Exiting the sliding doors of my local Target, I knew I’d stepped over the line. I hadn’t broken any laws, like the one in Alaska that fines owners who tie dogs to the roof of their cars. All I’d done was buy my puppy, Chewy, an infant-carrying sling.
Oh, I know what you’re thinking. I must be one of those crazy women who own 17 worm-infested cats, 236 dogs, and a family of inbreeding gerbils. But you’d be wrong. I hate cats.
I never intended to wear Chewy. It all happened so innocently.
My daughter begged for a puppy and I bought her one because I am the president of Stupid Parents of America. Like all children, my daughter promised to care for the little creature. And—to my surprise—she did. She fed, walked, groomed, walked, trained, and walked the puppy. Right up to when school started.
As the dog and I inhaled school bus fumes I realized the puppy wouldn’t wait until my daughter returned for her next walk. What could I do? My office with Stupid Parents of America kept me plenty busy. So I turned to the experts.
Puppy training manuals say dogs should be crated until housebroken. So I put her in her crate. But I couldn’t look at that flattened little nose behind bars, as if she was a criminal because she had a bladder. Okay, it wasn’t the face that got me. It was the barking, whining, and that shrill, ear-splitting sound at the end of a long row of yips.
So I let her out. She laid down and went to sleep. I took this as a positive sign and went to the basement to do laundry. When I returned, the toy lobster with the wiggly eyeballs was now a mere head. A kitchen chair appeared to be leaking. A dainty pool of liquid lay underneath.
Clearly I needed help. Enter the flowered-print infant sling. Even though I was alone, when I put it on, I felt as conspicuous as an Alaskan Husky pregnant with enough puppies to win the Iditarod.
Undertaking certain tasks with dog-in-sling were ill-advised. I lifted a roast from the refrigerator. Her nose wriggled until she toppled out. I peeled potatoes. She sneezed on them.
And I still had to walk her. I knew it was time to go when she scrabbled her little feet as fast as a chipmunk, a piece of kibble in it’s jaws, a rabid dog in hot pursuit. Now the sling as an air vent. The dog sticks her tail out of it and thumps my leg for service.
In the beginning the pup was the size of a hamster. Now she’s as heavy as a watermelon—with more liquid.
I’ll reread the housebreaking manual. In the meantime, I’m checking out infant strollers.