I have always wanted a dog.
When I was little, and I would stay at my maternal grandparents’ apartment in the city, my grandfather would walk me over to American Kennels, which always had the cutest puppies in the window, and we would conspire about how to acquire a dog without my grandmother ever finding out about it. We would hide it in the closet, feed it when she was sleeping — it was all planned out, but of course, the plan never came to fruition. My mom didn’t like dogs, so we never had one.
But now that son #3 is about to embark on his senior year in high school, so he has only one more “official” year at home, I am beginning to think that I am going to need an emotional support pet in the house — and that isn’t a euphemism for husband #1.
When you do things for your kids, they show appreciation and affection (sometimes — ok, rarely — but work with me here) and if I got a puppy, I hear that they also show appreciation and affection and, most importantly, they do not attend yeshiva day school!!!! Or sleepaway camp! They don’t talk back! They don’t get a driver’s license! The only things they do do, is, well doo doo. And they can do that in the house, on your nice carpet. Gotta say, that really is the only thing holding me back. Oh and the fact that husband #1 keeps saying, “It’s a dog, or me, but you can’t have both.” Really? An ultimatum over a dog? Does anyone want to take in a 48-year-old lawyer who knows how to make his bed and doesn’t eat a lot?
Animals always have been a passion of mine. Even when I was 6 years old and my parents took me to the Turtle Back Zoo, and one of the monkeys reached through the cage and took the red ribbons that were tied to my pigtails. (Yes, that is quite the visual.) But that didn’t stop me from loving going to see animals. The Bronx Zoo is one of my favorite places in the world and I often stop by the Central Park Zoo because I can see my sea lions for free through the gate. Whenever we would drive cross country on our baseball road trips, I would get so excited when we would see cows or horses. It could be because they weigh more than I do, or it’s because God’s creatures are really amazing and beautiful.
Well, maybe not all of them.
We once had a scary and sad-looking coyote limp through our backyard. My boys were little at the time, and I called the police. He said, “Ma’am, is the coyote eating anyone?” I replied, “No.” And the officer very apathetically said, “Then call us when he is eating someone. Otherwise, it isn’t an emergency.” Well that wasn’t very nice!
Needless to say, when there were reported sightings of bears in our area, I got very excited. I walk all over Teaneck — granted, not as quickly or as often as I used to because of my knee, but I still try my best. And the fact that I could see a cute and cuddly bear was even more of an impetus to get me out of the house. So I put on my TABC reflector, I took my flashlight, and I went Facebook live, which means that I became a reality television show for just a few minutes for a few nights. My family thought I was even crazier than usual. I actually think they thought I was drunk, but how cool would it have been if I found the bear! That would be my reward for walking all over this beautiful, albeit boring, town. My own bear!
Well, I wish I could tell you that I found it, but all I found were some deer and a skunk. And it wasn’t even a live skunk.
And then I heard on the news that some poor lady was walking her two dogs in Florida and she got eaten by an alligator trying to defend her dogs! Oy, that is a very bad ending. Does this mean that if I get a dog, I am supposed to put my life before his? Like I would do for any of my children? Ya, I am just not seeing that devotion. So maybe I should rethink the dog thing. Because I would definitely get eaten by an alligator to protect my boys.
In any event, we still have to respect all creatures, even if they can eat you, or say mean things to you. (An angry parrot perhaps?) But if you ever see a bear, give me a call, because that would be really cool!
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is trying to convince her sons to go to the zoo with her before their summer activities begin. She even promised to cover her hair and wear a skirt (but only to the zoo; after that, pants and hair back to their regularly scheduled programming.) Not sure that even that bribe will work this year.