Our Dad, the “Ogre”
After seven years of begging for a dog, my brother Matthew and I wore dad (a Tony Curtis lookalike) down when we were 12 and 15, respectively. However, there were conditions…
Dad wrote a manifesto before we could obtain a “mass of yelping fur.”
MY POSITION, STATEMENT, ABOUT DOGS, PLUS LISTS OF WILL-NOTS…
For various reasons, I have not wanted a dog. I don’t think Mother wants one either, but it’s easier to make Father an ogre. I don’t want a dog because a dog will tie us down more than we are already tied down. When we go away, not only do we have to find a place for birds, but we will have to find a place for a dog because motels don’t allow dogs and you can’t bring dogs along when you visit out-of-town relatives and friends.
Dogs bring fleas into a home. If a dog leaves for a couple of weeks (to stay in a kennel, for instance, while we’re away) he leaves behind, in the home, his fleas, who multiply all over the place, meaning the house will have to be fumigated or we must learn to live with fleas. Michael is allergic to dogs and I may or may not be and so may Andrew, who also has allergies.
Dogs often destroy drapes, furniture, p##s, s##t and vomit on floors and rugs. Our house is smelly without a dog; it will be EVEN SMELLIER with a dog. Dogs are expensive: all kinds of shots; various visits to vets; food; kennel costs. If a dog comes into this house, the following is a list of things I will not do:
1. I will not feed, walk, clean up after, open a door for, shove pills down a throat of, take him to a vet or kennel, give him a drink, etc. to any dog brought into this house.
2. I will not pay for anything (kennel costs, vet costs, food costs, initial cost of dog, etc.) relating to said dog. The money must come from what you earn. Any dog food must be paid for separately and must not be a part of the total grocery bill. Nothing will be paid from the checking account. If Mother wants to pay by, by check for anything dog-related, then she must open a checking account of her own.
I REPEAT: NOT IN CASH OR IN CHECK WILL I OR ANYONE (MEANING MOTHER) TAKE MONEY FROM MY PERSONAL EARNINGS!
3. I will not transport said dog anywhere — not to a kennel, not to a friend’s house; nor will I pick said dog up from anywhere.
4. If we go away, I will not look for a place for him to stay.
5. Said dog will be kept out of my study and out of our bedroom at all times. These are sacred places that I want to keep free from fleas and vermin.
6. There are days when I am working at home alone and said dog will whine at the door to go out and to go to the bathroom. I will not open the door to let him out because I already said I would not open or close doors for said dog. Said dog will just have to p##s or s##t on the floor and, as you know, I will NOT be cleaning it up.
I AM QUITE SERIOUS ABOUT ALL THE ABOVE AND ABOUT ANYTHING ELSE THAT I MAY HAVE FORGOTTEN TO SAY. I WANT TO HEAR NOTHING ABOUT SAID DOG’S PROBLEMS. HIS COSTS, ETC. NOR WILL I STAND TO LISTEN TO HIS WHINES OR BARKINGS. I HEAR ENOUGH SCREAMING IN THIS HOUSE. TO BACK UP ALL THE ABOVE, I WILL SIGN THIS AND KEEP IT IN THE STRONGBOX FOR ANY FUTURE REFERENCES!!!
[signed:] Rocco L. Fumento
A couple days later, we adopted a miniature black poodle puppy and named him Brutus. We adopted him from the wonderful Judith Parker and her equally wonderful daughters, Johnna & Sabrina (friends to this day)!
Within a week, Brutus had melted our dad’s “ogre” heart to become the son dad always wanted.0