Simcha Fisher, author of The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning writes for several publications and blogs daily at Aleteia. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and ten children. Without supernatural aid, she would hardly be a human being.
Since we are on our second dog, many people* seek my advice in dog-related matters. The number one question that I get** is, "Should we get a dog?"***
My first impulse is always to say, "Yes, you should. But only a 14-month-old brindle English Mastiff with a New England accent and an unquenchable appetite for cookies, ham, and plastic dinosaur heads. Okay? And by the strangest of coincidences, I KNOW WHERE YOU CAN FIND ONE.
Ha ha! I jest. Never would I part with our beloved pet, who has been with us lo these many years. I mean, two months. We've had him for two months, and he's
profoundly scarred become an integral part of our family even in that short time. I can't even imagine life without him now. I can't even remember what it was like to eat some ham without being followed by moist eyes of infinite sadness -- what it was like to open the front door without first shouting, "SOMEONE GRAB THE #*$&%* DOG."
Yeah, integral. So if you ask me, "Should we get a dog?" I'll share my wealth of experience, and advise you to ask yourself the following questions first, and to score your answers accordingly:
1. How sensitive is your sense of smell?
(a) I once predicted the winner of the International Wine and Spirit Competition . . . before they even opened the crates.
(b) Just average. I'd rather smell apple blossoms than gorgonzola.
(c) I have to ask my kids to check the freshness of meats and cheeses. And fruitses. I just can't trust my nose.
(d) I haven't owned a nose since 1982.
2. Would you consider yourself a mellow person?
(a) I MIGHT BE IF I WEREN'T WASTING MY LIFE ON THIS RIDICULOUS QUIZ.
(b) Unfortunately, no. Life is short, and I have no time for people who dawdle or don't listen to instruction.
(c) Well, I'm no saint, but I think I'm reasonably chill.
(d) I think back to the day when I handed in my dissertation about Finnegan's Wake, which I had spent the last eleven years perfecting. The professor clumsily dropped it, as luck would have it, into the wastebasket next to his desk, which happened to be on fire. My only copy, too. Well, c'est la vie! Namaste, or what have you. Kindness is all.
3. Do you have an authoritative presence?
(a) Yeah, kinda, I guess? Sometimes? I don't know! Was that the right answer?
(b) I try, but it always comes off as pouting.
(c) I do.
(d) SIT, SIMCHA.
4. Do you like your stuff? You know, like your shoes, your books, your furniture?
(a) Why else would I have made that pact with . . . him . . . for a houseful of choicest items from Horchow? YEAH, I like my stuff.
(b) You know, I really do. It's not PC to admit it, but I put a lot of effort into collecting the things I like, so I'd rather not have anyone messing with my possessions.
(c) Meh, it all comes from Salvation Army anyway.
(d) Oh, things and stuff, stuff and things. If pigs and snails were frogs and snails, then what would we do for coffee tables? A big ol' milk crate does 'er up right! Add a comfortable dirt floor and this sweet mattress I found in the dumpster, shake the bigger raccoons off, and it's home sweet home.
5. In general, how do you feel about puddles of vomit, and/or things that may or may not be vomit, and/or things that may have been vomited more than once?
(a) You call yourself a Catholic, and yet you used the v-word? I'm pre-rescinding the legacy I was totally going to will to EWTN when I pass.
(b) Ugh. College is over, man. I'm done dealing with it.
(c) Well, it's nobody's idea of fun, but life happens.
(d) Favorite way to wake up! Bare feet are a plus. Invigoratin'!
Well, bunky, how'd you do?
If you answered mostly (a), I am going to beg you, for the love of all that is sane, do not get a dog. You will make each other miserable, and then the world will have two problems: a badly trained dog, and an owner who can't stop whining about her horrible dog.
If you answered mostly (b), why not get another pet, like a cat, or a pillow shaped like John Zmirak? Come on, admit it: someone put you up to this. You do not want a dog.
If you answered mostly (c), you will probably do fine. Just read up on Cesar Chavez, or whatever his name is, and you will be whispering in no time.
If you answered mostly (d), you already have a dog, don't you? You're just toying with me, just like this STUPID, STUPID DOG. You're all toying with me! Well FINE! Fine. I'm going to lock myself in the bathroom and pretend I don't know what that gagging noise means.
***again, totally lying here