According to many rescues, recent adoptions have increased with so many people working and schooling from home. It’s understandable. You’re lonely and available to give lots of love and cuddles – especially since you can’t cuddle most people, let alone touch them, anymore.
So now, there are more homes in Canada with dogs running about, chewing on things and farting in corners while we’re holding Zoom meetings and trying to find some kind of normal. But it suddenly occurs to me, we rarely see pets as an active part of family life on television.
I’m not talking about Lassie – whose owner had to be the stupidest/clumsiest child on earth to constantly be caught in a well every week. There was also The Littlest Hobo – a Canadian classic to be sure. No, I’m talking about family-centric shows that accurately include the family dog in their daily lives.
Sure, they love to use Fido as an occasional punch line. The recent Pauley Perrette comedy Broke had a purse-pooch Chihuahua that caused a few chuckles in the first episodes. But as its owner’s storyline progressed from a wealthy, bored, socialite to a working woman, the dog sort of disappeared.
It was a little like Happy Days’ mysterious older brother, Chuck. One day, he just wasn’t there anymore.
In a real family, that dog still wakes Mama up at dawn to eat and wee-wee – not necessarily in that order. He occasionally vomits in the most visually obscure but foot accessible location on the carpet.
While the family goes to school and work, someone’s still got to get home to let Rufus out to do his business. And then hunt for it – lest you want to have that shoot out the side of your lawnmower in a couple of days.
Speaking of which, whoever is doing the lawn maintenance better buy stock in grass fertilizer and patch repair products. That might also help to pay for the special allergy food or the periodic trips to the vet to remove the golf ball someone swallowed.
At the end of the day, while the TV family is getting into hilarious or dramatic trouble together, the real one is arguing about whose turn it is to walk the dog. Sure, we could give it a friendly pat and send it off to quietly sit off-scene like our Hollywood counterparts. But while their pooch is either lounging serenely or actively patrolling the perimeter without making a sound, my dogs are freaking out at every child, bird, squirrel and mailman that walks by the house.
And I prefer that. Because if I haven’t heard from my beloved hounds for a while, I know without a shadow of a doubt, that something is being destroyed. Something I love.
It’s no wonder many homes get a dog only to give it up, claiming “not enough time.” Real life with a real dog isn’t a music montage of puppy kisses, clean houses, and jogging with your dog at your side. Instead, it involves bad breath, fur everywhere, and constantly hunting for a poop bag.
And that’s just not Hollywood enough.