Married with Children/Dogs

Three years went by before we exchanged vows in October of 2014. She is everything my heart desired–a tiny five feet three inches, 110 pounds, long (salt and pepper) hair, and an enchanting smile.

I learned a lot about her character and personality, from her profile on— “Christian Mingle.com.” Her core color—White. My core color—Red. Red is also her favorite color. It therefore, didn’t take much for me to convince her that we could easily blend into a beautiful pink–another of her favorite colors. She joyfully agreed with an exuberant– “Yes we can.”

But, on listening to the key-note-speaker, at one of the many pre-marital seminars we attended, the 85-year-old pastor testified; “My wife and I are now married 65 years. The secret—I did not fall in love.” Surprised… we looked at each other, as a deafening silence blanketed the entire audience of about three hundred.

The speaker paused–giving everyone the opportunity to tune-in, to the next statement he was about to make. “But,” he continued, “I made a conscious decision to love her, based on the wise and godly counsel of others who knew us both. Many turbulent years have passed, but I’ve stood by my decision.” “Of course,” he said, smiling confidently as he gently adjusted his glasses over his m-shaped nose–“I’m now more deeply in love with her than ever, and it’s only death that can separate us now.”
I had not heard such profundity, about love and marriage—spoken with such simplicity. Immediately 1000 watts of light turned on in my head and heart. At that very moment, I decided–this is the woman, I want to love, honor and, cherish–in sickness, or in health, for richer, or poorer, till death do we part. So help me God!

However, her marriage package includes two adult daughters, and a ten months old grand-baby-girl; who loves singing especially when we’re at church. Our favorite hymn is, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”
But, the other half of this nuptial bond, involves not one, no–not two, but three dogs. Gigi, Pork Chop, and Honey– all females.  Our “empty nest” is inhabited by other life forms, which follow her footstep, everywhere. I mean every–where!

No! I don’t like pets–not cats, not dogs, not birds, not even a fish. I did as a child but I grew up and I have no time for pets, and I doubt I ever will. (Go ahead and sue me, or you can report me to the local ASPCA.)

Oh yes! Courtship can be euphoric. But, I had no idea; these four-legged creatures were going to be such a menace to our marriage. Why did I commit to this relationship? Simply… I made a decision, to love my wife, and I’m determined to go all the way.

Nevertheless, I’m convinced that before I spend my time and money on anything with four legs—canine, feline, bovine or otherwise–I would rather feed a hungry child somewhere in the world. Pet maintenance is costly. Three different brands of dog food, pee-pee pads, treats, pet licenses, and visits to the Vet…

In addition to all of the above, I’ve bought more lint brushes in the last six months, than I needed in the last fifty-five years. Dogs’ hair is everywhere, regardless of  how much we vacuum, sweep or Swiffer.

Don’t sit anywhere–is the repeated warning I hear every Sunday morning as we get dressed for church.

The constant demand for care and attention: walking, feeding, rubbing, bathing, etc. I would rather give to a human being– “Paying it Forward.” Dogs, on the other hand–regardless of the number of years of training, walking, feeding and cleaning up after–will never learn to wipe their butts or their feet before coming back into the house. These barking, Chicken-flavored-dogchow eating canines, simply walk back in, never closing the door, and get right back on the couch like nothing just happened.

Furthermore, will man’s best friend ever learn to go walking on their own, and return at a decent hour?

Can they, simply inspect each other’s rear end, without all the fussing, growling and fighting for no apparent reason?

Will they ever learn to knock on bedroom doors before entering

Will they ever learn to take baths or showers, and tidy up their beds?

When will they learn to go to the pantry, and pour a bowl of Gravy Train–cleaning up any spills?

Will they ever be able to open the door, to go out to the bathroom on their own? They seem to know how to find the right spot in the yard–so, why can’t they just open the same door, we’ve been opening since they were puppies?

I empathize with the elderly, who–in spite of adverse weather conditions, or the severity of their aches and pains–must take their dogs out for a “poop and scoop” walk. I often wonder–who’s walking whom?

And why are they holding-on to that loaded plastic bag as if it’s contents were valuable?

Will they ever come-to-terms with the fact that the mailman is here to deliver the mail and there’s no need for alarm? Enough, with all that barking and scratching, I’m sick of it!

Moreover, the older they get, the worse it becomes. Gigi’s recent visit to the Vet. for her constant vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite, cost a whopping $350.00. Then, there was the special diet for two weeks, while we nursed her back to health. Dogs, ahh hh hh!

 

Gigi is eighteen years old. Her sister Pork Chop is seventeen. These off-breed Chihuahuas are the typical retired, older-seniors, with all the morning aches and ailments. Instead of the usual 6:00 a.m. backyard bathroom, Gigi pretends to be asleep and waits until we leave for work. She then finds her favorite corner of the living-room carpet to do her business. I think she is trying to tell us; she’s too old to go outside. (especially during those cold-winter days.)

The issue now is, whoever gets home first is greeted by the offensive odor, and therefore, must do the clean-up. I have learned after several tours of duty to remain later than usual on my job-site. (I’m self-employed). Teresa is a state employee and is usually home by 5:00 p.m. So, with “Bounty” in her right hand, the kitchen garbage container in her left—she bows to her knees, applying the quicker-thicker-picker-upper to the obnoxious, excreted mixture on the floor and walls. How does that slimy, brownish, green stuff get on the walls? We have no idea.

Pork-Chop is legally blind and also needs hearing aid. She’s an introvert, who prefers the comfort of a secret hideout behind the couch. She also has severe gas problems. You cannot be in the room for more than two minutes without getting a whiff of her presence. Yeh–she stinks.

Honey, is a 7-year-old Cocker Spaniel. A run-you-over, over-active female with a personality that’s almost human. Whenever she gets ready to play, you can either take the ball from her mouth or pick it up off the floor. But, she’ll wait about two minutes for you to decide, before dropping it–as if to say, “since you didn’t take it from me, you can pick it up yourself–but, we will play ball.”.

In their frustration–being left outside for more than thirty minutes, they’ll wander off into the neighborhood. A recent call from a not-so-friendly neighbor, turned out to be a thirty-minutes lecture on the proper care of animals. On and on she painted several scenarios of what could have happened; repeating the words–“you people” at every pause. Listening to her snobbish criticisms, you would think the dogs purposely came over to her house to complain.

This triple canine package is what I subscribed to, on marrying the woman I so dearly love. But, as the saga unfolds, the dogging evidence proves, that marriage is one thing, but with dogs–it’s O M G!

Why should she be rubbing their tummy, scratching their heads or hugging them when that kind of affection works better on me? I’ve often suggested that she makes better use of her time, especially after I’ve had a hard days’ work.

Whenever we sit together watching TV, Pork Chop sits on her right, Gigi on her left and Honey on her lap, leaving me to sit alone while they enjoy the comfort of her touch. Whenever I do get a chance to sit next to her, they will step across my lap to get to her. I’m an extremely patient man, and I love my wife, but this has got to stop.

An occasional feeding, the constant opening of the door day and night, I’m learning to deal with, but sharing my wife with dogs—this is my greatest challenge yet.

Why am I putting up with all this dog-gone drama? Has our marriage gone to the dogs? Why does a simple hug have to be always, so carefully negotiated, lest we step on the dogs? The recurring answer is–I love my wife, and yes–she loves’ me dearly.

“Love endures all things.”

I’m certainly learning patience, meekness and forgiveness, and most of all–to love–as Christ loves the church and gave himself for it. (Ephesians 5:25,KJV).

In conclusion, My daily prayer is–Lord, whenever you visit our house–“Be-Ware of The Dogs.”