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Small Talk: Dog days of pandemic

There is mud, fur, a pooper scooper and dog toys scattered around my house. There will be dog treats under the Christmas tree. But do not think for a minute that I own a dog.

I do not have a dog. My daughter and her sweet husband, who currently reside with us, have a dog. I’m not sure how this happened, but I put the blame squarely on the COVID-19 epidemic. I have to blame something.

I had been steely in my resolve to ignore my adult child when she regularly mentioned wanting a puppy.

My retort was, “Get rid of your three cats and we’ll talk.” She had a puppy when the kids were young, so I am not a true villain. And because we had dogs, and I was the only one who fed or cleaned up after them, I was adamant no four-legged hair-thrower would cross my threshold again.

But then she cried. Yes, it’s embarrassing I still turn to jelly when my daughter cries. This episode made it blindly clear I have no spine and never will.

It had been a difficult week in quarantine, and she was making daily plans to move to New Zealand. Making me think the dog might be on another continent soon further weakened my resolve.

Clearly we were all suffering from claustrophobic madness.

In short, we now have a handsome, female Siberian husky about the house and she is the strangest dog I have ever encountered. She is skittish, but playful, which means she wants you to chase her endlessly around the house. She does not like to be petted. If you try to just wrestle with her, she insists on painfully nipping at you.

She is not at all tempted by food, and views such offerings with high suspicion. However, once I gave her a spoonful of peanut butter, she believes I am required to give her a treat any time I step into the kitchen. She does this by staring at me until she runs out of patience and then she begins to vocalize with wails, moans and barks in a loud and hilarious fashion. I have never had a dog talk to me like that.

This Christmas, my house will be adorned with chewed up twig bits, dirty paw prints and rags damp with her post-water-dish drool. She will probably have her own stocking and, no doubt, other things I find absurd. But one look at her adorable, wolfish face and I will probably get over it.

But remember, I do not own a dog.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer who rather wants her golden retriever back. Contact her at [email protected].

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