There is a dog in my kitchen.
If you asked me a year ago how I felt about having a dog in my kitchen, I would have said to you, “No way. No how. Not going to happen!”
I even have a list of reasons why owning a dog is a bad idea. Dogs shed, poo at inconvenient times, smell like dog, come with toys that clutter the house, bark … the list is endless. At work there are co-workers that bring their dogs to work and inevitably one will mistakenly walk into my office, disappointed when I have nothing to offer them. Meanwhile, I remain unflappable by the dog’s charisma, whimper or tail wagging, “Are you lost?” I’ll ask and they turn away.
I have dog names picked out like: Bad Idea, Big Mistake, Hairball, Regret, and Poo Factory.
But despite all my reservations, my son’s relentless begging wore me and my husband down. I now have a dog in my kitchen named Rocco and I am on the floor with him kissing the top of his head, nuzzling my nose into his furry cowl neck and talking to him like he is a toddler.
“You want some num nums? You want to go out for a walk? Yes you do, oh yes you do.”
I am waiting for Rocco to go Cujo on me, giving my neck a rabid bite. But he doesn’t. He stares at me longingly and pushes his cold nose towards mine and gives me a lick.
When I am at work I think about Rocco like he’s my teenage crush. Is Rocco thinking about me too? Will he sit with me tonight on the sofa and lay his head on my lap? Does he miss me as much as I miss him? Maybe he’ll want to go for an extra long walk after dinner. What if he says no? What will I do? If I pick up a chew toy for him on my way home, maybe he’ll remember how much I love him.
He has a wonderful hairy chest with this little white tuft of fur; big, brown soulful eyes and he is very brave having walked the streets of South Carolina for months before being rescued and raised in a kennel.
He is a bit of a mystery. No one knows if Rocco ever had a family, but he has joined our family seamlessly. It’s like Rocco stored up all this love, waiting to relish me and my family with his hugs, and constant tail wagging.
My son Shawn and I fight over Rocco’s attention and affection.
“Mom, I want some alone time with Rocco,” Shawn requested last night after we teased our new dog with a tennis ball before a night-time story.
Shawn and Rocco cuddle in bed, two instant friends. A fluffy boy and a human boy, side by side, Shawn’s arm draped around Rocco’s warm belly.
I now go for walks at odd times of the day. The moon is bright and big, lighting up the 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.sky. Rocco’s keen hearing notices the details around us: a tarp flapping in the wind, chipmunks scampering , a woman and her dog down the road, a faint creaking windmill, and the wind scattering leaves across asphalt.
Rocco has been a part of our family for only a few days and I dust, damp mop, and do laundry constantly. Despite the extra work, my family congregates more often in the family room because of Rocco. TV off, laptops set aside so we can wrestle, toss balls and chew toys with our Rocco. I mimic Sesame Street’s Grover when I talk to Rocco and he gets excited, leaping side to side, happy to have a kitchen and a boy and a family to love.