Blog: Skewed Views & News

Dog fight

We're not keeping him.

My eight-year-old son surprised me last weekend, when he poured himself a bowl of Cookie Crisp cereal for breakfast. Ever since Finn and his six-year-old sister Maeve could speak, they’ve been asking for that treat whenever we stroll the grocery store’s cereal aisle – and I’ve always refused, somehow exercising that often elusive “good parenting” gene.

So how did that box of chocolate crap get into the house?

“Mommy bought it for me . . . because you won’t buy us a puppy,” Finn explained.

And with that, I knew it was back. The decade-old dog debate that Kelly and I engage in about twice a year. Kelly (being of irrational and totally emotional state-of-mind) wants a dog to permanently join our already loving and lively household. I (being of logical and reasonable state-of-mind) do not.

It’s not that I’m averse to the excitement and joy a dog could provide our family. It’s just that I know my limitations. After consecutive mornings of kids coughing across my breakfast and brokering peace accords because someone sneaked an extra Flintstones vitamin, the last thing I need to worry about is a dog creating more chaos. Dogs are work. And for most accidental adults, getting through the day being the best possible father, husband, son, brother, neighbor and sometimes drinking buddy is simply exhausting. Why throw more responsibilities into the mix?

Well according to Kelly, here’s why . . . along with my own wise, compelling and thoroughly reasoned responses.

      Kelly: Dogs just want to give you love.
      Colin: I don’t want an animal watching me eat my lunch.

      Kelly: You won’t have to do a thing. The kids are I will take care of it.
      Colin: Right. So I’ll be the jerk sitting on the couch watching it pee in the corner because I’m not taking the dog outside unless it’s 70 degrees or warmer. That will be fine with you?

      Kelly: Just live a little! Life is short!
      Colin: How long do dogs live?

       Kelly: Don’t you want something soft, warm and fuzzy running around the house?
       Colin: We have Maeve.

The truth is, now that our children are gradually becoming more self-sufficient, I’d like to keep that momentum going. That means not waking before 8 a.m. on weekends. Not attending to anyone else’s bowel movements. Not securing and monitoring a series of gates around rooms that are off-limits. Our children have taken us beyond those stages. But like most kids, they’ve become great at promises of responsibility, but not always so consistent on the follow-through. So if I did give in and agree to getting a dog, guess who’d be left holding the leash?

Sure, Kelly will continue to text me photos of our kids holding puppies at pet stores in a ploy to manipulate my emotions and position me as the bad guy denying his children their hearts’ desire. But like most of these dog-driven debates, this latest flare up will likely pass with the same result. No dog for us – for now at least. So while I’ve got a good thing going, I’m enjoying the reprieve.

Later that morning, when my kids were distracted by Sunday morning television, I poured myself a bowl of Cookie Crisp. As I enjoyed that sugary sweet cereal free of a dog’s unnerving stare, I thought to myself, maybe I had made too big of a deal over chocolate breakfast cereal. If this is the way we compensate for not giving our children a dog, I suppose I can live with that.

It was a sweet breakfast indeed.

8 Comments to Dog fight

  1. Kelly's Gravatar Kelly
    October 19, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    I would like to hear from the REAL people. If you think Shanley, Finn and Maeve should not be denied the significant opportunity to have a childhood bond with a dog, please let me know.
    Kelly (Colin’s wife)

  2. Joan's Gravatar Joan
    October 19, 2010 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    I am sitting in the kitchen eating a late dinner, and guess who is next to my feet, watching in wait of a morsel to drop to the floor? Yes, Hank!

    I have known you Kelly for about 28 years, and am well aware of your love of dogs. Just today, Hank and I took a walk in Oak Lawn and stopped for a visit to your parents’ house. They loved seeing Hank, who reminded them of your golden retriever, Annie.

    Kelly…..dogs are more work than children, because they never grow up!!

    Colin…dogs are pure love! They love you no matter what! You can leave the toilet seat up and your dog will still love you! You can sit on the couch, like a jerk, not taking the dog for a walk, and the dog will be snuggled next to you, loving you!

    If Kelly can handle the dog hair, I vote YES for adding a dog to your family!


  3. Debbie Hafermann's Gravatar Debbie Hafermann
    October 20, 2010 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Megan will kill me for this, but being the animal lover that I am (1 dog, 2 cats), I totally believe you should get the dog. Every kid needs a dog!

  4. Brian's Gravatar Brian
    October 23, 2010 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    Hilarious piece Colin. Add one more big one: the dog hair Colin. that’s the one lurking beast right there. the dog hair that will get on your clothes get everywhere. i love dogs. i really do. i just don’t want to live with one. you didn’t have a dog as a kid. neither did I. i think we turned out OK. don’t you? well, you turned out better than me, i’m a nutjob, but you get the idea.

  5. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    November 14, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    A dog is FAR more expensive than you think it will be, it will destroy lots of things in your house and your yard, and it’s a huge hassle to deal with, especially if your family does any traveling. You can pay $$$ to board it, or bring it along and try to convince it to go when it’s -10 and windy, it just looks at you like “what?”.

    That being said, you pretty much have to do it. The president did it for his kids, you know. Just get a small to medium sized one.

  6. connie's Gravatar connie
    January 1, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Oh come ON, Golden Boy, get a freekin’ dog already! xoxo

  7. Donna's Gravatar Donna
    October 21, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    why not compromise and get a cute, cheap little hamster, You dont have to walk them; dont dont chew your couch or pee on your table. And since they are nocturnal creature…put it in the kids’ room. The cutsiee lil’ hamster will (a) keep em up with scritchy-scrarty wheel sqeeking noises all night and (b) as soon as they try to pick it up, it will most likely BITE them.
    Problem solved! THEN get a snake, and feed the hamster to the smake! Perfect solution. You sell the snake and hamster cage at a garage sale & might be money ahead. Ha!