Not long after my friend Jan got married and bought a house, she and her hubby—like many young couples—began to feel a growing void. As is typical with most newlyweds who put down roots and establish a home together, the need for “something more” takes a hold of them and they, in turn, take a trip to the local pet store.
Many sleepless nights, soiled and tattered towels, destroyed shoes, half-chewed squeaky toys and bottles of carpet cleaner later… they settle in with their newest addition and deem their squirmy little puppy the King of the Castle… Lord of the Manor… and Love of Their Lives.
They honestly don’t know how they ever got along without this furry bundle of joy and he becomes the center of their world… their baby. He is regularly walked, obscenely spoiled with designer toys and gourmet treats and taken to “Doggie Daycare” or the grandparents’ homes when mummy and daddy are away.
Fast-forward a couple of years. Biology has worked its magic and now there is a new sheriff in town. That’s right, folks. Procreation has occurred. You know the good ol’ perpetuation of the species and all that crap. A tiny new bundle has entered the home and nothing is ever the same. This one is hairless and cries constantly and unlike the furry variety, it seems to demand much, MUCH more attention.
And suddenly, without warning, the former King of the Castle is literally cast aside in order to make room. Chew toys, tug-of-war ropes and tennis balls are shoved into dark, dusty corners to make way for pack-n-plays, bouncy-chairs and activity mats.
Zero sleep and constant feedings and changings have made mummy and daddy rather cranky and impatient and rendered the notion of a daily walk or a game of catch virtually impossible. Life feels as though it will never return to normal.
I’ve seen Wrigley’s story play out time and time again as my friends have done their reproductive duty and multiplied. The animal—once so adored—has now become an object of scorn and frustration. During a recent visit to meet the newest human addition to my friend’s family, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Wrigley (I personally like to call him Mr. Wriggles). Me being a perplexed, non-parent, I asked my friend how it was possible for them “hate” their once-cherished pet.
“He’s annoying. He jumps too much, barks too loud and begs mercilessly for attention. We worry constantly that he’s going to wake the baby. He is just one more thing for us to deal with. Now that we have 2 kids, it feels like we actually have 3.” She answered.
At least she was honest.
They admitted to giving some consideration to the thought of handing Wrigley over to a neighboring family who could offer him more attention—but being the sometimes-optimist that I am—I see their oldest, Brady, approaching 3 and I believe that perhaps Mr. Wriggles will soon get back his throne. Maybe he will become King … (OK that’s reaching) make that Prince of Brady’s world. And before long, there will be someone to take walks and play catch with once again.