Sunday, May 09, 2010
Happy Dog Gone Mothers Day
Kids are Dogs, Teens are Cats
I just realized that while children are dogs ... loyal and affectionate ...
teenagers are cats.
It's so easy to be a dog owner. You feed it, train it, boss it around. It
puts its head on your knee and gazes at you as if you were a Rembrandt
painting. It bounds indoors with enthusiasm when you call it.
Then around age 13, your adoring little puppy turns into a big old cat.
When you tell it to come inside, it looks amazed, as if wondering who
died and made you emperor. Instead of dogging your doorstep, it
disappears. You won't see it again until it gets hungry ... then it pauses
on its sprint through the kitchen long enough to turn its nose up at
whatever you're serving. When you reach out to ruffle its head, in that
old affectionate gesture, it twists away from you then gives you a blank
stare, as if trying to remember where it has seen you before.
You, not realizing that the dog is now a cat, think something must be
desperately wrong with it. It seems so antisocial, so distant, sort of
depressed. It won't go on family outings. Since you're the one who
raised it, taught it to fetch and stay and sit on command, you assume
that you did something wrong. Flooded with guilt and fear, you redouble
your efforts to make your pet behave.
Only now you're dealing with a cat, so everything that worked before
now produces the opposite of the desired result. Call it and it runs
away. Tell it to sit and it jumps on the counter. The more you go toward
it, wringing your hands, the more it moves away.
Instead of continuing to act like a dog owner, you can learn to behave
like a cat owner. Put a dish of food near the door and let it come to
you. But remember that a cat needs your help and your affection too.
Sit still and it will come, seeking that warm, comforting lap it has not
entirely forgotten. Be there to open the door for it.
One day your grown-up child will walk into the kitchen, give you a big
kiss and say, "You've been on your feet all day. Let me get those dishes
Then you'll realize your cat is a dog again.