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Boys Will Be Boys (continued)

And speaking of dogs, this one guy I know (who has a decent job, family, mortgage payment, a couple cars, plus a few suits hanging in the closet) has such an affection for the species, he can hardly drive by the S.P.C.A. without stopping to look.

"Sorry, Honey," he told me once.

(Oops. Okay, I confess. It's the dog-loving little boy in grown-up clothes I've been married to for the past thirty years.)

"Sorry, but the steering wheel just turned, and the car pulled right into the parking lot, and... and... what else could I do, but... get out and look at those poor, homeless dogs?"

(Yeah, right. That's what Aaron said to Moses about the golden calf. "It wasn't my fault. The people brought me all their jewelry, and this cow just popped up out of the fire.")

"Sweetheart," I say, not too sweetly. "You can't keep doing that. Okay? We don't need another dog. It's like me stopping at Penney's--just to look."

He nods and grins.

Then for awhile, he had his own weird ritual. Every morning, before he left for work, this is what took place at our house:

Our puppy would be standing outside by the door, waiting to be let in. But, when we opened the door to pick her up, she'd run away back into the yard. (She's not house-broken yet, so her "free" time inside is limited. And just because she's spent the last fifteen minutes outside, supposedly to do her duty, that doesn't mean a thing. Most likely, and I know this, because I've watched her, she spent the entire time playing, chewing, chasing flies and rolling in the grass. Then when she gets inside, she remembers she has to go potty. Nobody likes what happens after that, and somehow, almost instantly, everyone else disappears, and guess who gets to clean it up.)

So, I came up with a simple plan. Nothing ingenious. Just took a little common sense.

Whenever it's time for her to come in, I go to the kitchen first, grab a treat, and bring it to the door. Then I open the door, and call her to come in. I bend down and hold out my hand so she can see the treat. Then she comes running. She eats the treat. I pick her up. Presto. Mission accomplished.

No fuss. No mess.

Simple, right?

But what does my husband do? He opens the door and steps out of the way. All of a sudden the puppy's tearing through the house, darting everywhere, with this look of "I'm free! I'm free! Catch me if you can!"

While I'm running around--"Man your battle stations!"--Closing doors, grabbing pillows and shoes and flip-flops and magazines and anything else the other barbarians in the house have left lying around, so she doesn't grab something and chew it up.

It's the sensible thing to do. Remember, she's not house-broken, and will squat wherever and whenever she wants, and without any advance warning. (I know. I must be the weird one--not wanting my house to smell like dog doo-doo.)

And what's the alpha male of the household doing while this is all going on? He's standing there, laughing. Just standing. And laughing.

It takes three of us to catch her. She's so "freaking fast"--my son's words.

And my husband's having the time of his life.

He's a grown man--fifty years old. But when it comes to dogs, he still acts like a kid. Honestly, it's embarrassing. But that's what all the boys do around here. They let the puppy in. Say, "Uh-Oh!" And then stand there laughing.

When we finally do catch her, she's handed to me, as the rest of the family heads out the door.

So, I go to her crate to put her in.

But our cute, adorable little pug has her own ritual. Instead of heading inside her warm, cozy crate, she leans back and sits. Then she looks up, and starts licking my chin, as if to say, "I'm sorry, Mommy. Really I am. Please, don't make me go in there. Please? I can't help that I'm a dog."

Sort of like my husband, when he's threatened with the dog house. He puts his arms around me, starts hugging, and kissing, and saying things like, "It's really not a big deal. It'll be okay--really. You'll see. And, I'm sorry. I can't help it I'm a male."

I know what some of you are thinking: "Woman, you are way to serious. You need to crack a smile and lighten up." I know. Because I've heard it all before.

You wanna know what I think?

On second thought, never mind. My Victorian sensibilities won't allow me to talk like that.

Actually, Men, it's great to have a sense of humor. But, really, could you guys, like, just maybe, grow up, a little? Please? Pretty please? With an ice cream sundae, and a nice, juice-y dog treat on top?