Integral to the story I’m about to tell you is that I am the owner of 3 small dogs, none of whom are ever given any food or love (to hear them tell it), and also that I am a bit of a klutz in general, and this is common knowledge to all local indigenous personnel. When mama’s cooking, there’s a better-than-average chance that whatever she is making will end up on the floor. The enterprising canine, then, endeavors to intercept any such inadvertent projectiles.
So when I decided to make some peanut butter cookies last Saturday, it was not long before I had the aforementioned 3 small dogs wreathing my ankles, expectant and insistent that they were not going to yield, lest one of their siblings get the advantage and the snacks.
Being of Klutzy-American extraction myself, this sort of arrangement is one of great danger to my health and orthopedic well-being, and the instances of my tripping over small dogs have long since moved into the uncountable range. And the danger is always increased by the fact that I know that my falling directly on top one of my dogs would most certainly maim them, if not kill them outright, and therefore I tend to try to throw myself out of the way to avoid injuring my furry children. These are the sacrifices a mother makes. These are the moments when I wonder why I couldn’t have been fonder of Golden Retrievers or some equally large breed. It’s a lot harder to trip over a dog that stands at your hip.
After about 10 minutes of trying (in vain) to move around the kitchen with three ankle-biters Velcroed to me, and having already once stepped on Rocky’s paw, I’d had enough. We have a couple moveable baby gates that we use in various setups in the house to keep the puppies from places they’re not supposed to be, like the kitchen table, where we’ve found Rocky more than once, eating butter, and the living room, where in tandem the puppies have chewed all 4 corners of my coffee table beyond redemption. Scott and I frequently consider replacing all of our furniture with tall, bistro-type models that the puppies cannot get up on, though we’ve yet to find a bistro couch; the search continues.
So I grabbed a little 2-section gate we usually can wedge into a doorway and keep the dogs from forbidden areas, jammed it in the doorway between living room and kitchen, and went back to my cookie dough for 27 seconds before there was a puppy in the kitchen, and then all 3 dogs. Apparently, they’d pushed through the gate. So I stopped, put the gate back in place, only going the other direction this time, where the tension of it would be stronger and more likely to keep the dogs out.
This time, I got a whole 32 seconds before Rocky was in the kitchen, looking pretty pleased with himself and the fact that his siblings were nowhere in sight. Any dropped cookie fixings were his and his alone.
So I shooed him out of the kitchen again, and went to get the heavy-duty gate that locks in place, washed my hands, and went back to making cookies. Soon, over the noise of Scott watching basketball in the living room, I heard a sad, slow whining. Then there were two voices, whining and sighing and snuffling in frustration because there was no way around this gate. I looked around the corner and found that the doggy chorus was made up of Monte and Rocky, two of the biggest babies that ever lived. Athena was merely looking on from the side. She’s made of tougher stuff. I mocked the “poor babies,” who were being so cruelly kept apart from what they loved (that would be the potential dropped food, NOT their mama) and went back to my baking.
But of course, that wasn’t the end of it, and the volume of their lamentations increased to the point of annoyance, not to mention ridiculousness, and I let them have it.
“Jesus, it’s not Auschwitz, for God’s sake, it’s the LIVING ROOM!”
Which amused Scott, but the dogs were unmoved, although they did settle into quiet pouting mode with noses pressed to the gate.