Sunday, December 6, 2015

Chocolate-Covered Raisins

Pets are family

I am fairly new to this whole "pets are family" business. I mean, I've always believed in the idea of it. I've always claimed that my pets are family. But it wasn't until recently that I realized that some people mean this more literally than others.

When my husband and I first started dating he procured a doggie for us to love. And then I learned how difficult it can be to actually train an already full-grown animal. Because despite the fact that I had owned more animals in my eighteen years than most people do in a lifetime, I had never actually taken responsibility for training one.

Differing Opinions

Here's a paraphrased conversation we had about it at the time. (It should be noted that during this time I was technically living with my grandparents. My dad had been very clear that he didn't want me moving in with my boyfriend the day after graduating from high school. Which meant that all my rarely used possessions were at my grandparent's house, all my regularly used possessions were at Stephen's apartment, and I kept the everyday essentials in my car.)

Me: Oh my god. This sofa smells like urine.
Stephen: (sighing) Angel peed on it again. I already cleaned it but the smell doesn't go away. I'm probably going to have to gate her in the kitchen tomorrow when I go to work.
Me: Why don't you just, like, permanently leave her in there? She's clearly incapable of learning to pee outside.
Stephen: ....That doesn't seem very fair to the dog. She's getting there. That's the first accident she's had in a week.
Me: It doesn't seem very fair to me when I'm over here trying to seduce you and your couch smells like dog piss.
Stephen: Well, this isn't your house. It's Angel's. And you're trying to get her locked in a tiny kitchen indefinitely.
Me: I don't really see the problem here. She's a dog.
Stephen: Yeah, well, dogs are family.
Me: (laughter) ... Wait... you're serious right now?

Today, almost eight years later, people often assume that Angel was originally my dog. Because I am head-over-heels in love with my dog. Then I have to admit to them that, no, Angel was originally adopted by Stephen. He painstakingly trained every bad habit out of her after years of neglect from previous owners. And now she is my perfect puppy. She has her run of the house every day. She is better potty-trained than some of our friends after they've had too much to drink. She is a big part of our little family.

Angel is not sure how balls work.

So although I have my fair share of... questionable... pet stories, I like to think that I am a reformed pet owner. If anyone questions my love of my dog, they need only to look around our house. Where Angel has three beds in various locations throughout the house and a small shrine dedicated to her on our mantle. (Is it that obvious we don't have kids?) This shrine includes a small quilt of Angel's face, made by my mother-in-law.

You can see the original photo of Angel here.
(insert shameless plug for my MIL's business)

The Incident

We're lucky people and Angel is a lucky dog. She was especially lucky to be family on one occasion in particular. It was after a midnight showing of one of the Twilight movies (Eclipse, I think?) and someone-who-will-remain-nameless left an unfinished box of Raisinettes in our bathroom trash can. (Hint: it was one of my sisters but I have so many that I still feel like I'm protecting the guilty.)

As you might have already guessed, Angel found the box and ate the chocolate-covered raisins. Being the wonderful pet owner that I now am, I caught her in the act and was able to recover the box with about twenty chocolate-covered raisins remaining. I immediately texted the sister in question (Still could be the little one, y'all. She has a cell phone!) and asked her how many raisins had been left in the box. She said maybe seven. And since I had about twenty, I knew she was not a reliable source and that I had to get this dog to the vet.

At the time I was concerned about her chocolate intake, but the vet told me that he wasn't that concerned about Angel ingesting a small amount of milk chocolate (Hooray!). However, she was getting her stomach pumped anyway because apparently any amount of raisin is, like, instant kidney failure for some dogs (Boo!).

And that's how I came to spend a small fortune on our dog for the first time. For three to four years following this incident I managed to spend more money on my middle-aged dog's medical bills than on my own. When I asked my husband for feedback on the amount of money I was spending on things that probably wouldn't kill our dog he said, "Yeah. That's a lot of money. But this is our dog."

Yes. Right. She's a member of the family, after all.

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