A few weeks ago, I sat in a room full of mothers who shared a common misery:  we all had a dog.

Just minutes earlier we had been chatting happily about the Joys of Our Children at Christmas, but that convo had quickly spiraled down into the Hassle of Our Kids at the Holidays.  This topic naturally morphed into a heated discussion about Kids and Their Dogs–and the mothers who are guilted into buying the second for the first.  We went around the circle, complaining about our respective canines in turn, interrupting each other just enough to point out that each of us was, in fact, faring worse than the others.

“Your dog chewed up your Uggs?  Big deal–mine chewed up my laptop.”

“Your dog pooped on the tile?  Big deal–mine peed on the carpet.”  (Try cleaning that up.)

“Your dog jumps up on strangers?  Big deal–mine sniffs the crotches of strangers.”  (Excuse the vulgarity, reader, but is there any other way of putting it?)

The final consensus among the group was:  My Dog May Be Worse Than Your Dog, But Boy Do We All Have It Bad.  Listening to the collective commiseration, I wondered how, and why, we’d each allowed ourselves to be trapped in this perverse situation.  None of us had ever wanted a dog and yet somehow–though we were the mistresses of our homes and the masters of our destinies–we’d all ended up with one.  Worse still, each and every one of us had been warned, emphatically and repeatedly by our fellow mom-dog-victims, about the demise of a female’s dignity once that key was turned.  Man’s Best Friend?  More like Woman’s Worst Enemy.

dog2

So, though we complained bitterly against this new lot in life, we couldn’t say that no one told-us-so.  Many people had told us so, we’d just refused to listen.  Each one of us had been certain, after hearing our our forebears collective tales of woe, that our dog experience would be better.  Our kids’ were more responsible, we’d told ourselves in smug silence.  Our marriages were more functional, our characters more robust.

And, most importantly,