Monday, July 2, 2012

Fetes in Dog Parenting

I’ve never had a dog before, so getting our Maltipoo Betty is huge for me. Just like a new parent, I have been doting on that dog, obsessing over her every move. I carefully measure out her organic dog food, brush her daily, provide her with lots of toys and treats, check her BMs, and I even brush her teeth each night. I am rewarded with a dog who follows me everywhere, who whines when I’m away, and greets me joyfully when I return. She’s the perfect companion. For me.

Betty is terrified of my husband. She shakes when he’s in the room. And, when they are alone in the house together, Betty instantly leaves the room when he comes in. If we are both home and he enters a room that I am in, she tries to hide behind me – even when I’m reclining on the couch. Betty trying to burrow under my neck is really a funny sight. One time when Betty and I came home, she hopped on the couch and cautiously peered over its edge to see if he was sitting at the computer. When she saw he wasn’t there, I swear she had a look of relief on her muzzle, then went prancing about the room.

Nevertheless, my husband is a patient and caring dog daddy. He and I both await the day when Betty finally comes around to see that he really is the better parent.

Friday night at the beginning of a protracted heat wave, our air conditioning went out. I immediately thought of the dog. I feared she would overheat. Indeed she wouldn’t stop panting. Then again, my husband was in the room and she is always nervous and panting around him. But, after an hour or so of this excessive panting, I did what every nervous parent does: I googled “dog panting”. And, as everyone who has ever googled a suspected medical issue has, I became alarmed.

“I just counted her breaths per minute and it’s almost 200!” I said in a panicky voice.
“Dogs pant when they are hot. It’s hot in here. I’m sure she’s fine, but if you are worried, call the vet,” my husband calmly said.

After obsessively watching the dog for another 20 minutes, I dialed the vet. The pet ER tech said: “We always recommend you come in for anything respiratory related. We’ll have a tech check her out and if she needs to see a vet, we can have her do that.”

Within minutes we were hustling Betty to the pet ER in Aurora. My husband driving and me silently holding Betty.

My husband is always good in a crisis and this time was no exception. He carried Betty and held her while filled out the paperwork on a clipboard. We were the only people in the waiting room.

In the silence my husband shouts: “Look at my toes!”
In an instant I think “shit, are we going to have to take him to the ER too?” just as I look down at his feet.

My hatred for feet, especially men’s feet, is legendary. I like to brag to people that I have rarely seen my husband’s naked feet: he almost always wears white socks – usually two pairs at a time. It’s like he doesn’t even have feet, but cotton-covered paws. Huge paws.

But in this instant, in the harsh light of the animal ER waiting room, I get a full-on look at his feet in his open sandals. And they are nasty. The toes huge and crooked. The nails yellowish-gray and starting to sprout fungus, and clipped so crookedly you’d think a child cut them. Other than their hideous appearance, there isn’t a damn thing wrong with his toes.

Immediately I start to laugh. I cannot stop laughing and I’m laughing until I’m crying.
“Why did you make me look at them!?” I say wiping away the tears.
He is silent under his smirk and at that moment I realize looking at his toes was exactly what I needed to do.

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