Rules #32-38: On Dog Ownership

by Rachel on May 24, 2011

Before we even committed to bringing home our puppies, Eric and I had to set some ground rules for how we would behave. There’s just something about owning a pet that turns a normal couple into Those People, something we wanted to avoid. Here is how we’ll do things in our place.

Rule #32: Eric and I are pet owners. We are not “Mom” and “Dad” to new “Fur Babies.”

While Eric and I might be a stud and a bitch respectively, we did not defy modern science and sire/welp these puppies, so, therefore, they are not our babies. And “fur babies” is first on my List of Things That Just Don’t Sound Right. We’re owners and maybe even pack leaders, but we’re not parents.

(On that note, yesterday I was on a conference call at work and I told everyone I got new dogs. Our marketing director asked me if these were my first “children” and I replied, “Well…the first with this father.”)

Rule #33: We love our dogs. We do not “heart our toy fox terriers.”

Therefore any merchandise suggesting that we do shall not be permitted.

Rule #34: We make out with each other. Not the dogs.

Because we’ve seen how they clean themselves after they go to the bathroom. With God as my witness, if I ever see one of the pups licking Eric’s mouth, I will react appropriately with shouts of “Homewrecker!” They are our puppies and I won’t have them pulling one on me like the Schwarzenegger’s nanny.

Rule #35: Thou shalt not find it cute when dogs steal food off of people’s plates.

I don’t want to share my food with humans, let alone dogs. So letting them get their tongues all up in my breakfast? Again, we’ve seen how they clean themselves after they go to the bathroom. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m a big believer that the five-second rule boosts the immune system…but I have standards.

Rule #36: Thou shalt not try to be funny.

We will not be going to “yappy hour,” saying that life is “ruff,” dressing our dogs up as “Bark Simpson” or “Woofdrow Wilson,” or using words like “pawz” or “dawgs.” And we will seriously question patronizing brands or businesses that do. Eric and I are both in agreement that all that punny language is the main reason that kids these days are fucking illiterate.

Rule #37: If a picture of just the dogs becomes either of our Facebook pictures, we will instantly be listed as Single.

If you’re holding the dog in the Facebook picture, fine. If just the dog is the Facebook picture, I assume there’s something wrong with you physically. And neither Eric nor I want to date someone who has something wrong with them physically, so this is grounds for a breakup.

Rule #38: Thou shalt not abuse photo sharing.

I posted some pictures yesterday and I’ll post more to check in as the puppies grow up and change. But using every available social media to post daily pictures is just not necessary. (Nor is it doable with these two, as they are always moving too fast, and in poor lighting, to get a lot of good pictures.) Additionally, just a picture of a dog is not, in most cases, what qualifies as a good blog post. If you don’t hear from me some days, just know that I have nothing to write about and that my silence is the alternative to ten new pictures of Charleston and Indiana. Consider my silence this rule at work and thank me for the favor.

Anything to add to this list?

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lexi May 24, 2011 at 10:39 am

I wish that these rules were universal. I seriously want to point some people in the direction of this post. I also love your response during that conference call. It probably went right over that person’s head.
As someone who has been “living in sin” (or as my facebook profile says “in a domestic partnership”) for 4 years now, your posts have been so true. Enjoy your new puppies.


2 Lisa @ I'm an Okie May 24, 2011 at 10:44 am

Fantastic rules. These things need to be shared to many many pet owners :).


3 Dori May 24, 2011 at 10:52 am

I am with you on all of this!

I am also guilty of one. My brother’s dog Santana… I never call my brother her “daddy” — that is way too weird. I actually call him “her boy,” but that’s beside the point. But what I am guilty of, and I don’t care, is my insistence of calling myself her “Aunt Dori.” I just LOVE that and I don’t know why. She is my niece and I am her Aunt Dori. Her Aunt Dori sends her toys and clothing. Just like a real cool Aunt!


4 Julia May 24, 2011 at 10:59 am

If you and Eric ever find yourselves close to crossing the line, I suggest watching the movie Best in Show to remind yourselves of what Those People look like.


5 Rachel May 24, 2011 at 11:16 am

Agreed! I have been in the mood to watch it ever since we decided we were getting puppies, for that same reason!


6 Jessica @ Stylish Stealthy and Healthy May 24, 2011 at 11:19 am

I will agree with you on a few of these points but I must admit that I love when my dog licks my face and when something happens to him (ie: he was recently injured) I call them pupdates, but really I just think thats cute….


7 Rachel May 24, 2011 at 11:43 am

Pupdates is cute! It’s clever.


8 Jessica @ Stylish Stealthy & Healthy May 24, 2011 at 9:38 pm

thanks, feel free to borrow for your pupdates as well ;)


9 janetha @ meals & moves May 24, 2011 at 11:33 am

This may possibly be my favorite post of yours.. and that says a lot, because I like all your posts.


10 Rachel May 24, 2011 at 11:48 am

Woot!! Thanks!!!


11 Marci May 24, 2011 at 11:50 am

ok well you and i probably wouldn’t be friends, or maybe my dog is cuter than yours. kidding. my dog is one year old, and i treat her like a child. we thought we wouldn’t feed her people food, but she likes turkey and cheese mixed with dog food and will starve and scream without it. i thought i wouldn’t kiss her, but her face is so darn cute. i thought i wouldn’t treat her like a child, but her quirks and personality are amazing. i never thought my husband would let her sleep on our bed or post pictures of her on facebook, but he is so in love with her too that he actually made her picture his profile for a few days. i was shocked!
i have a page on my blog for her too.


12 Kate May 24, 2011 at 12:29 pm

THANK you!! I grew up in the country and we always had plenty of animals – dogs, cats, horses, donkeys – so I love the furry things and I definitely don’t mind getting dirty, but I SO don’t get people who let their dogs lick their faces. Eeww.


13 Liz May 24, 2011 at 12:44 pm

I’m Mommy and I’m okay with it. And my man is Daddy.

I don’t confuse her with a human child, but not having children myself, and probably not having them someday, I spoil the shit out of her. She gets bites of almost everything I eat (as long as it’s safe and she waits patiently) and she gets to sleep in bed (when invited appropriately). I dress her up in ridiculous clothing on occasion (which is hilarious because she’s a big-headed pit bull), take pictures, and post them on the internet. But I do it because it’s HILARIOUS, not because I think she is a human child in a furcoat or something.




14 Beth May 24, 2011 at 12:44 pm

I agree with you on most of this but I’m definitely guilty of numbers 32 and 37. And personally I’d like to see 10 pictures of your babies :)


15 AshinMT May 24, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Im guilty of some of these things. 32 and 37 also. We actually make jokes with friends (also no kid, only dog owners) that since there are no actual babies… you sit around and talk about your dogs like their your babies. pathetic? yes. Owning it? also yes.


16 Amanda May 24, 2011 at 12:59 pm

This post is hilarious. As a dog owner, I think the thing I hate the most is when other people ask you how you do certain things and then they try to push their beliefs/practices onto you (I assume this is a jillion times worse once you have actual human babies). Like when people ask what dog food we feed our dog and they reply that they only use organic, or when they ask how long we are gone during the day while at work, and then comment that they’d feel HORRIBLE leaving their dog alone for that long (like we don’t feel bad about it already). Some dog people are just a little too much!


17 Rachel May 24, 2011 at 1:27 pm

SO true! That’s kinda why I’m keeping some specifics to myself…I don’t feel like going to battle with people who believe their way is the only way!


18 Emma May 24, 2011 at 1:05 pm

I will never forget the day that I let Beau lick my face, and Adam admonished me. ‘But he loves me!’ I protested. ‘Emma. He licks his own asshole. I’ve seen him do it.’ ‘Oh.’

Totally agree with you on all of these. Though, we did roll with the ‘pack leader’ thing. Adam was an avid fan of Cesar Milan.


19 Summer May 25, 2011 at 4:31 pm

This got seriously LLOLs from me.


20 Summer May 25, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Rather, this seriously got LLOLs from me.


21 Brittney May 24, 2011 at 1:16 pm

I didn’t really even like dogs until I got my dog, and now I’m kinda guilty of many of the items on your list! I’m not even sure how it happens, but it just kind of does when you love your pup! I second Beth’s comment that I would actually like to see more pictures of the puppies on the blog. Totally fine with me! :)


22 Kaley [Y Mucho Más] May 24, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Oh thank God someone said it.

I really, really hate cutesy stuff, whether it be with kids “oogly googly goo!” or dogs. Puh-leeze, people. Talk to the dog like the human it is…wait.


23 erin m. May 24, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Our Dog-ma: The cuter the dog, the more strict thou must be. Thy dog will not get away with bad behaviors on account of big, brown puppy eyes. Have a very fun time with your new additions! There are fewer things more wonderful than being welcomed with a wagging tail after a long day away from home.


24 erin m. May 24, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Oh! And this is what we are/were up against. He’s 3 now, so puppy training is FINALLY behind us! “Gratuitous Cuteness” |


25 [SMASH] at Sweat. Style. Swoon. May 24, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Completely in love with you for this post. Agreed on all points.


26 Courtney May 24, 2011 at 2:14 pm

I love this post!! Check back in with your readers after 6 months and let everyone know if all of your dog rules still hold true. It’s going to be hard not to break one or two of them. ;o) Congratulations on your new puppies!!


27 Rachel May 24, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Will do!


28 Melissa May 24, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Thou shalt not make me tell you my favorite thing about your dog. I have a friend who does this. After it happened to me, I debated about whether or not I could be friends with her anymore. True story.


29 ashleigh May 24, 2011 at 4:30 pm

ahhahaha LOOOOVE THIS! Although I so have done so many of these. I refer to myself as mama all of the time when talking about my “kids”. I have had them in soooo many on my fb pics, and i kiss them all of the time. What can I say? I am so THAT girl when it comes to my pets!


30 Hannah May 24, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Oh geez, good to see people who like their pets, but not THAT much. Sure, you love them, but you don’t need them licking your face when they’ve just licked their private areas. Euegh.
Anyways, that is a great list. Too bad not everyone goes by at least some of these rules.


31 Ella May 24, 2011 at 5:43 pm

I am so with you on this one – thank you for writing this! I think the general sentiment of this post can sort of be applied to kids as well. So many parents make their kids the center of their universe, to the detriment of both the children AND their marriage. Thanks for some good old-fashioned pragmatism, even if it is about dogs :)


32 cindylu May 24, 2011 at 8:17 pm

I agree to everything. I can’t stand when a blogger says she’s a parent to a pug or a labridoodle or some other silly dog (or cat).


33 Ashley May 24, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Hahha I love these rules “the pack leader” great show!


34 Tara May 24, 2011 at 10:01 pm

Oh Rachel, Rachel….what to do with you?!? I get you, I think get you…and yet here we are!!!

My two pups are not my children. I am, however, madly in love with them. And with that kind of bond, comes a lot of things you think you would never do! I was never a dog person…until I was!!! And it’s amazing! My dogs are getting older (okay 4 and 6, not that old) and I cherish my time with them because I know that it will not last forever. The time we have with them is so short and all the rules we have as new pet owners don’t always seem so important when it comes down to it!

But, training is key and I know you ain’t playin’ with that! And that is one area in which you should never give in.

I have always agreed with not giving human food to dogs except that I totally do. One of my dogs has severe allergies and the only solution I was content with (after years of trying) was making their meals every single day. Now, it is totally a commitment and costly, but I know what they are eating and I also don’t have to worry about what commercial dog food contains. (Pet food recall anyone?) The positive is that they eat more servings of veggies and whole foods a day than most people do and that makes me totally warm inside!!!! However, I do wish on some days I could just give them a quality dog good and call it a day!

Kids are not in my future so maybe I do have a deeper bond with my dogs than most.

But, I ain’t mad at you, girl!


35 jenna k May 25, 2011 at 1:33 am

oh, thank god.
when i saw this post, i thought “good lord, this is going to turn into ‘the life and lessons of rachel wilkerson’s dogs.'”
i’m fine with dogs, but i was pleasantly surprised to read the rules. :)


36 Clash May 25, 2011 at 7:04 am

Good one! Very amusing…


37 Sally May 25, 2011 at 7:13 am

I am a little obsessed with my cat. I call him my baby and insist on telling my friends about all of his cute quirks. That said, I do like your rules. I love my cat, but there are boundaries.

“If just the dog is the Facebook picture, I assume there’s something wrong with you physically. And neither Eric nor I want to date someone who has something wrong with them physically, so this is grounds for a breakup.”

I don’t think this came out like you meant it, unless you meant that neither your nor Eric would ever date someone with a physical disability.


38 Kim May 25, 2011 at 9:50 am

How much do I love your rule #34? It thoroughly grosses me out when people let dogs lick their faces or you know, get anywhere close to their mouths. Dogs tongues are also their toilet paper.

Seriously. Nasty.


39 Kim May 25, 2011 at 9:54 am

Also, not sure if you know this, but should you ever find yourself in a terrible situation in which the dogs get into antifreeze, bust open the bottle of liquor with the highest concentration of alcohol you can find. The ethanol will basically lay the smackdown on the antifreeze in the body.


40 Bridget May 25, 2011 at 12:56 pm

I’m glad you have your last rule. If I see a ton of puppy photos…you know I can’t read your blog.


41 Stephanie@MyThornsHaveRoses May 27, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Hah! This was hilarious. #36 was the best!


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