A Dog in Suburbia

January 9, 2013

All I wanted for Christmas was a puppy.

Well, the rigorous requirements of maintaining proper breed lines does not take into consideration the timing of holidays and when spoiled wives may ask for nothing but a wee pup under the tree with a big, red bow on her collar.

And so the puppy was here at Halloween.

I’ve had several dogs before (hence my ardent desire for another), and I’ve been around several puppies.  I’ve dog sat extensively, so I am also aware of the various behaviors of dogs.  However, I was not prepared to have a dog in Suburbia.

I’ve mentioned before in this blog, that I grew up in the twigs.  That’s the part of the country that you get to after you’ve gone past the sticks.  It’s that far out.  And of course, as a child, I had a dog.  He was a Springer Spaniel we called Dodger, after the character in Oliver.  The Disney cartoon and not the Dickens classic, of course.  I’m at the point in history where I have completely idealized Dodger.  He’s been gone that long.  Dodger was the perfect dog, and I will now find myself saying, well, it wasn’t like that with Dodger.

But let me tell you.  Dodger ate many a Barbie doll head, and there were several times I wanted to kill him.  Perfect dog that he was.

But the difference here lay not in the dog but in the location.


You never know how far away civilization is from the twigs until you get a dog.

In the twigs, when the dog needs to go out, you open the door.  In Suburbia, you need to make sure the area is securely fenced, or that the dog is securely leashed in a five point harness with tracking mechanisms engaged.

In the twigs, you run the dog down to the lake when he needs a bath.  In Suburbia, you sigh with longing for the days when the dog used to fit into the kitchen sink.  Your bathtub sighs, too.

In the twigs, you never put food in your dog’s food bowl and rarely remember to fill his water dish.  The neighbors all feed the other neighbors’ dogs scraps, and sometimes, they will be lucky enough to catch a fish off the end of an unlucky fisherman’s pole.  In Suburbia, you not only measure the food with a very important measuring cup, you also adjust your work schedule so that you can make it back home in time to feed the dog at the proper hour lest her poop schedule get messed up.

In the twigs, you do not clip your dog’s nails.  That is what the rough ground is for.  In Suburbia, you turn your head and pretend that isn’t your dog who requires three groomers to hold her down whilst attempting nail clippage at the local Petco.

And out of respect for my family and my roots, I will not discuss doggie daycare.

But I would not wish for a moment that we had not gotten the dog.  Because she still gets excited at squeaky toys.  She still attacks the door when you come home because she thought you had abandoned her, and you’re homecoming is the best thing that happens to her everyday at 5 o’clock.  She still wakes you up with a lick under your chin when she needs to go potty just before your alarm goes off, preventing you from enjoying the pleasure of the snooze button.  And she is the one who can’t wait to snuggle on your lap and watch Finding Bigfoot.

But what I am getting to is this.

There are many different stories to write, many different ways to write them, and many different ways to get them to the readers who want them.  So don’t be afraid if a challenge comes your way.  This is not your first rodeo, and it will not be your last.

And even though the landscape has changed, the dog is the same.  And you will still be the one to stand on your back stoop and yell for all of Suburbia to hear, Go poop, Josie!




2 thoughts on “A Dog in Suburbia”

  1. Judith Seward

    Twice I have come to the end of your books on Kindle unexpectedly. I got so into the books. I didn’t pay any attention to the chapters or pages. Very impressed with Rocket Buns’ knowledge of cars. Gramps came in the next day whining the tractor wouldn’t start. I asked him if it was turning over. He said it was, so I told him it was the battery. He didn’t think it was. Guess who was right?
    I didn’t know there was anything in Maine besides freezing oceans and potatoes. Lucy, a friend now dead, came from Aroostook County–if there was a town, she never mentioned it. She was the youngest of eleven kids and taught school at the age of eleven. I have been in the ocean and heard all about potatoes from Lucy. Portland is a civilized place? Enjoying the description of RB’s digs. Thinking of tin ceiling tiles for my kitchen. Looking at a sample as I type.

    February 24, 2015

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