Doggie Knows Best

My son’s big brother is a dog.

“No, Tom, that’s the doggie‘s bone,” I gently tell my 7-month-old son, gingerly unwrapping his fingers from around the drool-soaked chunk of knotted rawhide. I don’t know whose drool it is, and I don’t think I want to.

My son is spending way too much time with the dog.

Those two have always been close. The first few dozen times he heard Tom crying after we brought him home from the hospital, our dog Coltrane went nuts barking. “Something’s wrong with the baby! Fix it! Fix it!” was the clear message. The pup didn’t seem to grasp that barking plus baby crying wasn’t really helping us “fix it.”

These days, boy and dog spend a lot of time on the floor together. Coltrane is great about it — he doesn’t usually mind when Tom does all the normal baby things, like scooting over and, say, chomping on the dog’s tail just to learn how it tastes.

But my wife and I also suspect Coltrane is sitting our boy down when we’re not looking, saying, “Listen up, kid: here’s how you do things around here.”

As a result of the dog’s lessons, our son is now frighteningly proficient at tearing magazines apart.

Also, eating paper.

Also, knocking over trashcans and rooting through their contents.

Also, crawling over to the dog’s water bowl and spilling it all over himself.

So, yeah. We do what we can. But we’re trying to draw the line somewhere, because neither my wife nor I like to imagine where this behavior could end up in a few years if left unchecked:

“Thomas! Leave that fire hydrant alone!”

Article © 2006 by Michael Duck