Who Needs a Dog?

“What’s this water doing on the floor?” I ask, pointing at a small puddle a few feet in front of the toilet.

“That’s not water,” my four-year-old tells me. “It’s pee.”

“Okay,” I say, looking at him with one eyebrow raised. I know exactly what’s happened. My young son does not like to pee standing up, so he sits, just like his big sister and I do. Lately he’s taken to leaning back a bit so his pee arcs up over the rim of the toilet and shoots towards the cupboard a few feet away. I’ve learned the hard way not to stand directly in front of the toilet when he pees. We’ve talked about how it’s important to keep the pee in the potty, and if I’m in there with him, he does a pretty good job. When I’m out of the room, however, anything goes.

Although I know all of this, I ask him anyway: “Why is there pee on the floor?”

“Because I like to urinate outside of the potty,” he says.

I take a deep breath.

“Okay,” I say, “I can see the appeal of that—” (although, in fact, I can’t) “—but when you urinate outside of the potty, it makes a mess.”

“But you can just wipe it up. And if you leave it there, you can walk on it, and you won’t even know it’s there.”

“Sure, if you let it dry out, it won’t wet your feet, but it’s still there, and it smells and it’s gross.” I know even as I’m speaking that this line of argument is completely futile. And sure enough, he’s off and running before I even stop talking.

My daughter would love to have a dog. While I like dogs, I still have a clear memory of cleaning up piddle puddles from the dogs I grew up with. I’m putting off getting a dog until that memory—or at least the olfactory part of that memory—fades a little more.

Who needs a dog? I think as I spray cleaner on the pee spot and grab a rag from the cupboard. Who needs a dog when you have a little boy?

By Stonehenge (John Henry Walsh) (The Dog in Health and Disease) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

6 thoughts on “Who Needs a Dog?

  1. Who needs a dog when you can get a cat?! My kitties are awesome! I may not love scooping the litter up (but when you’ve had three kids you’re totally used to cleaning up someone else’s poo everyday anyway), but their self-sufficiency (VERY appreciated in sub-zero weather, I might add) and affection towards me make every scoop worth it! (*whispers* I’ve actually almost decided cats are better than kids. Think about it, they don’t talk back, they never leave crumbs in the living room, OR put dents in your car, OR have to bailed out of jail! But don’t tell my kids I said this! 😉 )


    1. There’s no question that you don’t need dogs (or kids) if you have cats. I have two of each (cats and kids), and the cats are way less work. They occasionally wipe their butts on the floor and they vomit kind of a lot and I have to give one of them medication twice a day, but they’re really warm and snuggly and rarely talk back. And the one turned 17 last September and still hasn’t asked to use the car.

      The one thing I miss out on by not having a dog is cleaning up piddle spots from the floor, which I remember well from growing up with dogs. But now that my son is intent upon peeing on the floor, I no longer need a dog. My son does shed very little, too, so there’s another tick mark in the “son” column.


      1. Well, I suppose the no shedding part is true, although my daughter generates enough hair in the vacuum to clothe a yak. Meanwhile, I guess I will never get to hear my cat say “I love you.” 🙂


      2. The “I love you” is pretty compelling. My mom insists one of her cats used to call her “mama,” but it’s really not quite the same.


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