Although I thoroughly enjoy my life and the privileges that come with age, I sometimes miss the optimism of youth.
Like most young people, I had great plans for my future. I was convinced that as soon I was on my own, I was going to do all those things my parents either never allowed or never considered important.
Growing up, we always had dogs, but they had limited rights and never had full run of the house.
I wanted more for my dogs.
What I never considered was how the needs of human children might fit into the equation, which is why I had a near panic attack a few months before my son Shepherd was born.
A co-worker, who was also pregnant, announced that she and her husband were giving away their Dalmatian before their baby arrived.
“Dogs and babies just don’t mix,” she said.
I went home that night and told my husband that we couldn’t keep our baby.
He didn’t seem too concerned about my proclamation. Instead he just asked why.
“Because apparently dogs and babies don’t mix,” I said. “And I’m not getting rid of Gabby and Gusty.”
“Why don’t we see if there actually a problem before we start worrying about a solution,” he said rationally.
There was no issue.
We brought our son home, the dogs sniffed him and accepted him into the pack.
And more importantly, my son, and later my daughter, accepted and loved Gabby, Gusty and all of our pets since.
But after torn curtains, worn-out carpet and damaged furniture, I’ve come to appreciate why my parents gave their human children more privileges than their canine ones.
I’ve also come to understand that no matter what the circumstances, children will always think they have a better plan than their parents did.
For example, we now have a large German Shepherd named Rodney who is a giant klutz. The other day he was racing around the basement chasing tennis balls and banging into doors, walls and furniture.
My son, who was sitting at his computer, looked up and said, “Can’t you limit where that dog goes? There’s no safe place in this house. When I get a dog, it’s not going to be allowed to go wherever it wants.”
We shall see.