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Archive for June, 2011

Part of Speech:   n

Definition:   a mother or father that hovers over a child; an overprotective parent; also helicopter mom, helicopter dad

Example:   We seem to live in the time of helicopter parents.

Etymology:  1991 Usage:   slang

Replace “child” with “dog” and that’s me. I’m not going to deny it. I’d blame it on the fact that our last adopted dog had a multitude of issues, but I’m pretty sure that regardless of our dog-owning history, I’d still be a helicopter parent.

Let me back up though. After a year of doglessness, and against our better judgment, Jay and I decided to adopt again. Or rather, Jay sent me pictures of pathetic-looking dogs on Pet Finder until I caved and inquired about a female named Shadow, who looked like a black German Shepherd dog. Before I could even say “German Shepherd Dog,” our application was approved, and the shelter was asking me when they could transport Shadow up to us (she was in Tennessee). We had two long weeks to prepare: we bought a bunch of stuff and recycled some of Max’s old stuff, like his enormous 200 dollar crate. The day finally came for us to drive down to Connecticut and fetch Shadow. Jay and I eagerly approached the transport fellows and let them know we were there for Shadow, the German Shepherd.

“German Shepherd?” one of the guys said. “I don’t think so!”

And then Shadow came barreling out of the trailer. The guy was right. If Shadow is a German Shepherd, then I’m a nun. She was short and stocky, ears plastered back on her head. But she seemed sweet, and there was no way we’d be sending her back down to Tennessee on that awful trailer. So, she came with us back to Worcester.

Fast-forward two months and we’re back to today. Shadow has wriggled her little lab/shepherd mix self into our hearts. She’s our four-legged furry child. She’s spoiled as all hell: she gets premade raw meals, endless chew toys, tons of love and affection, and lots of fun trips in the car to various parks and trails.

She even gets to come with me to work, which is where it was pointed out to me (in some words) that I’m a helicopter parent. Every time she leaves my desk, I follow her or call her back. I screen what coworkers give to her as treats, because I don’t want her ingesting stuff that’s the doggy-equivalent of McDonald’s. Coworkers know better than to ask me if they can walk her. Every time she coughs, I think she’s dying. If she shakes her head, I think she has an ear infection.

Letting her off-leash for the first time at the dog park undoubtedly gave me a few more grays. And even now, I get nervous if she goes beyond our line of sight, even though she’s never shown any propensity to run off or get herself into trouble. The first sessions of doggy daycare were likely more stressful for me than they were for her.

With all that hovering, you’d think Shadow would hate me. Thank goodness she’s not a human kid and loves me unconditionally.

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