Wednesday, April 25, 2012

How owning Boston Terriers is like having children:

If you don't already know, I own (or am owned) by two darling Boston Terriers.  Besides my husband, these are the loves of my life.

There is Jesse, the 12 year old curmudgeon who I've had since he was 6 weeks old.  He was a runt who still needed bottle feeding when my dad brought him home.  The only time we've spent apart were my first two and a half years in college when I lived in the dorms and pets were not allowed.  When I would come home for a weekend visit or a long break, he would decide how happy he was to see me by the size of the bag I brought home with me.  If it was just my small overnight duffel bag, he would just sigh and look at me with disapproving eyes.  If it was my large suitcase, he knew I'd be home for several weeks to a few months, and would leap around and twirl in excitement.  When I was in college, he was my anchor in a sea of anxiety, and in my deepest depression he was a reminder that someone loved me just as I was - imperfections and all.  Dogs have an uncanny ability to do that.

While Jesse is the dog closest to my heart (and usually the dog who is never far from my feet or lap when I'm at home), it is Lucky that is the most well-known by our friends and family.  Jesse is quiet and calm (unless my husband is deliberately annoying him, but Lucky has a joie de vivre that endears him to every dog loving visitor of our home.  He's almost 7 now, which seems impossible to me.  My husband (then boyfriend) adopted him after I rescued him from a neglectful owner for a roommate who then decided she couldn't handle "a dog that hyper".  He was clearly abused - crouching and peeing in fear whenever you raised your voice or moved your hands too quickly when you reached out to pet him - so I couldn't return him.  Jesse did not like this new, very dominant, still mostly a puppy in his space so they fought constantly.  I am very lucky that B took him in - both because I was in school and working 2 jobs, so I didn't have the time Lucky needed to be socialized and trained but also because I fell in love with Lucky from day one.  Even when we were driving back from Forney, Lucky clearly wanted to be in my lap instead of my roommates (and I was driving!).

B taught him how to use the stairs and all the basic commands.  He also regained Lucky's trust in humans.  That was five and a half years ago.  Now Lucky almost runs the house, although I still will put my foot down to remind him, and my husband, that he is not the top of the household food chain.

Lucky gets SO. EXCITED. when we have guests, and I guarantee if you visit our apartment he will completely ignore my husband and I so you can give him all your attention.  He knows we'll be there but guests leave so he needs to get those snuggles and play time in while he has you there.  He meets me at the door each evening and jumps on my legs and paws at me until I squat down and let him put his paws on my shoulder to give him a hug.  It is seriously cute.  He is obsessed with his toys and will often sit staring at them on the highest shelf from his cozy spot at the foot of the bookcase.  He's a climber.  And, he is fat - like was once mistaken for a potbelly pig fat.  He is SO fat that he is notorious for eating Jesse's food after cleaning his bowl because he is so hungry - and this happens often enough that he knows what the command "THAT IS NOT YOUR BOWL!" means.

My husband and I often joke with my bestie (who is the mother of my two godchildren) about how our dogs are so very similar to their toddlers.  We always get worried when they're too quiet - although in Jesse's case it's because we're afraid he's curled up and died somewhere.  Also, much like kids there's little private time or intimacy left in our house - no one can go into the bathroom alone (although Lucky will guard the door if he's locked out), and there's no snuggling unless it's with a dog.  My husband and I are usually separated on the couch or in the bed by Lucky, who loves being in the middle where we can both pet him.

I often think that B and I will be better parents after chasing our black and white furbabies around after all these years, but I know parenthood will be more complicated than that.  Maybe we should just stick with dogs.....

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