A lot of times, when I tell people that my girlfriend and I have a dog, they respond by saying how it’s such great practice for when we have kids one day. I know what they’re thinking: plopping down on the couch to watch Parks and Recreation, only to discover you’re seated in something that could be urine or possibly vomit but is hopefully just drool; having to pass on “just one more shot, dude!” to get home, missing the part of the night where penises are scrawled on passed-out faces, dancing to Cher’s “Believe” seems like the only reasonable thing to do, and memories, at least hazy ones, are made.
These well-intentioned folks are talking about the messy inconvenience that comes with being responsible for another life. I get it. And if that were all we had to deal with, that’d be great. But it’s not.
So while I usually chuckle and say something along the lines of “absolutely,” in my head I’m secretly thinking about how if our future child ends up anything like our dog, we’re utterly screwed. You see, I’m part of that pitiable parents club that includes Kathleen and William Manson, Joyce and Lionel Dahmer, and, uh, Sam.
I’m the proud father of a murderer.
Lauren, the girlfriend, rescued Sophie, the dog, from a shelter a couple years before we started dating, which was a pretty noble thing to do. Lauren does a lot of noble things. Including working as an educational therapist at a “non-public” school, which is where they send the kids that are too bat-poop insane for regular public school. She provides comfort to the nine-year-old who watched her brother get beat up by a gang, and assures the fourteen-year-old that planting a pipe bomb in his classmate’s locker is not, in most cases, the best way to deal with getting rejected for a date to Cinnabon.
When it comes to getting a dog, clearly, the kind of person who chooses that as her profession isn’t going to prance over to a breeder’s and walk out with some asshole Pomeranian to lug around in her Louis V bag. No, Sophie’s a mutt. Among other things, she’s part whippet, which, according to the American Kennel Club, is the fastest domesticated animal in its class (making it sound a lot like a Kia commercial). And she’s part pit bull. This particular combination of speed, musculature, and jaw strength makes her, basically, the ultimate killing machine. But I should probably backtrack a little before I get into that.
Two Aprils ago, Lauren and I met in a Los Angeles bar, and by the end of the night were totally making out while coeds four Midori Sours deep belted out Abba’s “Dancing Queen” on the karaoke stage behind us. We fell in love pretty much immediately because, with a night like that, wouldn’t you?
Lauren was living with her mother at the time, as she was trying to save money while finishing up a Master’s degree in Social Welfare. So when I came over to introduce myself to her mom a couple weeks later, I was greeted at the door by a 40-pound, yellow terrier mix named Sophie. Our meeting was a kind of blueprint for all future interactions: I stepped into the house, she barked with a kind of bug-eyed joy, then sprinted off to another room, skittering across the wooden floor like a cheetah on ice. A few silent seconds passed, like that moment in the movie when you just know Jason is about to take a meat cleaver to some dumbass in denim cutoffs… when, right on cue, she tore back into the foyer to shove a slobber-covered chew toy directly into my testicles.