The one where I raise a puppy

I’m never having children. This is not a new thought for me. I’ve long accepted that I will make a far better uncle than father, and I’m more than okay with that. When I imagine having kids it tends to play out like a twisted episode of “Two and a Half Men,” where Charlie Sheen is the actual father.

It’s horrifying.

Besides, if I had kids I would inevitably develop a nasty habit of forgetting them in various places.

But if I thought that I was clear on the potential disaster of kids before; getting a puppy has made it abundantly clear that the idea of me having children should be considered a war crime under the Geneva Convention.

To give some context here, I’m living at home over the summer, and after years of child-Evan’s insistent pleas for a dog, my parents have finally decided to get a puppy. Unfortunately my years of canine deficiency have left me without a functional knowledge of puppies.

For example, I wasn’t aware that puppies don’t come pre-equipped with an innate knowledge of the human language? This presented a problem as I politely asked the pup to kindly step outside instead of watering my Converse.

Additionally puppies don’t appear to like leashes, which is odd, considering that the majority of dogs I’ve seen seem to have no issue with them. I can only assume that the puppy will spontaneously evolve the ability to walk on a leash and poop on things that don’t belong to me.

With his apparent language deficiency, the pup also refuses to respond to any name I’ve tried to give him. As a result, his name is subject to change on a bi-daily basis and ranges from the normal (Tiberius) to the awesome (Leonidas, Conqueror of Men). While the constant name changing is certainly a fun party trick, it seems to be less than fantastic when I’m trying to get Leonidas to release his death bite on my toes and he fails to respond.

It has also come to my attention that dog owners might as well save themselves the disappointment of stained floors  and install yellow carpet before the arrival of their canine compatriots. Not only was I not warned about this in advance, but my puppy seems to be missing his factory packaged instruction manual entirely. It’s a small miracle that I’ve managed to figure out how to feed and water him thus far without a detailed blueprint.

Finally, my particular puppy seems to suffer from a mix of compulsive behavior and anxiety, which inevitably involved organizing his toys into a specific order and trembling in fear at the sight of any sort of broom. As if I wasn’t already in over my head, now I’m expected to have a degree in irrational pet psychology — which, given the current job market, is probably as safe a bet as any.

So if raising a puppy includes teaching them words, remembering to feed them and consistently calling it by the same name, then imagine how much harder it would be to raise a mini-me. It would be like having a hairless dog that slowly learns to talk and refuses to be put on a leash. Just the thought of it is enough to make me shift uncomfortably in my seat.

I’m more than content to play the Charlie Sheen uncle to someone else’s kids. Anyone else’s kids really, as long as when the fun stops I can go back home without taking them with me. Besides, my brother isn’t going to mind if I occasionally screw up and feed his future kids a dog treat or two. He’s used to it. I’d imagine he’ll have done it a few times by then, as well.

This appears to be the limit to my care-taking ability; anything more than a four-legged slobber machine seems to be beyond the scope of my abilities. Though honestly this realization is a blessing in disguise; because I’m running out of things that haven’t been chewed to death.

So enjoy the next couple weeks of summer, because I’ll be spending it throwing hundreds of tennis balls in a desperate attempt to protect my shoes, toes and carpet. Week two of training begins now.



Written by Evan Dodd