Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dogs and Babies

Gwen and I are back from our trip, which was a huge success, and which I will share details and pictures of later. But for now, a subject more present in my mind is the caretaking of babies and dogs.

When I arrived home yesterday, I found that Chris's parents' dog - Fritz, a miniature Schnauzer - was at our place. Chris's parents themselves had left town for a funeral, so it was up to us to dogsit. This is the sort of thing families do for each other and I am not at all resentful of that. But it has led to some interesting observations.

Chris "dogsat" the previous day on his own, which translated as him leaving for work and Fritz pacing the floors alone all day. Today, however, Gwen and I and Fritz have shared the house, and this has not been entirely without difficulties. For one thing, Fritz seems to share the trait all Buechler males inherit, which is to intuit exactly where you need to be, and stand between you and that place with a blank look on his face. For another, Gwen is enamoured with the dog and follows him merrily from place to place, reaching out to pet him. Meanwhile, Fritz scampers from one refuge to another, desperately trying to find a spot where she can't reach him. At one point, he turned and looked at me with an expression that could only be interpreted as "Can't you DO something about her?". "Sorry, Fritz buddy, she lives here," I responded. (On the other hand, I do know just how he feels.)

Caring for babies and caring for dogs don't seem all that different. They are both dependent on me for their survival, being too dumb to face the world alone. They are both utterly self-centered and regard the other's needs - let alone my own - as immaterial. They are both demanding, and, most irritating of all, they both shun the use of proper English for stating their demands, preferring instead to communicate through meaningful looks and various high-pitched whines.

There are differences, though. As far as I know, it's still frowned upon to put diapers on a dog or to leave a baby outside on a leash. As long as I can keep those things straight, we should manage to get through tomorrow.

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