Kids and Dogs: Quirks and Oddities
Grandparenting this particular nine-year-old has its unique challenges, but I suspect some are pretty typical.
Buy in quantity: Chloe uses up everything. A pack of gum is gone in a few hours. Shampoo, lotion, detangler–any kind of product that should last a few weeks is gone in a few days. A can of airspray in her bathroom (which should last for months) was gone in a week. Boxes of tissues, rolls of toilet paper–I have to ration consumables. She has expensive tastes, too, so pistachios and Clif bars are rationed.
Loves it, hates it: She’s probably not abnormally picky; she doesn’t like meat but loves Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli and spinach, so I can’t complain. But she’ll get on a roll with a certain foods for her lunch box–for a while it was peanut butter, then hummus, string cheese; now it’s yogurt in tubes and salad or vegetables with ranch dressing. So I’ll stock up on large quantities of these items (see “buy in quantity”), only to find it’s the wrong kind of string cheese or she’s tired of hummus. Eggs: she loved scrambled eggs and omelets for years, then suddenly she didn’t. Then she decided she liked them sunny side-up, eating two or three at a time, so I bought two dozen eggs. Suddenly she didn’t like them. Her lunch is very complicated: cucumbers and celery with ranch dressing, six vanilla wafers, peanuts, a tube of Go-gurt, a Clif bar, pretzels, a peeled clementine, water, and a goofy note, which gets sillier all the time as I run low on ideas.
Now that we’ve had Junior about six weeks, I’m learning his odd little habits.
Balls: the sight of any kind of ball drives him berserk: tennis, soccer, basketball, his squeaky ball–he loves them all. At school one afternoon while I waited for Chloe some boys were shooting hoops. Junior went so completely nuts, wanting that ball, that I had to move him out of sight of it. He loves us to toss his squeaky ball but he doesn’t like to give it up. This morning when we got back from taking Chloe to school he took the ball and dropped it outside the bedroom door, waiting for Gary to get up. (Gary was not terribly enthused about getting a dog, but he’s made a friend, playing with frisbees, tennis balls and Junior’s favorite squeaky ball. ) He also goes nuts chasing squirrels, a futile quest, but it’s all in the chase.
Sleeping under the bed: he’s quite lean and he’ll squeeze under our bed when I take a nap and behind and under Chloe’s when she’s in bed. It must be the safety of enclosed spaces. He naps on his blanket on the couch like he owns it.
Speaking of owning: he owns every tree and fence post in the neighborhood where I walk him after I take Chloe to school. He’s not yet neutered–he just finished heartworm treatment and the vet said to wait awhile–and it may improve after he’s fixed, but it sure does slow down the walks.
Bathrooms: he will not enter a bathroom. If I try to get him to go into the restroom near the condo pool, he not only refuses but he runs away, looking behind him to make sure I follow. He won’t go into the bathrooms at home, so no worries about him drinking from the toilet. He’s also doesn’t “hoover” up food dropped on the floor, darn it!
He’s the sweetest, calmest, most patient dog I’ve ever had. I’ve heard him bark maybe once or twice ever. At school he’ll be surrounded by kids wanting to pet him as he blissfully laps up the love. He’s never snapped or shown any aggressiveness. We walk the condo complex without a leash, and he trots along, sniffing and exploring, until I say “Junior, let’s go home,” and he heads straight for our door. He’s smart, loving, loyal, affectionate–nearly perfect.
We don’t really know much about his past, but he was clearly cared for. He’s about two years old, and we think his original owner died and the person who took in her dogs eventually abandoned him. Why anyone would abandon this dog to die of heartworm is a mystery. He appears to be full-blooded blue heeler (Australian cattle dog) down to the eye patch. He’s so beautiful and so sweet I’m glad he came into our lives.
I’d love to hear from other parents and dog lovers about the quirks and oddities of their beloveds.