Unfit Father

Published on September 20th, 2017 | by Richard Black


We Got a Puppy and She Got Us

So we got a puppy…or she got us. I’m not sure which is the best way to phrase the sentiment because both seem to be appropriate. On one hand Tinkles is a giant pain in the ass and on the other we’re probably not all that great either.

Having a puppy is a lot like having a toddler who doesn’t wear a diaper and likes to bite…and whines a lot. Now that I’m thinking about it having a puppy is almost exactly like having a toddler that you can put into a crate which brings me to my first problem.

Our puppy Tinkles still doesn’t care for her crate which, for the record, is pretty well appointed. In addition to some old towels, a few chew toys I’ve also included two or three copies of Southern Living which I thought she’d enjoy. Unfortunately Tinkles doesn’t agree with my taste when it comes to interior design and howls like we’re tearing out her teeth with a set of pliers which, for the record, I’ve never seriously considered.

Tinkles is great…really…great…and when she’s not chewing up our furniture or, occasionally, our daughter she’s usually pooping or taking a leak on something. The upshot is that Tinkles requires constant attention which again is really, really great for a man who barely capable of watching a thirty second commercial without having his mind wander.

A few days ago Tinkles lived up to her name. She’s left my field of vision for a split second and took a leak down our AC return vent. I can’t be certain but I’m pretty sure she looked at Laura as she did it. The upshot is that I’ve got some work to do and a house that’s going to smell like dog piss every time the AC kicks on.

Tinkles has also given me a chance to change my sleeping patterns which is also pretty fantastic. Fortunately I’ve never slept well anyway and letting our dog tool around the yard every three hours, day or night, really gives me a chance to not catch up on all the sleep I haven’t been getting since I became a father.

It’s not easy taking care of Tinkles. Then again it’s probably not easy being Tinkles or really any dog who comes into the Black household either. The fact is that my family doesn’t have a great record when it comes to dogs. The only other one we’ve had died which is, I suppose, the best that can be hoped for.

My old dog Iggy was about six or seven when I met my wife Laura and the two of us tended to him for another seven years before he went to that great big farm in the sky. We’d only had our daughter for about six months when Iggy checked out and by then I knew it was only a matter of time. The day we brought Darcy home from the hospital Iggy made it pretty clear that he was not a fan. He didn’t growl or bark at our daughter but he made it fairly clear that he didn’t want to have much to do with her either.

Despite his distaste of our daughter Darcy the old guy still managed to haul himself up the stairs every night when we put her to bed to keep watch on our little girl. Again he wasn’t pleased about the task. Iggy did not gaze at Darcy adoringly or attempt to kiss her feet or do any of the other cutesy little things magazines and TV would have you believe about dogs and infants. Instead he would circle a few times on the floor by her crib and then settle down with a distinct and irritated huff before glaring at me whenever I came into the room.

About four months into family life Iggy decided to call it quits. I like to think it was a conscious decision on his part. He could have taken the coward’s way out and run off but he was a good dog and wanted to stick by the family that had betrayed him, die and then force us to remember that we had contributed to his early death.

Man I miss the old guy. Where Iggy was subdued and didn’t much care for people Tinkles adores human company and appears to be a mixed with a breed of dog that did a lot of crystal meth. To date I’ve only seen her sleep a few times and I was so startled when I found her passed out on the kitchen floor that I had to give her a poke to be certain she was still alive.

Of course Tinkles was still with us. If she wasn’t this would be a very different piece. The second I gave her a little nudge she popped up like a jack in the box before racing off to chew up on of our dining room chairs and then pissing on our bathroom shower mat which I suppose was better than the AC return vent.

I suppose right now that’s the best I can hope for.

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