Pugs and Bugs

20080316-274

Critter lover.

Let me preface by saying: I’m not stupid about Boobaby and animals. I don’t let her charge strange dogs or hold spiders bigger than an inch or so. But I do encourage her around animals and that makes her bold to a fault.

You see, I got in trouble at the playground today for letting Boo pet a wandering pug. It was without owner and without collar, but clean and well-behaved — a runaway family pet. I approached the dog first and after the sniff-my-hand niceties, I poked it a few times, gave it a bear hug, and scratched it near the tail, all potentially enraging actions that I was sure Boobaby was about to engage in, since that’s how she is with dogs. The dog was cool, so I let Boo chase it around.

“You shouldn’t have that dog off-leash in here,” one mom told me.

20080316-272

Did you think it was real? Even for a second?

“Oh, it’s not my dog, I think it just wandered in,” I replied, scratching it between the eyebrows to make its thighs quiver. The mom looked scandalized, but I’m not sure what she wanted me to do. Call Animal Care and Control? Find a rope and tie it up? Slide the poor pooch down the helter-skelter? (Actually, that last one was Boobaby’s idea.)

Boobaby’s going to get bit some day, by a bug or by a goat or by a snake. I’ve been bitten by horses and birds and seals and ladybug larvae, and I’ve not only survived but learned better through the experience about how not to get bit. You can’t learn to use a knife with the respect it’s due except by using a knife, danger and all. Animals are the same way.

So I’m not stupid when it comes to animals and my daughter — in fact, I’m doing the best I can to introduce them as often as possible.