by Beth Diane Bradley
Every time I take my dogs for a walk these days, I’m packing heat. To clarify, we’re talking pepper spray- and the alleged attacker would be an off-leash dog wanting to pick a fight with my two hound dogs that out-weigh me.
I sincerely hope I never have to use it, but I read the instructions just in case. They said you need to pay attention to the direction of the wind, and shield your face before spraying it at the attacker. I guess if I mess that up, I’ll be too busy writhing on the ground to worry about what I missed.
I have a special connection to these dogs because they originally belonged to my 20-year-old son and his roommates. But as I predicted, they were not ready to be parents for the long haul — so when the puppies needed a new home, grandma stepped up.
After all, replacing your grown children with pets can protect you from the shock of a clean house, more money, and extra time on your hands.
Being the only person in my household of three creates an interesting dynamic, not unlike being raised by wolves. I’ve picked up odd habits like leaving the bathroom door open to facilitate uninterrupted communication within the pack — and rearranging lamps, plants and other frivolous possessions, so my watch dogs have full clearance to do their job.
The line between human and canine space is blurred, since they leave their DNA on absolutely everything. I see no point in keeping them off the furniture because I like to have my over-sized lap dogs by my side. This means I spend lots of time deciding which cover or blanket looks best with my décor — and I haven’t seen my couch naked since they came to live with me.
I also tend to keep some of their stuff mixed in with mine, which caused some confusion a couple of summers ago. One day I came home with a sun-burned ear, and opened the bathroom cupboard to grab what I thought was aloe vera gel. After applying a green substance to my ear, I started to realize I may have grabbed the wrong bottle. Sure enough, I went back to check, and discovered it was flea and tick shampoo. At least I was able to assure my hair stylist I was critter-free.
Like in any pack, we have assigned duties that suit our individual personalities. My job is to buy the kibble and hand out treats on demand. Tucker is the union negotiator who verifies they get the correct number of treats specified in their contract. And Butters is the chief security guard. When I’m not buying kibble or cleaning our den, I am also the doorman. I get tipped in wet kisses while leaning over to wipe their muddy paws.
Living with two dogs is also a good deterrent to keep the bad guys away. But there is always the chance a crafty crook will show up with Big Macs in his pockets, causing my security guards to go on strike. In the event that ever happens, I’ll make him wish he’d gone to Taco John’s.