Friday, June 29, 2012 at 6:50 AM
I get just as irritated with dog owners who expect me to pet their overly friendly dogs as I do with mothers who expect me to coo at their plainly ugly babies. This is not to say, however, that my dislike of babies is just as great as my dislike of dogs; but it’s close.
Imagine my irritation, therefore, when I found myself in the home of a friend recently who has a little dog and a little baby. I neither petted nor cooed. Instead, I was constrained to pose what I thought was a basic question about doggie hygiene. Unfortunately, this turned out to be a social faux pas.
You see, the dog and baby were both suffering chronic diarrhea, which meant that we spent more time talking about the scatology of dogs and babies than about anything of interest to me. Incidentally, what is it about an erstwhile intelligent woman with impeccable social graces that, after having a baby, she suddenly thinks the only thing anybody wants to talk about is the joy and frustration she’s experiencing raising it?
Anyway, in uncanny synchronicity, every time my friend had to change the baby’s diaper, her husband had to walk the dog – pooper scooper in hand. But the juxtaposition of the fastidious way she wiped the baby’s bottom with the cavalier way he didn’t wipe the dog’s ass (on the one occasion I accompanied them on their walk) prompted me to ask this question when we returned:
What is it about dog shit that causes a dog owner to see no need to wipe his dog’s ass for the same reasons a mother wipes her baby’s bottoms?
Mind you, this was just my way of attempting to show some interest in what was turning out to be our only topic of conversation. I had in mind how fond dog owners are of saying that they treat their dogs just like their babies. But I probably would have held my tongue if the dog did not run, tail wagging, and plunked his un-wiped ass on the couch beside mother and child as soon as we got back inside.
Mercifully, the awkward silence my question induced, even from the dog and baby, was soon broken when the husband burst into hysterical laughter through which he muttered:
Damn, I never thought about that….
But, as soon as she recovered, my friend changed the subject to something more socially redeeming; alas, it was time for me to go.
So for all of you dog owners out there – to wipe, or not to wipe: that is the question….