! She's a pretty great dog for my first dog as an adult--she's taught me so much more about dogs than I ever knew even though I grew up with dogs my whole life, so I couldn't have picked a better friend :)

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  2. Great list and an odd question. When people obviously have a great relationship with an animal it always seems clear to me that is reason enough. The only time I ever wonder is when you see an animal that is neglected or abused.

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    1. I often wonder that about neglected/abused animals, too. Both my darlings bring me so much joy that I can't imagine why anyone would bother getting a pet if they weren't interested in loving it.

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  3. What a great post and a great answer. Children are so simplistic and so accepting, you gave him exactly the right answer.

    Thanks for joining the blog hop!!

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    1. Thanks! I'm not really a kid person, so usually I either just ignore them and keep walking or respond with something like "Why do you have a remote control car?" But I decided to take the mature route this time ;)

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  4. It's the perfect and most truthful answer!

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    1. Thanks! I got my first dog when I was 2, so I'd never really thought about why I had one. It was just something I'd always done, so I'm glad the little guy asked!

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  5. Why not? They're great fun like you say :)

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    1. They really are :) Even when she's being naughty, I still can't imagine my life without her.

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  6. Aw, those are all very good reasons. :-)

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    1. Thanks! Barley makes it easy (most of the time) to come up with reasons to keep her ;)

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  7. This makes me happy! As does the handsome fella in the background of that first picture :-)

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    1. Those little legs trotting in the background are one of the reasons I picked that picture :)

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  8. Maybe I watch too many game shows, but I think we should all gather round, clap our hands and yell "GOOD ANSWER! GOOD ANSWER!"

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    1. Thanks! I really don't have much experience talking to kids, so I was not sure exactly how to handle the situation. But it looks like I made the right decision :)

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