Dogs are like training wheels. Having them gives you a glimpse as to what it's like caring for something, other than yourself, 24/7. You have to feed them, walk them, make sure they are healthy and well-behaved, and make sure they learn not to poop in your shoes. I don't really have to teach them how to read or ride a bike or have moral obligations to the world (other than not biting bulldogs heads) so they are not exactly like having kids.
Hence the training wheels.
Not only does it give you an idea as to what it will be like having kids, it gives you a glimpse of what sort of parent one will be.
I forced these dogs on the Engineer. I clearly remember us sitting at sushi with my friend A and having her list all the pros and cons of having Mr. Mop. She was trying to convince me to give him to someone so that we only had one dog. The Engineer also thought this was a good idea. I can safely say all three of us are now happy I did not follow her advice (four if you include Mr. Mop!).
Anyways, these dogs were forced on his lifestyle. But a year and a bit later, I know he has formed feelings for these fuzzy muffins. Just last night as I read on our bed, I saw him sitting watching the game with Brooklyn cuddled up on his lap getting a tummy rub.
It has also meant that he has started to co-parent with me.
I have seen our future.
The Engineer will definitely be taking the role as disciplinarian. He is the one who consistently scolds the dogs and keeps rules rigid. Dogs on the bed? NEVER. They get a firm 'off' (or now he just has to say their name) and they will jump off.
I am sure you wonder why they keep jumping on the bed if he keeps the rule rigid? That would be my fault.
I am the sucker. I am the one who laughs when Mr. Mop jumps on the bed yet again and calls it 'determination'. I love Mr. Mop's 'determination'. When he is forced to stay in the backseat but is so determined to be in the front that he wiggles out of his seatbelt and jumps through between the headrest and door of the passenger side. Determination. Or when he jumps over the hump from the hatchback and because he is attached to a ring via his harness, the poor dog simply hangs over the seat. The Engineer tells him to get back, I laugh at his determination.
When I am a mother of human babies, I will be forever undermining what we've 'taught' them.
Mr. Mop had a scolding just yesterday for something. I forget what now. Anyways, he looked so sad at the Engineer that I scooped him up and gave him a cuddle. The Engineer told me that now he'll think that if he wants me to cuddle him all he has to do is something bad.
I cut around his eyes the other day leaving them a bit crooked and long on the side, so it makes him look like he has 'worried' eyes all the time. Worried, sad eyes. Who wouldn't be a sucker for that? Oh right, the Engineer.
We worry for the day our toddler paints the walls with finger paint or our teenager steals our car. The Engineer will give them their punishment and I will sneak into their room later with cookies.
So that's it folks: if you are curious as to what sort of parent you and your partner will be, go get a dog.