Posted by jdg | Tuesday, April 17, 2007 | ,

It used to kind of annoy me when people would tell me that their pets were their children. I would be wrangling the baby at a barbecue and get introduced to someone who would show me a picture of "their baby"--- a boxer or a basset hound --- and I always wanted to say, "The only way that gets to count as your baby is if I can put my daughter in a crate for eight hours with a bowl of kibble while my wife and I spend the evening getting wasted at the Arcade Fire show."

I get uncomfortable encountering women pushing pugs in $800 strollers. It also used to bother me when couples would tell me they were getting a dog as "practice" for raising a kid.

But now that I am a dog owner, I have greater sympathy for those who have agreed to share their homes with a canine. In some ways, having a dog isn't that different from having a baby. Consider shit. After Juniper was born, it felt like I was wrist deep in feces about half of the time. Shit was no longer something that easily slipped away up through the plumbing after a simple flush: suddenly it was something that oozed and leaked; it lurked in tightly-packed bundles at the bottom of the diaper decor; it hid behind the mysterious crags and folds of infant genitalia; it came in colors I had never seen, in consistencies that seemed to defy conventional earthly viscosities. It was, in a word, every-fucking-where.

Now that I have a dog, I can see that it is good way to acclimate oneself to loads of crap. Wendell, our dog, is a real shitter. He craps every time we take him for a walk, and that's four or five times a day. He has, on occasion, even pooped on our parquet floors. I have to say that having a lil' crapper was really good practice for having a dog. I haven't gagged or retched once now that I have experienced the plight of the urban dog owner: bending over and picking up the steaming pile of poo that has just oozed out of a dog's anus. It's not just humiliating, it's humbling in the same sort of way that parenthood can be. This is the cost of taking on the responsibility of something that doesn't know any better. Sometimes you just end up with a little bit of turd on your index finger.