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What Happens When My Dogs Rate Me As an Owner

Turns out I'm not a perfect canine guardian -- but in some cases my dogs are just fine with that!

 |  Jun 28th 2013  |   1 Contribution


They say our dogs see us as gods, which is understandable considering the way we make food appear out of a big white thing that’s cold inside and the way we seem to know just where to scratch, whether it's butt or ears or tummy or that tiny little place on the chin. 

But we know we’re not gods, and no matter how hard we try, we aren’t always perfect dog owners. 

Well, I’m not, anyway, though I want to improve. So I’ve done that grotesque thing where I, a human, imagines what my dogs would tell me about the way I manage as a dog “owner.” I must confess, I was not surprised at what they declared were good not-so-perfect-dog-owner things and bad not-so-perfect-dog-owner things. Here are a few of their proposed changes and preferred keepers. 

Things to change -- and right away, please!

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Illustration by Nigel Sussman

  • Missed evening walks: I’m really rarely actually too busy with important stuff; usually it’s watching a DVD or painting my toes or fixing the toilet. Second-Walk-of-the-Day Power activate!
  • Not enough broth in the broth cubes: A summer staple, frozen broth cubes are decidedly less tasty this year because we’re “economizing” (I fill them half with water). Perhaps I can stop buying bright and intoxicating nail polish at CVS.
  • The ban against eating books: Bunch and I have discussed this again and again, and most books now reside in their proper place on the bookshelves. However, Bunch still thinks a book is a good snack. Let's put this one down as “something to teach after I train Bunch not to eat the IKEA furniture.”
  • Not enough dog park time: This is one of Bunch’s biggest complaints. Unfortunately, we do not live near a dog park, so it’s an hour trek there and back plus “slobbering on people and running over little dogs” time (no little dogs hurt in this endeavor). I’d say a (NYC-specific) compromise is needed here. Maybe we’ll take a cab there and back some of the time, though that’s not economizing.

Things to keep, keep, keep!

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Illustration by Nigel Sussman

  • Cheez Whiz Ecstasy: Does any responsible dog owner give her dog Cheez Whiz, a substance that is “cheese” but doesn’t need to be refrigerated and causes a burning sensation in your throat? I doubt it. I might as well as add “not-always-responsible dog owner” to my confessions. But Hudson loves Cheez Whiz and Hudson is old and if it doesn’t come back up, he gets it. My plan of action: Buy more Cheeze Whiz.
  • Avoiding nail clipping: You’d think that with all the time I spend on my own nails, I’d be on top of clipping the dogs’. But not so. I forget. I hem and haw because I know it’s going to be a lot of trouble. Then I complain because the tapping of nails on the wooden floors wakes me up at night. Bunch and Hudson are all for this oversight, but I think I’ll have to actually put it in my calendar -- then have ice cream after the ordeal!

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    Illustration by Nigel Sussman


  • Encouraging Bunch’s pirouettes: Bunch is quite the dancer and at any time I can expect her to crawl up me to a standing position (which is painful because of her nails -- see above), pirouette, and then settle into a nice two step with me. I let her do it because it’s so incredibly darn cute. However, a guest might not find it so. My plan of action: It’s just too amazingly, incredibly darn cute -- guests will just have to learn to waltz.
  • Leaving that pile of regurgitation (nicer word) until the morning: So, OK, I do hear it if Hudson throws up in the night. I can also gauge how closely he throws up to me. If it’s a good yard or more away, I usually turn over and go back to sleep. Hudson is all for this because then he has many hours in which to reconsume his dinner. Bunch frowns on this but then she’s pretty anal about cleaning. My plan of action: Have paper towels ready and crawl to the mess to clean it, remembering to turn on the light first so as not to crawl in said mess.

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Illustration by Nigel Sussman

I have found that owning a dog requires a huge sense of humor. If I chastised myself for everything I do “wrong,” according to Cesar Millan, I’d be a mass of nerves. 

Many dog owners, including me, take great pains not to let their mistakes get found out by other dog owners, because it’s very likely those folks will not admit to their own not-so-perfect-dog-owner stuff. I must say, I’m pretty content at the end of the day, when I find that we’re all alive and accounted for and tired enough to go to sleep.

Do you do some no-so-perfect-dog-owner things? Come now, be honest. What do you hope to change out of that repertoire? Let's talk about it in the comments below! 

We confess! We have more Doghouse Confessionals:

If You Don't Like My Dog, You're Dead to Me -- and 5 Other Things You Should Know
A Vet Bullied Me -- But I Knew It Wasn't Time for My Dog to Die
My Dog and I Were Attacked by Three Rottweilers Near My House

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