Christopherson Column: Is this a record for the shortest-held vow?
I said I wouldn't do it. I vowed I wouldn't do it, actually. I told anyone who would listen that I wasn't going to do it. I assured and possibly even promised my wife I wouldn’t do it. I told my super-nice executive editor supervisor in St. Cloud after I did it the first time that I wasn't going to do it again and she said that sounded like a solid plan. After all, I didn't want to become too "predictable," she noted.
But I'm doing it. How could I not? Three weeks and change after we purchased a Siberian Husky puppy, I'm writing my second column related to being a new dog owner. This, after trumpeting repeatedly that this weekly column of mine wasn't going to all of a sudden become some kind of "What Happened in the Past Week with our Dog" drivel. (Hey, wait, that kind of has a nice ring to it...no...NO, Mike! RESIST!)
I'm going to have to modify my initial commitment in order to make it a little easier for me to keep it. If my math is correct, I am on pace in a calendar year to write half, or 26 out of 52 columns, about dogs, or being a dog owner, or our particular dog. My new promise is that I’m not going to do that. You have my word.
Now, onto it:
SOME THINGS SIMPLY MATTER LESS WHEN YOU GET A PUPPY
It's true what they say, that about the only difference between bringing a puppy into your house and a newborn human baby is that the puppy is covered in fur.
I can't help but think back to Tara (Miller) Rodriguez and her husband, Carlos, when they got a puppy a while back and introduced him to their home and their life. Tara was active on social media when it came to updating her friends on how it was all going, and, even though Tara and Carlos don't have kids, they might as well have brought a baby home. I remember reading those posts and thinking to myself, "Man, that dog sounds horrible." But then, in the spirit of the film "Animal House," the miniature, angelic animal lover perched on my shoulder opposite the mini-dog-despiser standing on my other shoulder chimed in with, "For shame! Michael, I'm surprised at you! If you say one more thing about that sweet, helpless puppy, you'll despise yourself forever."
My little angel was onto something. "Well, it can't be all bad," I thought. "Tara's little pup sure looks happy."
"I'm proud of you, Michael," my mini-animal lover said before vanishing in a blink.
A whole stack of things get pushed lower on your priority list when you bring a baby home, so why would it be radically different with a puppy?
As we buried ourselves in every piece of advice offered online by every so-called Siberian Husky expert in the stratosphere, the one thing that stuck with me was the woman who wrote that it's important to bid farewell to your "house proud" ways at least until your husky pup is no longer a frenetic, crazed Tasmanian devil clone and is a bit older and trained to be more obedient and less destructive.
If you aren’t able to release at least some of the tension on your death-grip on some things you previously felt were worth white-knuckling over, having a puppy isn’t going to work, especially a breed like a husky.
The floor in the kitchen and living room is littered with dog toys and chew-things, and empty containers and socks and other things that by definition aren’t dog toys but the pup seems to enjoy the most.
Our Christmas tree, our annual pride and joy, has nary an ornament less than three feet off the ground, and some of our many strings of white lights are sagging and hanging near the floor, the handiwork of a very young animal possessing a mouth filled with mini-razor blades and needles that at this stage of her development operates about three clicks ahead of her brain.
I spent more than usual on a pair of shoes a little white back. Our pup had about 25 seconds uninterrupted with one on the rug by the front door and that was all it took. It’s all scratched up. But I shrugged it off; this column is my first mention of it, in fact.
It’s a new life. There was pre-dog life, with our two cats who are so effortless to care for and who hang around us when they feel like hanging around us, and now there is dog life, with an animal who prances enthusiastically to greet every human who walks into the room and vaults all over the place with unhinged excitement.
“We have a dog...can you believe it yet?” my wife said to me in the pickup last weekend as we returned from a trip to introduce our pup to my wife’s parents. “Say it,” my wife continued. “Say ‘We have a dog.’ I still can’t believe I’m saying it.”
“We have a dog,” I said.
Rolled off the tongue with surprising ease...