As longtime readers of the site know, for most of my life I’ve been a member of that awkward subset of dudes: the male cat owner. Sure, people give you grief if you’re a dude who just has a cat, but my family always had cats when I was growing up so having them is in my comfort zone. Moreover, cats are also super easy pets to care for. Other than feeding them and changing their litter box every other week or so, there’s not a lot of maintenance required. Cats are tremendous lazy people pets.
That said, the desire to own a dog for the first time had been growing on me for a few years. I had been holding off for a while because I thought having to share my apartment with a dog would be unfair to my cat. That thinking held for a while, but as always, my impulses won out. Eventually I decided I didn’t want to have to wait another six years or so for my cat to die before I could get a dog. I WANT IT NOWWWWW! So, a month ago I dropped into the shelter up the street and adopted a five-month old Plott hound/boxer mix that I named Ava.
Right away, I showed all the signs of an idiot first-time dog owner. For example, I kept changing my mind about whether I wanted to crate train her before deciding that I thought crates seemed cruel. “I can’t keep her in a cage! That’s mean!” Besides, I figured, I work from home. I’ll totally be around to take her out. The first day home, she shat on my floor three times. The next day, I bought her a crate. Thank God for crates. My carpet would be a thick stew of doggy shit/piss sludge right now if it weren’t for that crate.
The biggest transition between cat and dog ownership, other than the fact that, unlike the cat, the dog actually wants to be around me more than 10 minutes out of the day is that dogs are fucking gross. Especially puppies. Ava constantly tries to eat other dog’s shit, other dog’s vomit, her own shit, bird shit, the cat’s shit, the cat’s hairballs. If she had her way, Ava’s diet would consist of other creature’s waste and grass clippings.
I overlook it because that’s what you sign on for with a dog, and she’s a sweet girl and she’s learning quick. In fact, the biggest problem I have with Ava is that she hates riding in the car. I’m not sure yet whether it’s motion sickness or just anxiety. She hasn’t thrown up yet in the car but she drools like 20 gallons of saliva if she’s riding for even five minutes. If I take her down the street, my entire back seat and doors are drenched in doggy drool. I tend to think it’s just anxiety because she’ll start drooling even before I start the car.
One time, I was driving with my girlfriend with Ava in the car. My girlfriend suggested that I roll down the windows to give the dog some fresh air. Being a super credulous first-time dog owner, I was immediately sold. AIR! YES, OF COURSE! THAT’S THE TICKET! THAT’LL SOLVE EVERYTHING! So I cracked the windows some. No effect. Just as much drool. Clearly what she needed was more air! AIR AIR AIR! NATURE’S CURE-ALL FOR WHAT AILS YA! So I rolled down the windows the rest of the way.
I’ve kept this practice since and of course it hasn’t changed anything. Ava still drools more than her body weight in saliva. But I have no other answers so I stick with it, because I’m suggestible like that.
This past Sunday, I took Ava to a big fancy dog park that’s much nicer than the one they have at my apartment complex. It has a doggy water fountain and everything. Unfortunately, this requires driving. It’s a hassle and she hates it, but I figure the more I drive with the dog, the more acclimated with the car she’ll get. Perhaps the drooling with phase out with time.
On the way back from the park, I’m driving with the windows all the way down. It’s a nice day and I’m saying reassuring things in a soft tone to the dog while I’m driving because I know she doesn’t like the car. I’m approaching a stop sign on a residential road when I gaze at my rear view just in time to see my dog JUMPING OUT OF THE FUCKING WINDOW. I scream “OH SHIT!” and jam on my brakes. I even heard the thud of her hitting the pavement from inside my car. I instantly think the dog is dead or horribly injured. Within milliseconds, I can envision being branded a negligent dog owner for allowing my puppy to die within a month of adopting her. I imagine friends shunning me and calling me a monster.
But when I get out of the car, she’s laying in the middle of the road, clearly shaken up but somehow otherwise unharmed. Luckily I was only doing 25-30 mph at the time or she definitely would have been hurt seriously. Were there witnesses to this incident? Of course there were. A couple teenager onlookers shout “IS THAT DOG DEAD!?” and “DID HE THROW THAT DOG OUT OF THE CAR?!” I ignore them, race over to the dog, give her a cursory check for broken bones, pick her up, deposit her back in the back seat then peel the fuck out.
Naturally, this is every bit my fault for leaving the window all the way down for a puppy who hates driving in the car. In my defense, I never thought she would jump out of a moving car. So I choose to blame Ava. Because I’m a horrible dog owner. FUCK YOU, PUPPY! THIS IS WHAT I GET FOR TURNING MY BACK ON TEAM CAT!