You Can’t Go Home Again

I’ve met a lot of parents in my life, and only one of them has ever told me that they regretted the decision to have a child. While I’m sure plenty of parents, at least some of the time, have actually regretted their decision to have kids, there are tremendous social and biological pressures acting against coming right out and saying it to anyone else.

Now kids and dogs are different concepts altogether (although the later is often a gateway drug that leads to the former), but the notion that you can regret a decision to get a dog and undo the damage by finding it a new and better home once you realize that you’ve made a horrible, horrible mistake comes with social pressures to.

I am not a dog person by nature, but in a moment of post-breakup-panic in the late 1980s I found myself the shepherd for an irascible lab-spaniel cross named Penny. I did actually love Penny and appreciated the role she played in my life (although many of my friends and family, after Penny, say, ate their Birkenstocks or their broccoli, were less enthusiastic). Eventually Penny became incompatible with my jet-setter lifestyle, and I was very fortunate that my late friend Lorna Hutcheson agreed to a sort of temporary adoption arrangement which ended up turning into a permanent adoption when the jet-setting took me out of reach and out of money from Penny’s new home base. Penny lived a free and happy life and, irony of ironies, eventually moved with Lorna and family to Prince Edward Island, where I was able to see her in her golden years were she was more an “irascible emeritus.”

This is all a roundabout way of sending props to my friends Paul and Lori, who got an adorable tiny dog a few weeks ago – a sort of poster dog for “adorable tiny dogs,” in fact – named Birdie.  And then, as Lori explains in her blog:

Birdie is such a sweetheart, but she turned this little family right upside down and me into a crazy person.

And so Birdie has gone back home, and Lori and Paul’s life has returned to a steady state. Birdie makes an appearance in today’s The Small Fancy (which is always one of the highlights of my Friday).


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