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Small Wonders: The dog days of parenthood

January 29, 2011

When my wife and I wanted children, we did what comes naturally and were successful. Twice. We're now at the comfortable stage in our lives when we'd like to add to that family. But we're finding it difficult this time around.

Perhaps it's human genetics. Perhaps it's my urologist's scalpel skills. But something tells me that no amount of marital intimacy is going to place a puppy in my wife's womb.

With human offspring there were no agreements to sign, no social or governmental watchdogs to impress, before partaking in the baby-making process. Not so with canine offspring. I support protecting those that cannot protect themselves, keeping our cities free of vagrant critters and providing safe homes for wayward mammals. But the guardians of life are a bit more restrictive with puppies than with people.

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Adopting from the pound … er, sorry … humane society is still relatively painless. But should you want something other than a Chihuahua or pit bull, you go to a "rescue." And in our nascent efforts to procure a family dog, we've hit a most intriguing prophylactic: the adoption application — a form that must be completed simply to be considered as a potential adopter.

Were these questions asked prior to certain connubial duties, world hunger and overpopulation would be nonexistent.

Q. What behavior would not be tolerated: Getting on furniture, chewing, barking, potty accidents, crying/whining, begging, getting in garbage…

Isn't tolerating this the point of having a dog?

Q. How would you handle the infraction?

Taser.

Q. Would you be willing to housetrain?

No. Dogs should urinate freely wherever they choose. Like Daddy.

Q. Are you willing to provide daily walks? How far? What pace? Describe your commute route and time. Describe all entrances/exits to your residence, as well as yard, gate and fences. How many hours a day will he be left alone? Where, specifically, and when? Where, specifically, will she sleep?

Where, specifically, is the spare key to your house, your ATM card and PIN?

Q. How many hours a day would the dog be spending in a crate?

No more than the children.

Q. Do you promise to brush your dog daily?

That's more than we brush our teeth!

Q. What is your philosophy regarding dogs that develop medical problems?

Nietzschean philosophy.

Q. Are you willing to accept full responsibility for a dog that may live 18 years?

When our kids hit 10, they're on their own. That goes for the dog too.

Q. What would you do if you or your spouse became pregnant?

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