• Comment

Chris Gay: Adding a dog is a new adventure

Posted: May 14, 2017 - 12:25am

I grabbed the leash off the counter, attached it to Gizmo's collar and took him for a walk.

That's not a sentence I thought I'd ever write.

I'm not a dog person. Never have been, really. Yet there we were taking steps Monday morning along the sidewalk in my west Augusta neighborhood, one that has trees and squirrels and houses that look like real houses - not the ones thrown up quick and cheap and three feet apart from each other.

Gizmo soaked in all the different sights and sounds: a man mowing grass on a riding lawn mower, cars zooming down the street and another man dressed in a neon green jacket riding his bike. Whenever the kids and I see the man, I say, "There goes Lance Armstrong." I'm sure they have no clue who that is.

Gizmo continued to sniff his way down the sidewalk. He uses his nose like he's Sherdog Holmes, trying to discover the clues to some great mystery. Some dogs are sniffers. Some dogs are lickers. And some dogs are just mean as snot. Gizmo might have a mean bone in his body, but we haven't found it yet.

Gizmo became the newest addition to our family - our fourth child - a week ago. My wife and brother-in-law picked up the small dog from south Florida after our Aunt Judy died. She was a sweet woman in poor health who lived into her early 60s.

When people exit stage right on my wife's side of the family, she and her brother don't receive any Monopoly cards that read: "Congratulations! You inherited money." Just the opposite. They inherit animals and expenses.

After Aunt Judy died, my wife decided to keep the dog. I wasn't happy about the matter, especially because we've never had any animals in our house. We have enough mouths to feed, enough two-legged animals to be concerned with. I know many of you love your little four-legged furballs and think of them as family. But why did my family need to complicate matters?

On other hand, my wife didn't want Gizmo to go to some shelter. I understood.

When I was a child, I had some cats and dogs through the years. None of them lived indoors. My mom (Happy Mother's Day!) has always loved people more than animals. Thus, my parents didn't have to worry about what time they got home to let the dog out to pee or if they ever needed to board the animal for vacation. Life was simple.

When Risa brought the dog home, I wasn't thrilled. Then, this innocent-looking, shaggy creature looked up at me with those big, bulging eyes and smiled, his tongue hanging out of his mouth. I laughed. I don't know if the dog just smiles a lot or if it's his expression. He seems to always be happy.

The dog, I'm told, is a mix between Pekingese and Shih Tzu. My daughter, Hannah, loves the fact she can say Shih Tzu and not get in trouble.

On Monday morning, I got the kids ready for school and shipped them off. Risa took Gizmo outside to use the bathroom. A short time later, as she and I got ready for work, the dog walked into our room and started running in circles. After he squeezed off a no-no in our bedroom, I learned - the hard way - what that meant.

The next morning, I took the dog for another walk. Like the day before, I took a plastic bag, some paper towels and a small Dora the Explorer shovel we've had since the kids were toddlers. About five minutes in, Gizmo dropped a squishy present on the sidewalk. I couldn't believe he had the audacity to go back and smell it. Disgusting!

That evening, we put Gizmo to bed in the kitchen. The previous night, he went straight to sleep. It was too easy. On Tuesday night? Consistent barking/whining. After a short while, Risa figured it out. I made the mistake of washing and drying clothes in the adjacent garage, noise Gizmo could hear. Risa turned off the appliances. Problem solved. But I've always liked washing clothes and drying clothes just before bedtime. Sorry, kids. Enjoy wearing dirty shirts and pants to school.

Gizmo and I walked again Wednesday morning. Afterward, I kept him in the kitchen as I went for a long walk by myself. When I returned, I found Gizmo sitting on top of he kitchen table - smiling.

We walked again Thursday after I dropped the kids off at school. When I returned home, I saw something that looked like a rubber belt sitting in the road next to one of my neighbor's cars just up the street. Unsure of what it was, I grabbed Gizmo and a golf club and proceeded to walk by that house. My fears were confirmed. It was a black snake, about five feet long.

My top five fears:

1. Snakes

2. My children falling in with the wrong crowd and doing drugs.

3. Snakes

4. Embarrassing myself on an episode of Jeopardy.

5. Snakes

I wondered what would have happened had that snake been alive. Would Gizmo have barked? Would I have beaten the snake to a pulp with that 6-iron? (I figured if I busted up the 6-iron, it'd be easier - and cheaper - to replace than one of my wedges.) Would we have sprinted as fast as we could have to avoid that slithery thing?

I'm glad we didn't have to find out.

It's still going to take time for me to fully warm up to this dog. I don't envision him riding in my vehicle the way Fred rode shotgun with the Snowman in Smokey and the Bandit. But my children and wife are absolutely in love with Gizmo - and he's a funny dog with a lively personality. The children have started to show some responsibility, doing little things like walking him to the monkey grass, Gizmo's favorite outdoor toilet.

As for me, I still don't consider myself a dog person, but I think we'll get along. He has his quirks, like being a picky eater. But he likes classic rock. He told me he like the Eagles the best. So the dog can't be that bad.

 

  • Comment