Our Dog Is Different on Instagram
He’s an adorable doggo — until he scares you half to death
It started like so many dog love stories do, with a plea from a child.
“Why can’t we have a dog?” she asked as if we’d already said no, which we hadn’t, because she hadn’t asked yet.
My daughter was familiar with the word “no.” Even at the end of her first decade of life, she was already used to settling. As the well-behaved 10-year-old sister to two joyfully recalcitrant eight-year-old twin brothers, she had adjusted to a life of not asking for much. But the dog was clearly something she was willing to push for. She was all big blue eyes then, with a wheat-colored pixie cut — a haircut she’d never have again in her childhood, as she let her hair grow and grow as fast as the rest of her did. That was half a decade ago, before I worried about how we were going to pay for college tuition or whether my kids thought vaping was cool or stupid or at what point their Instagram captions had become more sardonic than my own.
“Why exactly can’t we have a dog?” my daughter asked then. “I need reasons if you guys are gonna say no.”
When we were first pregnant with her, my husband and I used to joke that we were having a baby so we could practice for having a dog. It turned out to be partly true. When you potty train a two-year-old just after bringing home two infants, you learn very quickly how to get pee out of the carpet, or at least how to not care that it’s there in the first place. Our twins were also biters, so we got very good at apologies and convincing people that they did not have rabies. We did our best, but having three kids in two years made it hard enough to feed and clothe ourselves and our human offspring. We weren’t in any position to get a dog.
But once our daughter pleaded her case, it was all over. She was making us an offer we couldn’t refuse. And let’s be clear here: She wasn’t offering us anything. A few weeks later we brought home our dog, Gilbert.
When we were first pregnant with her, my husband and I used to joke that we were having a baby so we could practice for having a dog.