Book excerpt

Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog

The Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman

Lisa Scottoline; Read by the author

Macmillan Audio

WHY MY THIRD HUSBAND WILL BE A DOG (Chapter 1)

Of Dogs and Men

I'm old enough to remember Ozzie and Harriet, which means that my idea of the nuclear family was born in the 1950s and never quite grew up. By that I mean, a family has a Mommy, a Daddy, and two kids. And a dog.

Run, Spot, run!

We all know that the nuclear family has changed, but what's interesting to me is that nobody has just one dog anymore.

I'm not sure when it started, but all of the people who used to have a family dog now have family dogs. I myself have a full herd--three golden retrievers and one Pembroke Welsh corgi, who rules us all. Multiple dogs used to be thought of as crazy. Fifteen years ago, when I used to walk two dogs in the city, people asked me if both dogs were mine. Now I walk four and nobody raises an eyebrow.

This is true on TV as well. More and more, we see two dogs chowing down in Iams commercials, side-by-side. The Dog Whisperer, Cesar Milan, spends many of his episodes trying to get all of us crazies with multiple dogs to live happily together.

So when exactly did people start acquiring multiple dogs?

And why?

Before you answer, consider another phenomenon, which I'm sense is related. What caused the nuclear family to blow up was that people started getting divorced like crazy. All of a sudden, the divorces began to pile up. I don't mean across-the-country, I mean in one person. People I met had acquired second and third divorces almost as easily as they had acquired second and third dogs. At some point, the third divorce became the new second divorce. No one even bothered to count their first divorce. People didn't tell their third set of kids about it. It happened so long ago, you could easily forget.

Nowadays, even normal people are on their second divorce. People like me, for example. I have two ex-husbands, Thing One and Thing Two. To be honest, I used to be embarrassed about being divorced twice. When people asked me if I was married, I would simply answer, "No, I'm divorced." Okay, technically it was the truth, but lawyers would call it a material omission. Sooner or later, my pathetic personal history would spill out, and I'd be busted.

But recently, I was speaking at a library in California, and I met a lot of very nice women my age. And when I mumbled something about being divorced twice, one of them said, "Don't worry about it, honey, I'm divorced four times." And somebody else chirped up, "I'm on my third." And another chimed in, "I'm on my fifth!"

Boy, did that make me feel great! Er, I mean, it made me feel terribly concerned for the future of our nation and the American family.

And the funny thing is, many of these women had multiple dogs. Everyone I spoke with who had more than one dog also had more than one divorce. Some women had more divorces than dogs, others had more dogs than divorces. It makes you wonder which came first--the dog or the divorce?

Is the new dog acquired as a result of the new divorce? In other words, do we trade our husband in for a dog?

Or does getting yet another Yorkie lead to your fourth divorce?

Are we replacing stable human families with stable dog families?

You may think I'm comparing two unrelated things, but this really isn't so crazy when you consider that many women, myself included, sleep with their dogs on the bed. In fact, in my own case, three of my dogs sleep on what used to be my ex's side of the bed. Plus, dogs do a lot of the things husbands do; snore, toss and turn, and fart. And I think my corgi has restless leg syndrome.

I believe these things are related. From my side of the bed, I'm smelling a connection.

The only thing that's missing is the prenup.

WHY MY THIRD HUSBAND WILL BE A DOG. Copyright 2009 by Lisa Scottoline.

LISA SCOTTOLINE is the New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-winning author of sixteen novels. There are 25 million copies of her books in print in the United States, and she has been published in twenty-five countries. A single mom, she has been named a “Fun, Fearless Female” by Cosmopolitan magazine. She lives in Pennsylvania with her daughter Francesca and an array of disobedient pets.