, Derry, New Hampshire


May 1, 2014

Column: Looks like my life may be a dog's life

After three decades in the trenches teaching young adolescents that there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to creating art, my wife, Betty, is calling it a career.

With only about six weeks left in the school year, Betty is planning ahead. The loft in our condo has become an art studio. Starting in September, Betty claims Wednesdays will be “movie day,” and I don’t imagine “The Terminator” is first on that list.

That’s my wife — the planner, the organizer, the list-maker — everything I am not. But something on that planning-for-the-future list caught me by surprise.

Months ago, Betty matter-of-factly stated she wanted a dog. It would be the perfect replacement — I mean, companion — to fill the hours while I still toiled away at school.

Wow, I guess I made fun of her fondness for “Grey’s Anatomy” one too many times. A beagle will simply rest on her lap and watch, without comment, as brilliant thoracic surgeons display the maturity of emotionally challenged middle school girls.

Hey, I like dogs. Especially the kind I don’t have to care for, because dogs are just like young children — they’re needy, they’re messy and you can’t leave home without them. Besides, Betty and I are crazy cat people. How will Mookie, Max and Lily react when a canine appears on the scene?

I admire big dogs. Manly dogs. When I see a golden retriever romp across a field or a German shepherd take its owner for a walk, I think, yeah, that’s a lifestyle I could grow accustomed to. But then again, I’ve raised two of my own children and taught thousands of others who don’t belong to me. Do I really want to care for another one, albeit a hairier and more compliant version?

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