My son was not the first dependent in my life. The house was neither quiet, nor clean before he came into the picture. Because before I was a father, I was a dog person.
I have 2 dogs. One is Chandler, my 9-year-old “apartment dog” who is a scrappy 10-pound poodle mutt with a bark that can be heard for miles. The other is Lily, a 5-year-old “house dog” who is a self-centered Golden Retriever with a second stomach where her brain should be.
Collectively they are monsters; a wild pair of savages with pack mentality who work together to dig up the yard, mess up the house and steal food out of the trash.
All was good for them. They got nothing but our undivided attention and had plenty of room in the back seat of the car. Yep, life was perfect for the brood.
Then one day their world came crashing down.
You see that was the day Tristan came home. That was the day they learned that they we not alone. They learned they were not in fact our children… they were dogs.
I thought Tristan and the dogs would all get along well and be best friends. I mean they are practically the same. None of them listen to me, they are all loud and dirty, they move around on all fours, they mess up the house, they leave their toys everywhere, demand all my attention, want nothing but snacks and need me to clean up their shit. They should be thick as thieves.
Sadly, It seemed the friendship between my son and the dogs was doomed from the very start. Chandler was upset at the amount of attention being given to this new baby instead of him. As a lap dog he felt replaced by this new pink creature being held by all the people in his life. Lily, the big golden diva of the house resented the crying. She would sleep on the opposite side of my house at night to avoid the all-night cry sessions so she could get her “beauty rest”.
But this was only the beginning. For the dogs things just seemed to get worse and worse.
Chandler is no longer allowed on the couch, or any of the furniture for that matter. Lily has lost much of the room she used to have in the backseat of the car to the boy’s enormous car seat. Both dogs are now forced to go on walks with a giant stroller hogging the sidewalk that used to be theirs.
And to make matters worse, Tristan is at an age where he takes an active interest in the dogs. He can run, he can hit….and he is looking for them. The dogs now live in terror-filled days, as they are chased around the house by a tiny madman, laughing as he dashes after them, wildly swinging his fists. Try as I may to save the dogs from this torture, Tristan is an uncontrollable force. It seems the only place the poor animals can find sanctuary is outdoors in the cold.
You would think that because of all the hitting and tail pulling that the dogs would run and hide but this is not the case. As tough as my son is on the poor dogs there is a bright side. My toddler also doubles as a walking snack machine, depositing Cheerios and graham crackers all over the house to be snatched up by my 4-legged vacuum cleaners.
Yes it’s true. With a toddler in the house the dogs have never eaten so good. They get snacks from him all day, scraps leftover on his tray and any food he chucks at them from his high chair.
So it seems my child and the dogs are destined to be intertwined in this love-hate relationship. “Frenemies” to the end.