Allison Plean: Mom's best friend

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For Mother's Day this year, I would like two new couches, two remote controls, five pairs of very expensive shoes, a new coffee table, a bathroom door, screen door, a couple of CDs and the movie "Sixteen Candles."

All of these items have been destroyed by my puppy.

All I signed up for was a devoted companion, a wagging tail at the end of a long day and something to take up my bed.

This Mother's Day, we need to honor another kind of unsung hero -- the single dog mom.

They are out there every day taking their babies on long hikes, working hard to put food in their bowls and sacrificing happy hours to come home and feed them. Some moms are even shamelessly using them to pick up men.

There are an estimated 10,000 dogs in Steamboat Springs, and the U.S. Census Bureau in 2000 states that the population is 9,815. That makes Steamboat a great market for lint rollers and carpet cleaners.

But no steam cleaner can help you when you walk downstairs to find a puppy present on your new white carpet 10 minutes before you have to be at work and five minutes before your landlord is coming over to fix the washing machine.

As much as I love my little Walter, I was not a fan of being woken up every morning at 5 a.m. for a week and a half to the sound of him vomiting on my bedroom floor.

I still remember that wonderful day when I picked up my 11-pound bundle of mayhem from the breeders. And I remember the feeling I got when I drove away from their house.

Holy crap. What did I do?

I am now completely responsible for another living thing. Like any new parent, we just try to provide the best life possible and try not to kill them (note -- be careful with the automatic windows in your car).

Single dog moms have to work hard to pay for vet bills, puppy preschool and new toys every time they decapitate and gut the ones you just bought them. There is no one to help the single dog mom when mom gets stuck at work and the dog accidentally traps himself in the bathroom and claws up the door trying to get out.

The worst thing about dog motherhood is all of those ridiculous e-mail forwards of dogs doing human things that your own mother sends you to clog your inbox.

But there are more benefits than any single dog mom can measure in cuteness. There are those moments when you wake up and your dog is fast asleep with his head on your neck. Dogs always make you laugh when they get super annoyed at you for tickling their feet. And it's definitely a perk when you realize that you have lost weight because you take your dog on so many walks.

I promised I wasn't going to become one of those moms who talks about her dog all the time and lets him on the furniture. But who can resist a little cuddle puppy who wiggles his toes and makes cute noises when he's dreaming?

Single dog moms don't need cards or flowers or replacements for all the things they destroyed. Every day we get rewarded by the satisfaction of watching our dogs grow up to be our loving and dedicated companions. And every day we get to come home to the wagging tails of our best friends.

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