Stan's World - Dog Gonnit!

Stanley F. Ehrlich |

When watching movies that star Nicholas Cage or Jack Nicholson, there’s usually a time when the viewer wonders: “Has he lost his mind?” With that cinematic preface, let me share that my ‘lost his mind’ moment apparently occurred a few weeks ago.

This past November, John and Rebecca had to put down their 12-year-old rescue dog, Sadie. If you’ve ever had a family pet, you know that the death of a pet can cause a lot of angst and emotion. It’s even worse when there are young children involved. After Sadie passed, Rebecca and John told their children they would buy a puppy.

Having grown up with golden retrievers in our house, it was no surprise they decided on a golden. They found a breeder in Maine who John’s sister used when purchasing her puppy last year.

Over the past few years, Pearl has often suggested it might be time for us to get another dog. In reply, I usually feign sleep; change the topic to global warming; or race out the door to a fictitious appointment. In other words, at this point in our lives, starting with a new pet is not, at least to me, an attractive option. But then came the pictures…

The pictures were of the litter where Rebecca and John are getting their dog, specifically their English Cream golden. (As the name suggests, English Creams are cream-colored golden retrievers.) They shared the pictures with us and then directed us to the website of the breeder where we could read more about the current and upcoming litters.

In a moment of severe emotional weakness, I placed an order for an English Cream golden from the same litter as the one where Rebecca and John selected their dog. In other words, we’d have two brothers. With a final click, I submitted my credit card information for the non-refundable deposit. The deed was done; we were getting a dog.

I’m an early riser, as in 2-3 am on many days, so I tip-toed downstairs the following morning. I looked around at the furniture, realizing that a puppy would probably ruin every piece in sight. I then grasped he might be awake at 3 am and want to go out. With me. At 3 am. In the dark. Perhaps the cold. Maybe raining. Or snow.

Around 5 am, I tip-toed back upstairs to bed. After I climbed in, I calmly turned to Pearl and quietly said: “What the (expletive) did we do?” It was at that precise moment that I realized I had lost my mind.

To allay my fears, while wiping the sweat off my brow and the tears from my eyes, Pearl told me how good it would be to have a dog. We would take long walks and get more exercise. We would play with him on the floor and get more exercise. We would walk through malls to buy replacement furniture and get more exercise. I would lift the dog crate into the car and get more exercise. There would be unconditional love. Constant companionship. What could go wrong?

What could go wrong? Since that morning, we’ve spent about $3 million on cages, gates, toys, bowls, and books. If we’re lucky, my IRA plan will have enough money to pay for one year of the special food that the breeder strongly recommends we purchase for the dog. I know sultans who can’t afford this food.

Sometime around March 3, we’ll take possession of Scully, or Zyggie, or Hank, or whatever we’re going to name this little guy. I share this story because if you call me anytime after March 3, and I’m yawning while you’re speaking to me, I don’t want you to think I’m rude. In fact, should you see me in ShopRite and I walk by you with a mere nod, I don’t want you to be offended. Take joy in knowing I’m getting companionship. Take pleasure in knowing I’m receiving unconditional love. And be jealous of my enviable exercise routine. 

I feel better after writing this story. As I read it, however, one nagging thought keeps entering my brain, and I can’t seem to shake it. “What the (expletive) did we do?”





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