I had a learning experience a few weeks back. I managed to get invited to a dinner party at a new friend’s house. There were several girls there whom I have just begun hanging out with, and I was very excited to be meeting new people. While I had plenty of opportunities to socialize in Boston, my dance card has not been particularly full since moving to Raleigh.

I was invited to bring Charlie to this dinner party, which was also exciting, because he is the best dog ever. I met these girls at a dog park, so they’re all dog people, and dogs are fun to have around. Unfortunately, nobody else had brought their dog, to this dinner party; they’d all brought their husbands. So I was the weirdo who brought her dog. Also, the one resident dog of the house was a cute scrappy puppy that delighted in chasing Charlie around endlessly. Charlie is 7 years old, and as far as jumpy little puppies are concerned, he’s pretty much over them. Also he’s a big pansy. So I guess you could say he was a little stressed out when we arrived.

In any event, there I was, leaning against the counter in the kitchen enjoying a rustic Fall beer, buzzed from socializing and spinach dip, and telling my hosts how Charlie was pretty much the best dog ever and has never done anything wrong in his life, and I happen to look down, and Charlie is at my feet, balefully pooping on the kitchen floor.

It was one of those moments where you suddenly wonder if you are dreaming, or if what is happening before your eyes is real. Charlie really has never done anything like that before, but clearly the combination of new setting and frisky puppy had set him off. Plus, I guess he had to go.

I immediately had this lightning flash of what it must feel like to be a parent sometimes. Here is this tiny creature who is your ward. You love them to bits; you are responsible for keeping them out of trouble. Like it or not, their behavior is a reflection of you, and although they are close to you, they are not you, they are their own separate individual. This means that they are going to go off and do what they want a lot of the time, leaving you powerless to stop them and obligated to clean up the destruction (and poop) they leave in their wake. Yow.

In any event, it was a good thing I was in house full of dog people. Charlie’s kitchen shenanigans unleashed a flood of ‘oh don’t worry about it, one time MY dog pooped at this awkward time or in this horrible place’ stories, which were comforting, although my face remained red for awhile.

I remain on the fence about having children. Right now a dog is the perfect amount of love, trouble and energy for me. Plus I can curse in front of him.