Coming back from a trip to the South Bay a couple of weeks ago, I arrived late at night and pulled into the driveway. As I opened the garage, I was reminded that Cherise and the girls had gone up to her Mom’s for the holidays. I parked and came inside, but everything was quiet. Strangely, the absence of sound that startled me had nothing to do with the kids. Where was the barking? Where was the speeding pitter patter of four legs sprinting to greet me? I was actually a little disappointed. It was then that the truth hit me.
The dog has won me over.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve always liked dogs, even though I find myself occasionally dealing with allergies. But before Tiger Lily, I never owned a dog before and went through lots of conflicting thoughts on whether I thought it was a good idea. As any good man would do in that situation, I pawned the decision off on my wife. I kept telling Cherise that it was her call. I figured she’d end up doing a lot of the work since I’d be at work and the girls would be at school and likely tire of their chores later anyway. Heck, they’d probably get bored with it like their toys, right? Cherise dealt with the same conflicting thoughts, but just over a year ago, she finally relented. We went out, found a crazy, jumpy dog and completed the family. Tiger Lily was the newest Khaund. That was a year ago today and I braced for the added responsibilities and inevitable trouble that she would cause.
Then something funny happened. The dog changed everything.
I am amazed by the increase in responsibility of the kids. But more importantly, I’m amazed at the capacity of the girls to love this dog–and the fact that it grows every day. They take turns waking up early with the dog and feeding it breakfast, while Cherise and I get an extra half hour sleep. At their age, I would’ve complained about losing 10 minutes of sleep, not to mention a half hour. But the girls (particularly Robyn) love it. Iris continually does Tiger Lily imitations, carefully observing the dog and then forcing us to watch her mimic the nuanced mannerisms of the dog when she’s just resting on the floor. Robyn needs a hug every night from the dog before she goes to bed. When the girls get ready to head off to school, I pick up Tiger Lily, hold her with one hand near my head, and make a majestic declaration “Floaty Dog!” (think Mighty Mouse voice). After they get in the car or get on their bikes, I have her wave her paw as the car pulls away. It’s a tradition now and I can’t stop. When the girls get home, they sprint to find Tiger Lily and start playing with her. Robyn used to keep asking for a baby sister. I don’t know about Cherise, but she doesn’t ask me any more (which is good, because she ain’t getting one). The girls still have bouts of laziness and Cherise often has to deal with the leftover work, but they’ve been better than I expected and just seeing some of the new behaviors convinces me that Tiger Lily was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.
And I confess–I love her too. Granted, it’s extra work and there are times when she’s more than a little mischievous, but when she climbs on my legs and curls up when I sitting in a recliner with my laptop, it’s my new definition of home–and I think that goes for the rest of the family. “Man’s best friend”? I think it’s safe to say she’s a Khaund’s best friend. Happy anniversary, Tiger Lily..