The Puppy War 2006

My oldest daughter, Sara, wants a puppy. We’ve been arguing about it for a little more than a week now. Arguing? Kim and I say no, she comes back hours later, or the next day, and asks again.

We have a dog. Ladybug is maybe the stupidest dog I’ve ever known, but she is a dog. She’s been banished to the back yard for quite a while now because she developed the unforgivable habit of jumping onto my desk whenever we left the house, knocking off my keyboard, papers and whatever else happened to be up here. That, on top of her other “quirks,” was too much. So, you see, we have a dog.

But Sara wants a puppy. She’s 11 years old. Oh, she’ll do extra chores to pay us back for the adoption fee, shots, food, whatever. The dog will be her responsiblity and she’ll feed it, clean up after it, walk it … everything she refuses to do for the dog we have, or for the cats that live on our front porch, one of which she picked out from the shelter.

Today she pulled out the big gun. After being told no again by me, Sara read Kim’s response to an e-mail she sent last night, then went to her room and cried.

There aren’t too many things that’ll get to a father like seeing his little girl crying. Especially when it’s something he can relate to so well. I remember begging my parents for dogs off and on. I usually  had dogs as a kid. Slater, Char, Smokey, Duke … I remember them. I was usually asking for redbone hounds, though, like Billy had in Where the Red Fern Grows. Nevermind that I have never been coon hunting. Anyway, the point is I understand her want. And I hate to see her cry.

But I know she wouldn’t continue to take care of the dog. What’s worse, she wants a little yappy mutt, not a real dog (although, at this point, if I said yes on the condition I choose the breed, she’d go for it). I can’t cave in. Kim won’t give in. Sara won’t get the dog … and I’ll have to pretend I don’t see the tears and hope something else gets her interest pretty soon. Isn’t Hillary Duff supposed to have a new CD or movie out by now?

On the writing front, there isn’t much to report. I’m still editing Ulrik. Right now I’m just combing through the suggestions made by my critique group, fixing what they noted. Then I’ll let Kim read it … and prepare myself for the review from my most brutal critic. Then I’ll give the book a close read. I know I need to make sure werewolf cycles are consistent. I need to work on the wolfish communication — tail and ear positions to express emotion, for example.

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