Friday, July 18, 2008

Neurotic Parents

Picture a family of whacks, dressed up in their matching cashmere sweaters for a photo that will appear on their Christmas card, with some cheesy message about "Wise men still seek him" inside. The kids aren't allowed to eat anything that isn't organic. The children aren't allowed to sleep over at someone's house until they're 12. And none of them have seen a horror movie before they enter high school. It seems like a family situation straight out of a movie. Everyone rolls their eyes at the paranoid parents (quite often, just an overprotective mother) and wants to scream, "Back the hell off and let the kid grow up!"

I went shopping for Pistol on Wednesday night. I had to get a collar, dog food, crate, etc. in order to be able to bring him home today. As I started shopping, I found myself understanding those overprotective mothers. I looked at the ingredients on each of the doggy treats. I asked myself, is this organic? Are these ingredients going to make the kid overweight? I looked at the puppy foods and thought, is there too much calcium in this brand that will make him grow too fast and give him bone problems? Is the kibble small enough that he won't choke? I looked at the chew toys and put down the ones that he could choke on as well. I looked at the doggy crates and asked myself, is this one going to break his teeth or hurt his mouth if he starts chewing on it? Is there anything that will pinch his poor little body if he tries to get out? My mind ran through all of the dangerous possibilities.

I woke up today feeling really excited that I get to bring my boy home, but mostly, I just get so scared when I think about it. I've never been solely responsible for another life like this. Most people can accidentally kill a goldfish and not bat an eyelash, but this is a dog. There's more of a connection to a mammal of this kind. I just don't want to screw up another life. What if the poor boy gets lonely? What if I don't feed him the right stuff? What if I don't give him enough exercise? What if I spoil him and he never learns the kind of discipline that makes a truly happy dog?

I'm glad I'm being opened to new perspectives in life--the kind of perspectives that I used to scoff at. It's lovely to be able to develop that respect for different feelings and viewpoints.

Wish me luck. The kid is fully mine in less than three hours.


Kathy said...

That whole fear of responsibility gets confirmed for me every time I fail to keep a plant alive for more than a month. Fortunately, your little guy will be able to communicate enough to let you know if something's really wrong.

Good luck! Hope to see pics of him soon.

Jules said...

That is my family photo you took from my blog. The outfits were made by a family friend, so we wore them one Christmas. Brings back good memories for me. Make fun if you wish. I am not the person you described.