There is something about the addition of a puppy or baby to our home that makes me want to do what I can to make sure I’m The Favourite.
For babies, I want to be the guy that the kid stops crying for; laughs at without stop and falls asleep on.
For puppies, I want natural loyalty from when our eyes meet. Nothing less will do.
When my daughter first approached us about bringing another dog into the house, I wasn’t a fan.
“I’ll pick up after him. I’ll take care of him.”
“I’ll pay for his food. I’ll pay for his vet bills.”
“I’ll clean up his messes. I’ll pick up his poop.”
Me: “So you’re saying that we, your parents, will bear NO expense with this puppy and that you will be totally responsible for him?”
My Daughter: “Yes.”
Me: “Done. I’ll just get you to sign this document outlining this entire conversation verbatim.”
My Daughter: “In triplicate?”
Me: “One can never be too sure.”
Once the agreement was made, she hit me with the Fine Print:
My Daughter: “But this means that he’s going to be MY dog.”
Me: “Of course.”
My Daughter: “I’m the one who trains him.”
My Daughter: “And I’m the only one who feeds him. “
My Daughter: “Including giving him treats.”
Me: “No prob…WHAT?”
My Daughter: “Dad, it will confuse him if I’m the one disciplining him but you’re giving him the treats.”
Me: “I disagree. I think that will define our roles quite clearly.”
My Daughter: “Nothing sneaky either, like when you filled your pocket with Hershey’s Kisses right before the neighbours’ little kids showed up.”
Me: “Those were for me. It’s not my fault they’re really smart. Maybe your dog won’t be that clever.”
My Daughter: “DAD! I’m Serious!”
No amount of ‘buts’ could change her mind, especially after my wife gave me the Look Of Concern.
Me: “Ok. Fine. I won’t give your dog any treats. And I won’t keep a whole bunch of treats in my pockets in the hopes that your dog will find them.”
My Daughter: “Good. I’m glad you can be mature about this. I’m sure my dog will like you, even without the treats. And even if he doesn’t, it’s not the end of the world, right?”
I am a man of my word. I am done with treats. There is no need to bribe an animal for affection.
And if she asks, I’m soaking my hands in ham juice to moisturise them. .