We have a dog. I have a hard time admitting that because of my long-standing policy regarding the Offutt household — no pets. That’s also why we’ve had a cat for 11 years.
The cat came about when my wife decided our children needed the experience of taking care of something. That and she saw an ad for free kittens. If there’s one thing Offutts can’t resist it’s anything free.
But pets aren’t really free. As much money as we’ve spent on the cat, we might as well have had another child. Then we had one. So, five years later, we got a dog.
There may be a connection.
I’ve never understood the human need to keep an animal that licks your face with the same tongue it uses to clean its butt. This seems counter to our germophobic society where surgical masks, alcohol-based sanitizer, six feet of separation, and not shaking hands is now normal.
Having a dog just to have a dog is baffling. Service dogs I get. I also see the purpose of guard dogs, farm dogs and even junkyard dogs. Oh, and talking dogs, like in Disney movies. That would probably come in handy unless it started ordering from Amazon when we weren’t home.
I told my family I did not want a dog. I said it explicitly, I said it loudly, I said it often, and I explained to them the four reasons why:
1) Pets need attention. If you can’t give it to them, don’t get one.
2) Calling pets “fur babies” makes me want to slam my head into a wall. We are not going to be those people.
3) I’m not sharing my food. If a pet wants my food, it should do what I did and get a job.
4) Lots and lots of poop.
Humans have kept dogs as pets for about 30,000 years and, given a dog poops three-to-five times a day, that’s 32,850,000 trips to the backyard, 54,750,000 if he’s a good boy. One plastic baggie to collect each poop is 11”x13”, which is 143 square inches per baggie, or 652,437,500 square feet of bags filled with dog poop built up over the past 30 millennia. Gross.
These numbers are just for one dog. There are currently around 900 million domesticated dogs on the planet, which equals a maximum of 4,500,000,000 poops per day. Whoa.
Then my family went to the shelter to look at a dog. I went with them to make sure only humans came home. Well, that and the kids.
The dog we looked at was a rescue dog. I don’t like that term. To me a rescue dog is a buff Chris Hemsworth-looking beast that pulls other dogs from burning buildings. This animal was a Yorkie small enough to fit into a backpack already filled with books and a few more Yorkies.
It was also old, mostly deaf and blind, and slept a lot. He sounded a lot like me.
“I don’t want a dog,” I said as my family “oohed” and “aahed.”
“Just hold him for a minute,” one of them said as they shoved the dog into my arms. Then something strange happened. I noticed he was cute and snuggly, like a baby — with fur.
Can we keep him?
Jason’s upcoming novel, “So You Had to Build a Time Machine,” is available for preorder at jasonoffutt.com.