Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I'm Not Sure You're Ready for A Dog...

Everyone who's ever done adoption counseling has heard it, but my friend Val finally had the courage to say what we've all wanted to say.

Potential adopter: "We're just starting to look at dogs, and we're hoping to find a dog that doesn't shed, doesn't need to be exercised and is already housebroken." (True story, but you can also insert "is good with kids, is good with cats, can go to the dog park, is already trained, is small, is big, etc.)
Val: "I don't think we have the right dog for you, but maybe you should check out one of those Sony Robot Dogs."

Val is my new hero. At my first shelter, about 6 years ago, T and I used to joke that we needed to have a rack of stuffed animals by the front door for people who had unrealistic expectations of their potential dog. Not just a shelter dog, but any dog. Really, we were ALWAYS going to be out of the small, hypo-allergenic dog who was good with infants, big dogs, small dogs, hamsters, and could fetch keys and beer, and would never EVER pee on the furniture. And animal shelters are slightly different than Nordstrom's- we can't just order up Yorkie-woodles puppies who meet your criteria on demand.

I do not have Val's cajones, so instead of being snarky with potential adopters, I'm just going to list some alternatives to the non-existent perfect (shelter) dog:

Tamagotchi (you might have to go to E-Bay for this one, so you can practice the perseverance and expense of a real animal.)

If you just want the dog so that you'll lose weight- i.e. you're getting the dog because dogs need walks and of course you'll change your lifestyle the second you get a dog, I highly recommend one of those dogless leashes. You can walk that thing as many times a day as you want.

If you feel the need to both nurture something and to pet it, there are Chia Pets. The name says it all- they're "pets," and they grow (chia means grow in some language, right?) I'm pretty sure this is a ChiaDog, and that it's soft. Nuture it, then stroke it gently, like a hypo-allergenic dog that never needs to be walked.

There are also some more simple options: a goldfish (beware: daily feeding required), one of those 365 day calenders with a picture of a dog on each page (these do leave a mess- each page you tear off leaves a bit of clutter behind), or a small child. At least children grow up, and most people aren't allergic to children. Eventually they get potty trained. Most of them.


Meera said...

You crack me up! The Chai dog does seem like an excellent fit at first, but I worry it might shed if you forget to water it.

KHB said...

are you one of the people allergic to children?
robyn promised me a doko that was hypo-allergenic, crate trained, dumb as rock, lazy, and would help me lose weight. guess i should at least expect the weight bit to fall through :)