I got my fourth dog last week. This one was an accident, an “oops” as I call her. It all began when my brother and sister-in-law fell in love with her last Mother’s Day.
How much is that doggie in the window? They asked the pet store owner.
Two days later, after no sleep and enough time to have buyer’s remorse, my brother decided he no longer wanted a dog. That’s when the three-month old cockapoo moved in with me, my three older dogs, my three older kids and my one older husband.
“I don’t want another effing dog!” said my husband.
“Foster care,” I said. “We won’t keep her for more than a week or two. We will find her a good home.”
I was holding the new baby in a sling across my body. She was asleep, snuggled deep into the grey nylon. “We are kangarooing,” I told my husband. I saw him staring at the baby sling draped over my sweats. He shook his head as he hit the elevator button.
“Sure,” he said as the elevator arrived to take him downstairs. “But I don’t want to come home and hear that you want to keep the dog,” he said. His cross body, black parachute man bag was slung over his navy suit the same way my nylon dog carrier was slung over my sweats.
I don’t want another dog,” I said as the elevator closed.
I wasn’t exactly lying.
The new puppy and I were cuddling when I picked up my phone to cancel lunch with a friend and most of my week’s plans and I saw that my sister-in-law was texting me.
I know a nice young couple who live near Prospect Park in Brooklyn. They love dogs and they are artists, home all day. It’s a perfect fit. She was absolved. She was thrilled.
“We may keep her,” I texted back. I went back to cuddling my puppy thrilled with the knowledge that I might keep her.
“Let’s name her Scout” said my kids as they ate an early dinner at 5pm that afternoon. Early dinner allows room in their stomachs for later dinner.
I went to bed still debating whether I would really keep this fourth dog. By 5am, when Scout cried to get out of her crate, I knew I was keeping her. I scooped up her 5 pound body and snuggled her under my covers. Scout wasn’t going to live in Millennial-enriched Brooklyn, or anywhere else. Scout was my fourth dog.
“We are keeping her,” I announced that morning to my three kids, three older dogs and husband. “UGH” they all said “of course you are.”
I could rationalize it. I could say she needed a good home and two of my dogs are more than 10 years old. I could say our two-year old dog needs a companion. But the truth is that I like babies and with my twin girls going to college, the appearance of a baby, animal or human, puts me back in the business of motherhood, and that is a place I love to be.
“She has four dogs” my girlfriend says to everyone we meet on our morning dog walks. She walks her shichon and I walk my toy poodle and my shichon. I carry my new cockapoo in the grey nylon carrier. “She has a fourth dog, a Havanese upstairs,” my good friend continues.
“Stop telling everyone I have four dogs.” I hiss as we walk away from an Upper East Sider walking her red-headed Cavalier King Charles two-year old puppy.
“I want everyone to know how strange you are” she replies good naturedly.
I am considered downgrading her from friend to frenemy.
But she is right. Even in a one percent world, I stand out as an oddity. Hedge Fund wives sport their fifth and sixth babies dangling off their arms, but I have yet to meet a fellow one-percenter with four dogs living in a New York City apartment.
“Don’t tell your parents” I say to my husband. “They already think I am crazy.”
“That’s for sure” he replies uncharitably.
“Are you the dog walker?” asked an elegant woman walking her six-month old Schnoodle.
“No” I answered, “They are all mine.”
“She has one more upstairs” says my friend, eager to see me squirm.
“Oh” says the schnoodle’s owner. “You have a farm.” And with that judgment, she turned her back and headed up Park Avenue.
Aphorism – Dog is G-d spelled backward.
Take Away – People will always judge and try to put us into a box. Resist the urge to follow.
FARM CAKE MUFFINS. These are so delicious and just like my four dogs, they are a guilty pleasure and way too much of a good thing. There is nothing healthy about these.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups water
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil – I use organic canola oil
- 2 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon vanilla paste which is amazing
- 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened (For vegans, use tofy cream cheese)
- 1 egg (for vegans use egg replacer)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips ( for vegans, use Enjoy Life chocolate chips)
- Set oven to 350 degrees
- Line muffin tins with with muffin papers or spray with Pam or Canola spray. Use the butter flavored.
- Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, and baking soda into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add water, oil, vinegar and vanilla.
- Beat medium speed for 3 minutes until well combined.
- Make the filling:
- In a large bowl cream the softened cream cheese. Add egg, sugar and salt and beat until smooth and thoroughly combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
- To make the farm cakes:
- Pour the cake batter into the muffin tins, filling each 2/3 full. Spoon 2 teaspoons of the filling into the center of each cake.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.