Ranked in the 30s on Amazon.com, the book "All Joy and No Fun" by Jennifer Senior puts a harsh light on parenthood. The joke going around is that it might be considered a treatise on behalf of birth control. And the punch line to that could be: So, go get a dog. But not so fast.
Being a parent is a tough role for any relatively self-absorbed adult, even if the creature dependent on us is a four-footer. In a sense it might be harder than rearing a human because the dog never grows up. The capacity for maturation is limited.
Yet, like human children, our canine children push the boundaries for more. No matter how long I walk Lee K., who I adopted several months ago, he wants to keep going. No matter how long are the rides in the car he loves he wants yet another. To get what he wants he will stop eating, knowing that gets mommy (who's Italian and food-centric) very concerned.
And, just as snow days throw working parents of humans into a tizzy, we pet parents went into total angst this snowy, cold January and February. The pooches had no where to do their business. In sub-zero degrees we walked and walked them again and again. Soon enough they too were frazzled.
Also their misbehavior reflects on us. Unhinged by the inclement weather, Lee K. nipped someone. The person was gracious and didn't sue. But shame traveled deep within me. How could Lee K. do this to me?
There is also the financial cost of parenthood. No, Lee K. will not be going to college and I have to foot the bill. But he grew up on gourmet dog food which is not cheap. Pet sitters, even in this blue-collar neighborhood, charge from $10 to $20 a walk and a king's ransom for overnight stays when I travel on business. There was also his costume for Halloween parties.
Yes, Lee K. brings me great joy. But the fun hasn't started yet. Maybe it will when spring comes. We can run together by the ocean in Westerly, Rhode Island, bunk the night at a Motel 6 which allows four-footers and eat junk food.