Me: Hello big dog.
Husband: He’s a tall dog.
Me: Who’s a good pup?
Husband: That’s a good pup right there.
Me: How does it feel to be a pup?
Dog (really husband, dog can’t talk): I like iiiiit.
I’m dumbing it down a little but ... no, honestly, I’m really not. Having a dog in the house, as we have for almost nine months now, has reduced our typical conversational level to gobbledygook. I don’t remember for sure what we used to talk about, but I think it was mostly normal adult human stuff. Now it’s all about whether the dog is big, whether the dog is good, and whether it’s hard to be a dog.
I imagine this is also what it’s like to have a new baby around, but at least with a baby there are probably valid language-acquisition reasons to communicate mainly in silly noises. The dog’s language skills are unlikely to improve. And yet we keep on talking nonsense.
In addition to inspiring all kinds of lofty speculation as to whether he is big and/or good, the dog is our songwriting muse. He’s spurred us to such creative heights as “Hello dog, yellow dog”; “don’t be a bad dog, just be a rad dog”; and his most frequent theme music, “Dog stuff, dog stuff, what do you know about dog stuff.” Occasionally these get mildly clever (“don’t be a reactive dog, just be an attractive dog”) but they are just as often extremely stupid (“don’t be a small dog, just be a wall dog”). You probably think it sounds real cute for me to be putt-putting around the house making tiny rhymes but I AM PRETTY CERTAIN I USED TO BE SMART.
He’s trashed my sense of humor, too. I used to like some pretty sharp and subtle stuff, and I still do sometimes, but the dog has turned my tastes towards slapstick. I can laugh for 20 minutes straight at him fighting with a towel, or going through his elaborate “hooray breakfast” dance, or doing this thing which he does ALL THE TIME:
There’s also the fact that I might be mildly allergic, but refuse to admit the possibility, which means I’m going around a lot all “Gee, I sure do seem to be kind of muzzy and headachey lately, wonder what that’s about!” (This is also where my superpower of never getting addicted to cigarettes comes from, I think -- I just completely fail/refuse to recognize withdrawal symptoms as such.) So all the dog hair on my pants may be subtly undermining my ability to do anything except stare at the dog hair on my pants.
Obviously it is 100 percent completely worth it. Whoever first said “ignorance is bliss” was probably talking about the particular kind of idiocy you reach when you get a pet. But I’m concerned that anyone who hasn’t seen me in the last nine months would be hard-pressed to figure out whether I got a dog or a lobotomy. Both presumably lead to me being serene and unproductive and going “pup pup pup pup pup pup” all the time.