Big news in the Chivers household. After an 8+ year process, during which I have given birth to 2 American citizens, my husband and I are now Green Card holders. Quite rightly this will be a big cause for celebration, except that – I now have to get a dog! Not a USCIS requirement, I’ve simply run out of excuses.
From practically the first time she saw an episode of Blues Clues, Mo has been dog mad. At one point it was quite literally almost impossible to get a single word out of her other than woof. When she started school one of the kids was heard to say, I really like Mo, but I hate those dogs! She is obsessed. Whilst other girls fill their dress-up boxes with princess outfits and jewels, hers is filled with assorted dog ears, masks and costumes. She reads dog books, makes dog pictures, watches dog movies, eats dog snacks – well not quite, but I bet she would if she could.
We have bought her all kinds of expensive and impressive electronic versions that bark, wag their tails, do tricks, even pee, but she is not to be swayed. She wants the real, tail wagging, trick performing, leg cocking deal!
My original excuse was that having cared for two babies with their stinky diapers, I had already dealt with all the poop I was going to in this lifetime. But even the chore of having to pick up poop herself will not deter her.
When Flo was born we argued that we couldn’t get a dog while she was a baby. Then as she grew, surreptitiously whispering into Flo’s ear, “not too close in case he bites”, every time we came within 3 foot of a dog, helped enforce the argument that it wasn’t fair to get a dog when Flo was so scared of them. But Mo outsmarted me, as Flo got older and started to crave the attention of Mo, she would grace Flo with her company, but only to play doggies. And when Flo cried she would sneak Flo, one of her cutest, softest toy dogs. She’s a master strategist, I never stood a chance.
Finally, when she was around 5 or 6, with all arguments exhausted I simply bought myself some time. “You can have one when you’re 7, when you’ll be old enough to look after it. Man that 7 year old birthday came around quick. “So I’m going to be 7 soon, when are we getting a dog?”
I guess around this time, the hubby and I were probably knee deep in the frustratingly slow process of our Green Card applications and my next argument presented itself like an epiphany. “You know it wouldn’t really be fair for us to get a dog until we know for absolute certain that we can stay in the US. Just imagine how upsetting it would be to have to leave it behind or how sad the dog would be to be taken to the adoption center.” Cruel beyond words, I know, but I was desperate.
So for now, despite our relief at finally knowing we’re here for good, I’m trying to keep my glee on the down low. But eventually she will ask the question “do you have that thing yet that says we can stay?” and being the responsible parent I am, I will be unable to lie and then my friends it’s game over! Unless – “Hello little doggy – oh hang on my eyes are watering, my nose is itching - oh no I must be allergic!”