Women say this to other women all the time:
“You don’t need a husband, honey. You need a dog.”
“You want unconditional love? Get a puppy.”
Ha, ha. This is always good for a laugh. When someone says it on “Oprah,” all the worldly wise women nod their heads.
Yet on behalf of my fellow husbands everywhere, I would like to challenge this conventional wisdom.
Not that I’m actually going to defend husbands – that would be too much of a stretch. However, I’d like to point out the actual truth about dogs, which is that dogs are, in some ways, even more trouble than the average husband.
I feel especially well-qualified to address this subject after spending the holidays with two particularly neurotic, borderline-insane mutts named Jack and Mya.
I present my case:
• Every two minutes, we had to jump up and let the dogs into the backyard. Then, 30 seconds later, they’d be scratching at the door, whining to be let in. It was exhausting.
We husbands, on the other hand, can heed the call of nature and let ourselve s back in.
• Every time we had one precious minute to ourselves, the dogs parked themselves at our feet, looked at us expectantly and emitted that annoying little whine that says, “Did you know it’s feeding time? Didja? Huh?”
When a husband emits that whine, a wife can stay in her chair and send him out for a take ’n’ bake pizza.
• One of the dogs got into a little scrape recently and had to visit the vet. That little scrape turned into a $400 vet bill.
Husbands get into little scrapes, too – falling off ladders, pruning their extremities with a chain saw – yet most husbands have something that dogs don’t: health insurance. With a husband, you’ll usually get stuck only with a small co-pay.
• We had to drive to Seattle for a wedding, leading to the problem of what to do with the dogs overnight. Board them in a kennel? Foist them on the neighbors? Hire a kid to feed them?
A husband, on the other hand, can easily be left alone overnight. You’d be surprised – a lot of husbands actually look forward to it.
• Sure, dogs are affectionate. They are excellent at providing unconditional love. But dogs are also needy. There were times when we wanted to be left alone with a book or a football game, but one dog or another was always pacing back and forth, begging for attention.
Husbands, with some exceptions, are less high-maintenance. They don’t beg for attention 24 hours a day. The exceptions being: retired husbands. I’ve heard those can really get on the nerves.
• Every day, we had to take those dogs out for a walk. Even if it was raining, even if it was snowing, even if we were lethargic from drinking too much eggnog, we had to get up and go on a forced march through Spokane.
Husbands never, ever require a walk. They almost invariably prefer to drive.
So, the next time a woman says she’d be better off with a dog, you should gently but firmly correct her. A goldfish, possibly, but not a dog.