Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Canine vs. Teen

Today is Son Number One’s thirteenth birthday, and the new Lab puppy is officially five and a half months old. It’s tough to say which one of them smells worse.

You might not think it, but besides their general malodorousness, there are a lot of other striking similarities between a teenage boy and a half-grown dog. Let’s stack them up against each other and see which one you’d rather have in your house, shall we?

Obstinance is a key similarity. Both are testing their personal authoritative boundaries by pretending not to hear my voice. This rarely ends well for either of them. This is a draw.

Urine continues to be an issue. For the dog, she has mostly stopped peeing in the house, with only an occasional excitement dribble now and then. For Son Number One, toilet spray issues have not improved for the last eleven years. Advantage dog.

Constant noise – For the dog, it’s barking. Thankfully, not at night {sound of me furiously knocking on my wooden desktop}, but many times during the day, both inside and outside. For the boy, it seems to be a lot of excess energy escaping his body via his mouth, like a boiler’s pressure relief valve. He emits a near-constant stream of random noises in the form of yelling nothing in particular at the top of his lungs, incoherent screaming, singing, clicking, popping, smacking, yelling at his brothers, and occasionally, being dumb enough to yell at us. We have purchased an anti-bark training collar for the dog that vibrates and beeps at her when she barks. It seems to be working. So far, I have not been able to find any such (legal) device for the boy. Advantage dog.

Eating food as fast as I can prepare it – The dog eats like an industrial suction truck, but at least I can buy a thirty-two-pound bag of her food for under thirty bucks. The boy is an avowed carnivore, just like the dog, but he eats more than she does, and his food seems to always cost way more than a dollar per pound. Advantage dog.

Rambunctiousness – Both animals have a ton of excess energy, but I can usually pair them up with each other or one of the other boys to burn it off. Draw.

Chewing up shoes – The dog will maul any unsupervised footwear she can find, sometimes even while it’s on a foot. The boy chews up shoes almost as quickly through scooter riding and general outdoor play, but he’s growing so fast, it tends to be a moot point. The only real issue with his shoe abuse is that Son Number Two gets fairly shredded hand-me-downs. (We help assuage Number Two’s concerns about this by reminding him that life isn’t fair, and to shut up.) Advantage boy.

Dog breath – they both seem to have it, but only one should. Advantage dog.

Messing up the house – They both come tearing in the house leaving a trail of muddy footprints behind them almost every day, so this aspect is a draw. They also both spread clothes and toys all over the house like it’s their job, but occasionally, under the right circumstances – usually involving threats upon his life – I can get Son Number One to pick up after himself. Slight advantage boy.

As we can clearly see from this list, it is far more enjoyable to raise a puppy than a boy. Simply getting another dog based on this evidence doesn’t make any sense, though. It would need to be a trade, ideally with a full-grown and matured dog that’s well-behaved, for my teenager. But besides the fact that no rational person would consider that a fair trade, it’s also probably illegal, so don’t even think for a second that I was seriously considering it. (Unless you know someone who could broker the deal.)

Happy birthday, Son Number One. You get to keep living here, for the time being. Now go share your dinner with the dog.

See you soon,


Copyright © 2017 Marc Schmatjen

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