Entry 513: The Stages of Dog Owner Nuttiness

In my previous post, I described how my family celebrated the first birthday of our Shetland sheepdog Riley, who is no longer a puppy, but a full-grown man…except for the missing parts, if you get my drift.

I mentioned that, in doing so, we had descended partially into the ranks of nutty dog owners, and I thought I would now elaborate by describing the levels of dog owner nuttiness.

Type of Dog:
Level 5: You are a hermit and a wild wolf hangs around in case you throw it a scrap.
Level 4: You have a farm and a farm dog, one of those breeds that are in the “working dog” or “herding dog” classifications at the dog shows. You treat it like one of migrants who come by your farm at harvest time, except with better benefits.
Level 3: Your kid comes home one day with a stray. “Can we keep it?” he asks. You say, “Yes, as long as it sleeps in the barn.” Your kid points out that you don’t have a barn and that, in fact, you live in a one-bedroom apartment. On the fifth floor. You let him keep it anyway to teach him responsibility, thus descending immediately to Level 2.
Level 2: You got a mutt at the shelter so your kids could learn responsibility. Your kids play with it once in awhile, but have not fed it since the week after you got it. You take care of all its needs, even though it greets your children more enthusiastically than it greets you.
Level 1: Instead of getting a mutt, you shell out over a thousand bucks for a pure breed so that you “know what you’re getting.”
REDLINE: You want a dog, but only if it meets your exact specifications: a hypo-allergenic, non-shedding, kid-friendly, barkless, calm animal that’s small enough to be a lap dog but large enough so that you’re not always kicking it accidentally. A designer breeder creates one for you by mixing various breeds with a poodle.

Housing the Dog:
Level 5: Your dog sleeps wherever it wants, as long as it’s not in the house.splayed
Level 4: You build a dog house.
Level 3: You built a duplex. With air conditioning and heating
Level 2: The dog sleeps in your house.
Level 1: You spend $50 or more on a memory foam dog bed.
REDLINE: The dog sleeps in your bed.

Grooming the Dog:
Level 5: You hose it down once in a while.
Level 4: You stick it in the tub periodically.
Level 3: You take it to a professional groomer.
Level 2: You take it to a professional groomer and request a particular color of ribbon or bandana.
Level 1: You take it to a professional groomer and don’t tell her to stop spraying the dog with perfume.
REDLINE: You let it take a bath with you.

Playing with the Dog:
Level 5: If it brings you a stick, you’ll throw it.
Level 4: You have a crusty old tennis ball you let him play with.
Level 3: You have a ball, a squeaky toy and a ropey thing that you play with together.
Level 2: You buy a new toy whenever you go to the store for food.
Level 1: There is a room in your house that is used solely to keep dog toys.
REDLINE: You realize that most of the dog’s toys used to be your clothes.

The Dog in Your House:inchair
Level 5: Certain rooms only.
Level 4: Any room, but absolutely never on the furniture.
Level 3: Okay, you can come up on the couch this once.
Level 2: Okay, that can be your chair.
Level 1: Could you at least not stretch out lengthwise so I can sit here, too?
REDLINE: You buy it its own couch.

Feeding the Dog:
Level 1. Whatever’s cheapest
Level 2. Alpo.
Level 3. Natural Balance
Level 4. Stuff you found online that’s made only with U.S.-grown Wagyu beef
Level 5. Whatever you’re having
REDLINE: You cook all its meals

Your Dog’s Birthday
Level 1. It’s his birthday?
Level 2. You buy the dog a present.
Level 3. You wrap the dog’s present. And include a card.
Level 4. You bake a cake.
Level 5. You write “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” on the cake.
REDLINE: You throw your dog a party and invite other dogs. And make them wear party hats.

Clothes for Your Dog:scarf1
Level 1: I’d shoot myself before I’d make my dog wear clothing.
Level 2: It really is very cold.
Level 3: Well, I wear a raincoat…
Level 4: The boots prevent ice build-up between his pads.
Level 5: It’s Armani…
REDLINE: Yes, I made him a Christmas sweater! You got something to say about it?

Miscellaneous:
REDLINE: You fight for–and win–the dog in the custody battle with your ex-husband and let him keep the kids.

There’s no scoring for this, by the way.  Even if you redlined every category, I’m sure your pup deserves it.

See you soon.

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