I wrote this piece for Fast Company shortly after Briscoe peed on the floor early in the morning, which made me late for my gym class and then was followed by a fight with Steve wherein he told me how sad it made him to hear me describe how irritating I found the dog these days and I told him it made me mad that he said that, because all I wanted was a little bit of commiseration, not to be told I was a bad guy.
This issue has irrationally bothered me in the past: I'd talk shit about the dog or the cats and Steve or somebody else would imply that expressing verbal frustration about an animal was basically the equivalent to abuse. Somebody once told me that we should rehome our cats because I disliked having them so much (I actually was not involved at all in their care, primarily because I'm quite allergic to cats, so my interactions with them were mostly limited to observing their errant pees and hairballs.) Anyway, they are rehomed now, with Steve's kind parents, who are indeed finding much more joy in living with them than Steve and I did, so they had a happy ending (not that they had an unhappy beginning.)
I would never have thought that the Humane Society, of all places, would be the place to find reassrance that saying angry things about your pet (not, obviously, screaming in its ear or the like) is ultimately not that big a deal. When you think about people who throw cats out the window or practice dogfighting or hoard animals, that's actual animal cruelty. Briscoe is still treated extremely well, even if I just don't find as much joy in taking care of him right now. I hope that'll change when we move into our new house, which has a back yard and more space (and I'm also being proactive because I know it's a given that he's going to try to pee in the house and that will drive me insane so I'm investigating ways to circumvent that.) It's not fun cleaning up dog piss and it's just not fun being mad, either.
I started writing the piece thinking that it was going to be fairly polarizing, and I'm sure there will be some people who say I'm a bad person after reading it, but I felt better after writing it in a way that I didn't expect. I'm not alone (which I already suspected), but it was also nice hearing I'm not so bad after all. (Just kind of bad.)