Monday, December 15, 2008

Whose Dog Is It, Anyway?

We grew up with dogs. Well, sort of. They were toy poodles, and in many people's eyes -- including my own -- those aren't real dogs, but Lucy and Pumpkin were our dogs. When my sister and I grew up and moved out of my parents' house, I brought my cat with me, but Pumpkin stayed with my parents.

I'm not really a dog person. For some reason, cleaning the litter box to me is so much better than using a bag and picking up the actual poop. I joke that I'll get a dog when the wee ones are old enough to clean up after it, but I don't want one even then really.

My sister is more of a dog person. She started volunteering at an animal shelter walking dogs every Saturday. She'd spend hours there walking hte dogs, and she fell in love with one of them. The only problem was that she lived in an apartment building that didn't allow dogs.

She begged my parents to watch the dog until she could move into an apartment that allowed dogs, but they weren't up for it. Luckily, the dog was adopted. And then returned three weeks later. Again.

To me, this was a red flag, but my sister wasn't deterred. She asked my mom again, when my mom while my mom was at the funeral of her BIL that she hadn't gotten to see before he died. My sucker mom gave in. Low blow by my sister in my eyes, but hey -- not my problem.

My sister adopted Stella, and Stella went to live with my parents until my sister could find an apartment that allowed dogs. That's when we discovered that Stella was dog aggressive, people aggressive, and food aggressive. Poor toy poodle pumpkin didn't really stand a chance around the food bowl unless they were fed separately.

My parents took Stella to training over and over in an effort to retrain her, and they were partly successful. They've had her now for almost five years, and she's a great dog now.

Oh, did I mention that they've had her for five years? Yeah. Somehow, my sister never found that apartment that allowed dogs. Shocking, I know.

This year, she started vet school. She moved downstate away from the rest of us and talked about adopting a dog down there to keep her company. I kept my own counsel but wondered how much time and effort she'd be able to devote to a dog as a vet student.

Two weeks at school, she found her dog. Milo is a muddle (my term for a poodle mixed with ummm something). While he's larger than the other dogs we'd had before Stella (a large lab mix), he's still pretty small at around twenty pounds. You can tell he was spoiled before my sister adopted him, and he's just a little bit obnoxious. And no, my sister can't leave him by himself.

As soon as I heard that she had adopted a dog, I bet my husband how long before the dog is my parents' dog.

I think I won that over/under. I just found out that my parents have had the dog at their house since Thanksgiving. They're keeping the dog until my sister starts up school again in late January so that she has time to study without the distraction. Yes, that's a direct quote.

That's not really a bet I wanted to win. I feel kinda sorry for my parents.


Melisa Wells December 15, 2008 at 9:22 PM  

My in-laws have ended up with two dogs that my s-i-l got "for her family". I HATE THAT.

Jeff and Charli Lee December 15, 2008 at 9:31 PM  

My brother just had to put "his" dog to sleep after 10 years. I say "his" because my other brother dumped it on my parents so he took it off their hands. I hate that too.

Michelle December 16, 2008 at 8:45 PM  

Melisa - Good to know (or not?) that I'm not the only one who has this go on in her family. I don't like it, but I suppose it's better than just dumping the dog....

Jeff - Ouch! Apparently this is far more common than I thought. I hope he enjoyed the ten years with the dog that wasn't really intended to be his!

Karen December 17, 2008 at 12:59 PM  

You'd think at some point your parents would say they had enough dogs.

Michelle December 17, 2008 at 7:33 PM  

Karen - You'd think so... especially after Stella caused my mom to fall and tear her rotator cuff, my mom talks about how after Stella is gone they're going to be dogless, after they get stuck dogsitting the neighbor's (untrained) dog every weekend plus in the summer... but they're suckers, what can I say?

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