The standing joke in my family is that I love the dog most of all. I don't actually think that's true -- at least not all of the time -- but there is certainly something to be said for the dog always being happy to see me and giving me his unconditional love. And so, with much affection and in good humor please, I offer this list of 8 things I tell the dog that I don't say to my husband.
1. Sit. Stay.
My husband, at least during baseball playoffs when the Cubs are no where to be seen (which has been every year of his life, I think) tends to get a little nutso. He's a loving man with many fine qualities, but his devotion to teams that continually lose has taken a toll on him. He paces the floor, walks back and forth between the TV and his food dish (the kitchen) and then gets all excited if I jingle my car keys thinking I'm going somewhere without him before the game is over.
The dog, on the other hand, understands "sit" and "stay." I should probably consider saying "Stay honey and enjoy your game. I am just going to the market and promise to bring you home treats."
2) Who's Mommy's good boy? Who? Who?
Sometimes, I think we don't let our human companions know when their behavior pleases us. Certainly an occasional pat with words of praise is a healthy response that I need to practice more often.
3) It'sssss BATHTIME!
The dog understands what taking a bath means. He knows when he gets stinky to the point of scratching that I won't allow him to come on the bed. There is no similar rule involving husbands that I'm aware of. Enough said.
By the way, my theory is that the dog only pretends to not like baths. After a bath, he runs around the house all crazy dog like, rolls on the carpet doing his core stretches, and then settles down into a deep snoring sleep like no other. Baths relax us, in addition to keeping us smelling nice. Again, enough said.
4 I don't really want to go for a walk with you.
I can say that to the dog and get away with it. But if I told my husband that I don't want to watch the finale to "America's Got Talent" with him, it becomes a thing. Things can be bad.
5) It's time to go night-night.
Because I rise very early in the morning to get to work, I must go to bed early as well. Often, my husband stays downstairs reading or watching TV long after my bedtime. This started about a year ago and I don't like it.
The dog, however, knows what going "night-night" means and happily accompanies me to bed each night. On cold nights, he cuddles his furry little self in real close to my body and yes, I often fall asleep with my arms around him. The dog has even learned how to spoon with me.
Ask any six dozen therapists and I'd bet they'd all tell you that couples who go to bed at the same time are happier. I can't do much about the hours I work but my husband can perhaps agree to come to bed on occasion when I say "It's time to go night-night."
6) Go pee-pee.
When I say this to the dog, we are always outside and generally he's sniffing fire hydrants and not focusing on the true purpose for our visit out there. I know few things that women hate more than men with bad aim, especially when the bathroom has just been cleaned. But the idea of giving a husband direction in this area is just, well, not happening on a broad level.
How hard is it, really, to remember to lift up the toilet seat and focus on the business at hand? I'd point out that there aren't even fire hydrants in there as distractions.
7) Where's your leash?
No, I'm not suggesting that a husband needs to be kept on a leash. I'm suggesting he return things to where they are kept in the house so that everyone knows where to find them next time.
Leashes in our house disappear into the ether, where all the left socks must go. We always walk the dog on a leash. In my Utopia, we would have one leash and it would be kept by the front door. I have no idea why that simple plan can't gain traction. We keep spare leashes in the car, by the back deck, by the front deck and in the foyer that leads to our second floor. Yet at least once a week, I must ask "Where's your leash?" Sometimes, when spoken to my husband, it sounds like "Why is the remote in the laundry?" or "How should I know where you left your wallet?"
8) Who's afraid of the big mean vet?? Not YOU??
Neither my dog nor my husband are particular fans of going to see the doctor. While one can be dragged in on a leash with all four legs stuck in imaginary cement, the other cannot.
In the dog's case, I believe the fear comes from the many smells his advanced olfactory nerves can detect -- fear and death among them. I have no explanation for my husband's avoidance of the greater medical community except for his sincere belief that what he doesn't know won't hurt him. I happen to think otherwise and wish he practiced a little more preventative medicine.