Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Doggy devotion? That's just kid stuff, right?

I am a cat person. I've always loved cats. They're quiet, low-maintenance and they tend to mind their own business. I can appreciate that.

So I wasn't quite sure how I'd feel about having a dog in the house. I mean, dogs are loud and excitable, right? They chew things, jump around and seem to be a lot of work.

But my daughter, now in middle school, has been begging for a dog since second grade, and my son wanted one, too. We finally decided this was the summer of the dog.

Enter Copper, the "best dog ever," courtesy of our local humane society. He's a three-year-old lab mix who obviously used to be someone's pet. He knows how to sit and shake hands. (He also likes to drink out of the toilet and beg for food).

Copper is the kids' dog. I barely notice him. I mean, sure, he flops over for tummy rubs, eases his bulk into my lap, wakes me up in the morning with a lick on the ear and lies on my feet while I read at night.

But really, he's for the kids. I barely notice him.

Now, yes, I have been getting up a half hour earlier to walk him, but I figured that would be good for both of us. My brother Michael, my own personal dog whisperer, has been teaching me to stay calm and assertive with the leash.

"If you want to have a better dog," says author Jon Katz, "You need to be a better person."

I do believe that. Not that I really care, of course. Because Copper is for the kids. I barely notice him.

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