Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Am I becoming a dog person?

I never thought I would adopt a dog. My wife Sara has always been a dog person. I have not. I have been a person person. Actually, I have been a me person. I find I'm much easier to clean up after than most dogs or people.

I wanted to like dogs, but they had other plans. When I was a baby, a neighbor's dog chased me and tried to bite me. He didn't chase me long - I wasn't very mobile at 11 months. I grew up in an "eh" part of Queens, where most dog owners were dog owners because they wanted to scare kids like me off their property. When you don't own much, you cling to what you have.

I grew up scared of my neighbor's dobermans and german shepherds and various other breeds that commonly patrol junkyards and prisons in the movies. It came to a head when I was 8, playing catch with my brother, Adam. We took a break and sat down across the field from each other. Suddenly, a dog came bearing down on Adam. We weren't old enough to know it was illegal to have a dog off-leash in a city park - but we wouldn't have had time to realize that anyway. The second the dog knocked my brother over, he came for me. Adam was 12. To me, he was enormous - and the dog ran through him with little effort. I was terrified what Kujo would do to me. I ducked - and the dog jumped right over me, kicking me in the head. That's right, I was jump-kicked by a dog. Which is strange, since I don't live in a cartoon.

The dog's owner didn't apologize - and excused the behavior by saying the ever responsible, "oh, he's just playing." Now that I'm an adult and the owner is probably an old man, I would LOVE to track him down and use the same excuse. "Sorry I punched you in the throat. That's just how I play. Aren't I precocious?"

If that was how dogs played, I wanted no part in it. But then I met Sara. And several dozen hours of the Dog Whisperer later, here I am, about to adopt a dog. I have been educated (thanks in part to Cesar Milan's pack leader mentality) that dog's aren't the problem - it's their owners. When a dog's human has no discipline, neither will the dog. That's why that ninja park dog was such an asshole - because his owner was equally an asshole.

Sara convinced me that we would be wonderful to our dog, and thus our dog would be wonderful. Since I'm meeting a dog tomorrow, I sure hope she's right.

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