My son and daughter-in-law went on a weekend vacation the last few days and my wife and I volunteered to keep their new dog. He’s a full-grown rescue, not a puppy, and looks like a mid-sized mongrel mutt of black, white, and a little brown. His name is Calvin. My family had dogs when I was little, not always with good results (runaways, one got run over), but it’s been 50 years plus since I had any doggy care and feeding responsibilities. We’ve had cats during my married life.

All the cliches are true. The dog craves affection and is (usually) very obedient. He likes to play. He cringes when scolded. He poops in the yard, or, alternatively, when we walk him. Poop scooping takes some getting used to when you haven’t done it for a few decades. Our cat is pretty affectionate for a cat, but that’s a whole different ballpark. His affection is generally intended to get us to feed him or do some other chore. He’s easier to take care of, that’s for sure. He pees and poops somewhere we’ve never figured out, but it’s not in our yard or in his litter box. The dog ate our hamburger buns when we weren’t looking. It’s a good thing my wife didn’t leave the patties out on the counter. She normally does let them warm up to room temperature before I put them on the barbecue. The cat won’t touch anything we eat, even chicken or fish, although he has brought us mice, rats, birds and lizards, usually disemboweled, occasionally alive.

We’ve really enjoyed the affection and playfulness of the dog this weekend, but we’ll also be glad to let him go back to the kids. If this is practice for grandchildren, I’m all for it.