I’ve always been opposed to dogs. It’s not that I don’t think they are cute and all when they’re young. I’ve just had numerous reasons for which owning one would be a bad idea. Here are a few:
1. They smell
2. They mess on the carpet
3. They smell
4. They have to be dealt with when you go on trips
5. Vet bills
6. The kids won’t take care of a dog no matter how much they promise to
7. The wife won’t take care of a dog no matter how much she promises to
8. I’ll be stuck taking care of the dog
9. They chew up things
10. Did I mention that they smell?
Anyway, a couple of months ago, we saw a red dachshund that looked just like the dog Marita grew up with. It was suddenly 4 against 1 and I caved. We now own a dog. Yes, I have become attached (another reason I didn’t want a dog). I am very thankful that my good friend, Matt Hicks, let me borrow his copy of Cesar Millan’s Mastering Leadership DVDs (yes, that is an affiliate link). I’ve watched the first one and learned the importance of walking the dog. It has been a tremendous help dealing with little Oscar.
However, the #1 reason your family should own a dog was impressed upon me last Saturday. I opened the fridge expecting to find the four root beers we had left from our vacation last week, one for each of the children and me for lunch. However, there was only one. Tessa had taken three of them while we weren’t paying attention. She had drunk two and given her friend one. Then I looked at the counter and noticed she had finished, without asking, the salt and vinegar Pringles (my favorite). AAAAGGGGGHHHHHH!
I’ve been working on angry outbursts. Ephesians 4:31 says I need to put away wrath and clamoring. I have a problem with those and have been working on them. When I saw the one root beer and the empty Pringles can, my blood started to boil. Marita saw what was happening and stepped in with a great suggestion, “Edwin, why don’t you take the dog for a walk?”
“Good idea,” I said through gritted teeth. I walked the dog around the block. It took about 20 minutes (it’s a big block). In that time I was able to recognize that three root beers and some Pringles were not worth the emotional damage I was going to cause with an angry outburst. I developed a plan for talking to Tessa.
When I got home, I calmly explained that she did not have the right or entitlement to raid our fridge or pantry any time she wanted. We, her mom and I, often have plans for the items in there. Before she’s allowed to eat or drink something, she has to ask and make sure it is not disrupting any of our plans for the food and drinks. I also explained that the next time that happened there would be disciplinary measures taken since we had now talked about it and she understood what was being asked of her. She agreed. We’ll see if it happens again.
Of course, the point here is having a dog to walk is a great thing. First, because I’m getting more exercise with that dog than I’ve been getting for a long time. But second and most importantly, the number one reason to have a dog is to take it for walks when you are about to have an angry outburst. Walk, breathe deeply, think about the situation and resolve the problem. Then come back to your family and deal with the situation properly.