CALDARE | Take My Dog, Please | Opinion






Jon Caldara


I don’t hate my dog. But if he got lost and I binge-watched Netflix, I should really motivate myself to go find him.

Yes. I called it “it”. Not my choice. It’s his favorite pronoun.

Why do I have this dog? For the same reason, I and so many men like me are broke. Because I have a daughter.

Oh, I don’t have a dog because I love my daughter. I have a dog because I’m weak to his cruel daddy manipulation powers. I gladly let her play me like a violin. It’s been 19 years since she fell victim to her Jedi tricks.

There should be a haven for abused fathers where daughters cannot find them.

When my daughter was very young, she kept begging us for a dog. We kept dithering, “Once your little brother is clean, we’ll have a dog.”

Instead of a dog, we asked her for a divorce, which I thought she would like even more!

Of course, she understood the pressures of a newly single father and his need not to care for another living being under a roof he cannot afford. (That’s sarcasm, for you non-parents)

The dog’s pressure was building like a dam, so I took decisive action. I caught him a fish. When he died I had to find a fish that looked like him and beat the school bus home.

She looked at the replacement fish and could tell something was different. “You know, Dad, this new fish food really works, his coat looks better.” I lived to fight another day.

But my daughter is stubborn (which I’m sure she gets on her mother’s side). She wouldn’t let go. I bought him a gerbil. And then because I’m made of steel whenever my girlfriend is concerned, she was quickly joined by a guinea pig.

My son has Down Syndrome and loves animals much like Frankenstein’s monster loved the little boy he hugged to death. One day I get a phone call from the new babysitter with two kids screaming in the background like in a horror movie. She thinks my son may have killed the gerbil.

When I got home, my son looked at me and innocently said, “Broken bites?

And even after this emotional circus, I remained strong enough not to have a dog.

But eventually, with the patience and skill of a sniper, my daughter’s moment came: I told her I needed to be on a business trip on her birthday.

Lightsaber of Guilt, meet Darth Vader. And the last blow of the Jedi? Between sniffles, she moaned, “You know, Daddy, I’d rather cuddle a dog than a boy.” Yeah.

So, five minutes later, there are only three dogs at the pound.

One of them is missing an eye, drools, claws its way through a chain link to eat me. The other was this maniacal quivering little dog. The moment I made eye contact with her, she froze and started to urinate.

So Gary (yes, God help me, his name was Gary), of whom they said (the same way Obama said if you like your health care plan, you can keep it), “oh , he shouldn’t lose much” comes home .

With my daughter’s chastity assured, I gained the power to be that annoying, smug dog owner and say, “Oh yeah, I saved him.” As if I had run into a burning building to catch him.

Well, that was many years ago, and I’ve been following Gary with a vacuum cleaner ever since.

Now, with my daughter in college, the dog is losing its ever-loving spirit, peeing on things, and chewing up half my house. I keep telling him that since meat prices skyrocketed in Governor Jared Polis’ Colorado, it’s time to harvest Gary. She tells me I need to give Gary more attention like she used to, 20 minute sessions of intense cuddling and baby talk where he can see your face.

Why tell you all this? If this dog is a deranged wreck because he can’t see my daughter’s face for 20 minutes, what kind of emotional problems await our children? They haven’t been able to see the faces of their unmasked teachers for over two years.

And, unlike Gary, they have opposable thumbs.

Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute of Denver and hosts “The Devil’s Advocate with Jon Caldara” on Colorado Public Television Channel 12. His column appears on Sundays in Colorado Politics.

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