Celebrating Two Men In My Life

Katie Young
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Wednesday - June 14, 2006
| Del.icio.us

This week it’s time for me to celebrate two “men” in my life: my father and Mr. Pono, the wiener dog.

This Sunday will be a doubly special occasion as the 18th is not only Father’s Day, but also Mr. P’s five-year birthday.

My dad and my dog have more to do with each other than you might think.

It took years for me to convince my father to let me have a dog. We both have allergies to animal hair so the idea of having an indoor pet was not terribly appealing to him.

He had let me have just about every animal under the sun when I was growing up - as long as they lived outside.

I think my father had no defense against my big brown eyes and the long eyelashes I inherited from him when I was little. Even though he’d always say, “No more pets; I only end up taking care of them myself,” each time we’d pass by a pet store, it took only one tug of his shirttail and a couple of Katie tears for me to be riding home with a new furry friend in a cardboard box.

I coerced my dad into three bunnies, 12 cats, a frog, two mice, two cockatiels, one very big dog and about 100 fish when I was growing up. And my dad did end up taking care of the whole family farm, never wanting to say no to his little girl, who just loved anything small and cuddly.

So when, at 21, I announced that I wanted to get a wiener dog, after I fell in love with our neigh-bor’s loveable sausage of a dog, Ho Ho, my father was finally standing firm: “No more pets!”

For almost four years I’d excitedly scream, “Wiener dog!!!!” each time we’d spot one walking on the sidewalk, but it was to no avail.

“No more pets, and especially none in the house!” said my dad.

Until, that is, when I was about to turn 25. I had just broken up with my boyfriend and, as loving fathers do, my dad took pity on my broken heart, announcing one day that I could begin the search for a wiener dog.

Well, I wasted no time. My mother and I went to the Puppy Swapmeet at Petland Kahala the very next day. I had a list of specifics already in mind: I wanted a short-haired, black-andtan mini-dachshund.

For some reason that day, there weren’t many breeders showing their dogs at Petland. We arrived to find just one man and his son standing by a cage with a lone puppy in it.

“Maybe the rest of the dogs are inside?” my mom said.

As we approached the door, my mom gasped, grabbed my arm and said, “Katie, LOOK!!!”

The one lone puppy was standing at the front of his cage, wagging his tail at us. He looked like a Daschund. To be certain we asked the owners. “It’s a mini-Daschund, a boy, short-haired,” said the owner. “We’ve only had him a week, but we need to give him up because our son is too young to handle such a small puppy.”

I was convinced at this point that this puppy was fated to be mine, so we took him home immediately, where he proceeded to run laps around the living room.

It was rough for my father in the beginning. He had a very mild allergic reaction to Pono, but more so, he had to deal with Pono peeing on the rug, chewing on the furniture and getting into everything imaginable in the kitchen. (This time, however, I learned to clean up after my pet myself.)

Dad still helps, as he always has, when I have to leave town on a trip, however. He’ll clean up after Pono-Boy, feed him and keep him company. And even though he won’t snuggle him as I do, I know Pono has grown on my father more than he might admit.

I know this because my dad willingly dog-proofs the house, worries when he ingests deadly Hershey’s Kisses, buys the best rug cleaners, laughs at Pono’s silly antics and buys me books for “Mother’s Day” about how to “control your pet.”

And every so often, I’ll walk into a room to find my father bending down, having a conversation with Mr. P, who seems completely engrossed in what Dad has to say.

These two “men” bring much joy to my life. They are both there to wipe away my tears, to keep me safe, make me laugh and love me unconditionally. So you see, they have more in common than you might think.

To Dad and dog: Here’s to celebrating you and all you do this Sunday. I am so very grateful for you both.

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