This article is dedicated to good old Dad and the pet he never wanted. The pet that now follows him from room to room. The pet that he speaks to in a baby voice while giving it table scraps for dinner. The pet that has taken a space on Dad’s side of the bed. The pet he now keeps a picture of on his desk at work.
It’s a story as old as time. The kids want a kitten or a puppy with zero intention of actually taking care of the living, breathing creature. Parents say no and swear to each other that they will not budge. Dad talks about absolutely nothing except how much work it is to have a pet and how he will not be the one taking care of said pet. The kids promise they will take care of the new pet while also cleaning their rooms and doing their homework. Mom shakes her head knowing what is about to happen.
Dad caves. The kids end up with a pet.
An adorable dog or cat will be picked out because it’s perfect in the eyes of your children. It turns out to be the highest maintenance animal for sale in the tri-state area and immediately costs you hundreds of dollars in vet bills. The pet will come home, and no one will do anything but play with it for days after its worms and kennel cough are finally gone.
Then real life sets in and the pet is making messes. The pet goes to the bathroom on the floor, chews up shoes, and knocks over a lamp while chasing a toy. Dad swears up and down he won’t clean up another mess…while cleaning up another mess.
Dad gives in and potty trains the pet by himself. Despite swearing the pet would never be on the couch, it can almost always be found within petting distance of Dad. Pet can now also shake, sit, and give a high five. They are still working on playing dead and fetching beer from the fridge in the garage.
One week later, the family enters the home to find Dad on the couch snuggling the new pet. It is wearing a sweater and appears to have been recently bathed and blown dry. The new pet appeared in Dad’s Instagram feed with the hashtag #BestPetEver. It now follows Dad everywhere he goes and refuses to eat anything but table scraps for dinner. He also prefers that you sing and pet him while he eats.
The dog that was once not allowed to get on the couch continues making an appearance at night on Dad’s side of the bed. Somehow the pet ends up passing out and drooling on mom’s side of the bed, making it impossible for her to sleep. Dad sleeps soundly through the night.
And Dad and his pet lived happily ever after.
This story is dedicated to my husband and his love for our dog, Newman Rockwell Johnson. Newman was supposed to be about 40 pounds. He turned out to be 75. He somehow ends up sleeping on my feet every single night. Logan loves him the most and can be found snuggling Newman on the couch every Sunday. We don’t know his actual birthday, so we celebrate every year on New Year’s Day because it’s easy to remember. Logan cooks Newman a birthday steak each year.
I hope that one day you find the pet you never knew you needed in your life.