Wednesday, October 4, 2017

On Dog Ownership

I love dogs. Always have. They're fun, they're a great excuse to get some exercise and they generally love you unconditionally. I have one now. Her name is Charlotte and she's a German Shepherd. She sheds a lot and has some anxiety issues, but she's my best buddy in the world.

The problem with dogs is they don't live very long. Maybe ten to twelve years, if you're lucky and then they're gone. If you're unlucky, they run away, bite the neighbor kid and have to be euthanized, irrationally support a bowl boycott by your players that caused a nationally-broadcast debasement of your brand, or get shmucked by a car.

Dog ownership is particularly difficult with a partner, particularly after a dog has died. In a lot of cases, one member of a couple really loves the new dog while the other is still wistfully dreaming of running through the fields with their old dog. This can even lead to resentment between partners, who scream at each other on Gopher message boards about how the old dog was better and how could you possibly think getting this new 'fancier' dog was the right decision?

The old dog was a good dog, Brent, did his job pretty well and slept quietly in the corner when it wasn't time to play. This new dog is loud, has all sorts of weird neuroses and keeps going on and on about how it needs to change the culture of your house. Plus he was expensive! It's a show dog that hasn't won any best-in-show awards, so get back to you when he does something in this neighborhood, right?

Further, the partner still pining for the old dog is pretty upset about how the old dog's life ended. Yes, it had attendance cancer and its immune system had turned on its ability to recruit via a series of cytokine storms, sexual assault scandals and a general lack of team discipline; but he never had a chance. The vet decided to put him down and you were immediately handed this other dog. That partner is pissed because he/she used to go to the dog park all the time and play with all the other dogs and became really close with their owners. Those dogs and owners had a great time at the dog park and even extended their relationships to GLC and events at bowl games. It's not fair to the other dogs and dog owners that the old dog had to be put down and people on Twitter and The Gopher Report need to be constantly reminded about that.

The partner who loves the new dog, meanwhile, is left a bit befuddled. The new dog is a really good dog, Brent. And, frankly, it was time for the old dog to go. He lacked the vitality to be happy anymore and was generally over his head when playing Frisbee or being the head coach of a Power 5 football team. That partner understands the circumstances of the old dog's death were not ideal, but also knows that in order for this new dog to be the best it can be, it needs the support of both partners, not a group of ass hats who bring out the knives after the first loss.

The fact is, the old dog is dead. Gone. Dust. Trust me, he's in a better place. You can treasure the memories of hobnobbing at the dog park with the other dogs and owners - I encourage you to do so, in fact, I bet it was fun! - but it's time to move on. Instead of cynically trashing the new dog because it doesn't play with the old dog's rope toy and wants to install his own culture in the household, how about you shutting up and enjoy the process. I understand the bitterness to an extent, but the constant flaming won't bring you any happiness and it sure as hell won't help the team.

Buck up. Quit being snowflakes about Claeys. Support the damn program.


  1. This is perfect. Congratulations!

  2. Agreed Frothy, always support the program. Appreciate your writings and efforts with this blog. I may not agree with every single point made, but you are a great writer and passionate fan. Fencejumpers