When it comes to our dog, sometimes I feel like I’m raising a child. She’s needy. She always wants to eat what I’m having to eat rather than what she does. Sometimes she just stares at me and I have no idea what to do. And sometimes she’s really frustrating. Like today, for example. She’s still getting used to her new home situation, and now rather than having a huge grass backyard she can roam around in and pee and poop all over the place, she has to wait until we take her out to go.
And unfortunately, that generally has to fit our timetable, not hers. So this morning, I didn’t have to work until 11. It takes me 20ish minutes to get to work, so I took her out to go to the bathroom around 10:25, thinking it shouldn’t take that long. But as soon as we got out, she saw a cat. And FREAKED out. It took me a while to get her calmed down and I took her to the spot where she has been peeing the past couple of days (she hadn’t pooped since Saturday). As soon as we got there, a neighbor came out and started his car to get it warmed up. So instead of doing what she’s supposed to do, Paisley just stares at him as if he’s the most interesting thing she has ever seen.
I tried to snap her out of it, but she stayed on point. The only thing that got her to look away was when she heard some birds picking at someone’s garbage. And that set her off again. She tried to lunge at them and almost ripped the leash out of my hand. By this time, it was already 10:35 and time was ticking. After another 5 minutes of trying to settle her down and get her to go, I gave up and marched her right back down the hill to the house. I took the treat out of my pocket (we’re giving her a treat immediately after she goes so she’ll learn that’s what we do when we go outside) and set it on the counter with her leash.
But even though I was furious with her, for some reason she was following me around excitedly. When I turned around, she looked back and forth between my hands. It took me a second to realize that she wanted a treat.
“No, Paisley!” I said sternly. “You do your doody and then you get a treat! No doody, no treat.”
And then it dawned on me. Holy crap, she’s just like the rest of us.
When I was younger, I was a referee for little league basketball. When the season was over, every kid got a trophy that said Participant. Even I got a trophy, and I didn’t even play. When I was in college, I met other college students who did nothing but play. They didn’t do their school work and they didn’t have jobs. Who was funding it? Mommy and daddy, of course. I even saw a picture on some teenager’s Facebook profile that went something like, “I want a million dollars, but I don’t want to work. I want to be smart, but I don’t want to go to school. I want to have everything, but I don’t want to do anything.” I should have saved it. It’s classic.
What’s sad is that there really are people out there who think the same way as my 50 lb. Lab Rottie who eats horse poop, thinks that balloons are terrifying, and licks the floor until it feels like she peed there. Seriously, people. No doody, no treat. Don’t expect to get a raise or a promotion if you’ve done nothing to earn it. Don’t expect to be smart if you play video games all day. Don’t expect recruiters to be falling all over you just because you have a college degree and your mommy tells you you’re special. And don’t expect to be rich one day if you waste all your time and money on wasteful pursuits.
Today, our dog gave me a good lesson on expectations, that some are earned and some unearned. And to give Paisley some credit, when I took her out after work tonight, she ran right to her spot and did her thing, after which she got her treat. She’s a quick learner. Now I just hope the rest of us can be.
And speaking of dogs, here is Baxter, one of my in-laws’ dogs, doing his best Martha Washington impersonation. Just for kicks. The resemblance is striking, isn’t it?