Lauren and I went to see Hotel for Dogs on Sunday afternoon. Dave and Matthew thought Paul Blart: Mall Cop was more their style so we split up after lunch at Champps (where all the waitresses had Amy Winehouse beehives for some reason. Amy Winehouse is totally fugly so either I’m getting really effing old or I missed some sort of hair memo. One Amy Winehouse impersonator came perilously close to dragging her skeevy dreads through my Greek salad and I wanted to gag. Hairnets. Good idea, yes?).
Anyway, I really enjoyed Hotel for Dogs. It was a bit formulaic and predictable but it had a happy ending. I cried anyway even though I knew they were HOLLYWOOD DOGS and not in any real danger. My loathsome PMS had reared its ugly head again and had I been at Marley and Me it would have taken a team of men in white coats and a big ass tranquilizer to get my emotions under control (I read the book – I know how that one ends).
After the movie we went to dad and Debby’s for dinner and I was bragging about my 10 lb. weight loss. I said I still wasn’t sure what had happened that made another trip to Weight Watchers necessary. Usually I only go there after I’ve had a baby and this is the third time I’ve joined. I only have two kids and even my rudimentary math skills told me that didn’t add up.
Then, I had an epiphany. I may not have had another baby but I had a Chloe and that’s awfully close in my book.
Chloe is the first pet we’ve had as a family. Actually we had a couple hamsters before that (starter pets, if you will) but they have a pretty short life expectancy and I don’t recommend them unless you want your children to experience the traumatic death of a pet every 18 months or so.
A little over a year ago, right after the last hamster died (R.I.P. Murphy), Dave and the kids started hinting around that a puppy might be nice.
I wasn’t so sure. I love animals. I mean like, really love them. I was quite attached to the hamsters. But a puppy was a huge responsibility I wasn’t sure I was ready for. I also knew I’d be the one taking care of it.
Slowly, they wore me down.
Dave did quite a bit of research and compiled a list of suitable dog breeds for our household. The Cairn Terrier (like Toto from The Wizard of Oz) was one that Dave thought would be great for our family.
My big mouth and I mentioned that a veterinarian had listed an ad in the Sunday paper about a litter of Cairn Terrier puppies he had available.
Dave called and spoke to the vet and suddenly we were on our way to take a look. I knew we’d be coming home with one. I may have had some reservations about getting a puppy, but you can’t stick me in a room full of them and expect me to walk away empty handed. I love cute, furry, cuddly things almost as much as I love wine.
Dave and I decided we needed to come up with a code word in case the vet turned out to be a deranged lunatic. If we noticed anything worrisome about the vet or the puppies, we wanted a way to communicate that operation “we’re getting a puppy” had encountered a problem. I don’t know how in God’s name glockenspiel became our family code word but that‘s what we decided on (just try to work it into a sentence).
The vet turned out to very nice and totally normal. He brought all three puppies into the room and we played with them for over an hour.
We selected a calm female puppy and named her Chloe. We left with a little 1.4 lb. ball of cute and drove straight to Pet Smart.
The first nights, and the first three months, were hard (mostly on me). I had never potty trained a puppy before and I thought I was all done with the getting up in the middle of the night nonsense.
I spent most of November, December, and January standing in the front yard, in the snow, while Chloe did her business. I walked through knee high drifts in the back yard while the invisible fence guy and I taught Chloe where her boundaries were. And I took her out in the middle of the night when she cried.
We hung a bell by the door and taught Chloe how to ring it when she wanted to go out. Things got a lot better after that but it was several months before I let Chloe roam the house without worrying that someone would step on her or she’d pee or poop on the carpet.
When people came over we showed everyone all the tricks Chloe had learned in puppy school. We e-mailed pictures and slide shows to our friends and family. We regaled them with stories about all the cute things she’d done.
See, it’s just like when we had human babies. We assumed everyone was as enthralled by our puppy as we were and we bored them silly with our pet anecdotes.
Chloe is an important member of this household. Now I have three kids to check on when I get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. I often sneak Chloe into bed with us even though Dave says he can’t sleep with her cuddled up next to him (yes he can, I’ve seen him). He loves her as much as the rest of us.
I’m just kidding about blaming Chloe for my return to Weight Watchers. I’m pretty sure the cosmopolitans and pizza had something to do with it. I just needed to make time to get in shape for swimsuit season. And with three kids (4 if we count Dave) that’s sometimes hard to do.