Before Tate and I had our furbabies, I would always get so frustrated with people who called their animals “kids”. It just felt so ridiculous. I may not have real kids, but I have been around my niece and nephew constantly since they were born, so I know what the difference is, and it’s everything. But then I got animals, and I slowly started to realize that I was being super judgmental and that those people were sorta right. Having animals is, in it’s own way, like having kids.
Sure, there are differences. Of course there are. I don’t have to worry about snotty noses or babies climbing and falling off of things. I don’t have to deal with diaper blowouts and all-night cry fests (four reasons I don’t want kids, right there). I am not as worried about my animals health and well being as I would be a kid. I don’t have to worry if I am raising a well-rounded, independent adult or an asshole who is going to fail at life.
No, having animals compares to kids in the little things. My sister once said “Having a dog is like having a perpetual 2-year old” and I think that that says it all. When you have kids you know that you’re going to go through phases. Animals have one phase and it is the we can kind of understand each other sometimes, but not enough to teach each other anything substantial phase and it lasts forever.
We have a dog, Frank, and a cat, Duchess or Dutchie. Having these two animals can be like running a circus at times. We have no doggie door, but they are both inside/outside animals. When one is ready to go out, the other is ready to come in. That is, until they have seen that the other one went out, so then they want to go back out. This is an all day thing. Sure, it’s only minorly inconvenient, but it gets old.
Before Tate and I married, we lived separately. We had Frank at the time and since I was essentially living out of my car and sleeping at different houses every night, Frank stayed with him at his parents house, which was a blessing. I adopted Frank before my living situation changed, and I couldn’t bear the idea that I would have to part with him.
One day Tate’s parents bought a bag of Dove chocolates, which are delicious, so I understand Franks actions completely. Anyway, they went to bed that night and, not thinking about Frank, left that opened, unfinished bag of chocolates out in a spot where devious little Frank could get to them. Needless to say, the next day they woke up and the bag was there, but all of the chocolate (over half of the bag) was gone. My (now) mother-in-law called me in almost hysterics thinking that Frank was going to die from all the chocolate he ate. Luckily, I had been in a similar situation before, so I assured her that he would be fine, maybe just have an upset stomach. That was the case: he was outside more often than usual for the next couple of days.
Cut to, I don’t know, four years later. In that time I have been adamant about keeping anything edible that I would want out of his reach. I’ve done a pretty good job of it so far, until last night.
I recently had surgery and when I am having a bad time with it or a bad day, Tate buys me a bag of those amazing Dove chocolates to make me feel better. Well, last night I was having a bad night, so he and I cuddled on the couch to watch The Daily Show and The Colbert Report to make things better. We had the bag emptied out on the coffee table so that they were within reach at all times (that’s important).
When we were done watching our shows, we decided to go to bed to try a new show on Starz. We are laying there with the beginning credits playing when Tate says “Hey, mute it.” *pause to listen* “Is Frank eating the Dove’s?” Sure enough, I hear the obvious crinkling of the Dove chocolate wrappers and I mutter “shit!” then yell “Frank!” (another reason animals are better than kids; Frank can’t talk and run up to grandma and yell shit one day) I turned the light on as he sheepishly looked back at me from the coffee table. “Bad boy!” I say as I walk toward him. He runs to Tate (there’s a nice parent/mean parent dynamic with animals, too, and guess which one Tate is…) as I lean over the table to assess the damage.
There are no wrappers and no chocolates left.
Me: “Babe, how many chocolates did you eat?”
Tate: “There were seven and I ate two.”
Me: “I ate two, too. Damn, he ate three, wrapper and all!”
Tate: *Laughter* (see why we shouldn’t have kids?)
Me: “Well, you can deal with him when he starts shitting Dove wrappers.”
As I go to bed, I give Frank a stern look (like he knows what that even is). While laying down though, I realize; it’s not the poor dog’s fault, it’s ours. If I am going to be angry with anyone, it has to be me and Tate. In Frank’s mind, we left those out just for him. He has no idea the potential danger of them, that’s our responsibility.
So, like I said, having animals is somewhat similar to having children, and ours have four legs.