Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Happy Birthday

Yesterday was Duncan's birthday. Well, I don't actually know whether that's true. He didn't come with papers or any helpful information, like a warning label that said "YOU WILL NOT SLEEP FOR THE NEXT THREE MONTHS."

The vet looked at his teeth and assumed he was born in early to mid November 2016. That made Duncan about 12 weeks old at the time, and the absolute perfect size to fit into a baby onesie.

We decided his birthday would be November 11th because 11-11 was easy to remember and because Duncan really enjoys symmetry.

We usually try to have an actual birthday party for our dog who is incapable of understanding what a birthday is. We invite his friends. We make him a dog-awful cake. We make everyone in attendance go around the room and deliver an individualized monologue about why Duncan is important to them as he sprints around the room and tries to get someone to throw the ball for him.

It's a whole ordeal that we refuse to be embarrassed about.

But, I don't know. Despite all of that, yesterday we finally crossed a line that caused me to wonder if we might be crazy.

We've been very busy and the birthday just sort of crept up on us. Suddenly it was the morning of 11-11. Skylar had left for school or an affair or terrorism or something before I even woke up.

I showered, gave Duncan so much tickles and kisses, and then left for work. Just as I was pulling into the parking garage of my office building it occurred to me that it was Duncan's birthday and I hadn't said a damn word to him about it before I left the house.

It was just like in 16 Candles.

The guilt I felt in that moment was so ridiculous you could see it from space. I texted Skylar: "I LEFT THE HOUSE AND DIDN'T EVEN TELL DUNCAN HAPPY BIRTHDAY."

Seconds later the phone rang. It was Skylar. He had made it back home and said he had me on speaker phone. He then led the two of us in an enthusiastic round of "Happy Birthday."

It's the loudest I've ever sung the song.

A coworker walked by my car, which I was still sitting in, as this was happening. He smiled and waved at me, probably assuming I was not singing to an animal who doesn't even know what music is.

When we finished the song we both just sat in silence for a few seconds, Skylar at the house, me in the car. Then Skylar spoke.

"Is there something wrong with us?"

"Yes, Sky. We forgot the cake."

Happy birthday to my bouncy perfect three-year-old boy.

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. I never leave the house without giving my cats my itinerary, telling them to behave, sometimes putting one of them in charge, and telling them I love them. When I get home they greet me and tell me about their day. Seems perfectly normal to me.

  2. The Homohood of the Traveling T-shirt continues and this time to Duncan. It even looks smashing on him. It is magic!! Happy birthday Duncan Doodle!

  3. Also, they have doggie nanny cans with a two way speaker where you can check in on your dog and talk to them from your phone. It even dispenses a treat with the press of a button while you’re away. I really think this is something you should have registered for. #doggydaddyguilt

    1. The typo of “cans” instead of “cams” has me picturing soup cans with string.

    2. Dang autocorrect! We’ll also curse being lazy and not proofreading before hitting ‘publish’.

  4. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this

  5. Yep. The guy who ran home so he could put you on speaker phone to sing happy birthday to your puppy is definitely also the one sneaking out to have an affair while plotting terrorist acts at the dentist. But still, Skylar’s my favorite.

  6. I have two young kids and a lot of mornings I leave for work before they're awake. I feel mildly guilty but know they will be fine. On the other hand, I give my dog hugs and kisses every morning and tell her what time I will be home, and on the rare occasion where I got sidetracked and left without telling her goodbye, I have actually turned around and gone back to say bye to her because the guilt is so strong. There is nothing wrong with us; in fact I say there is something wrong with people who don't celebrate their dog's birthday!

  7. Happy birthday to the most precious pup!

  8. I kind of feel like this is a cliff hanger... Now I want to hear about the rest of his birthday!

  9. I'm gonna "not be rood" and wish Mr Duncan Doodle the happiest of birthdays!!