For years I wanted a dog. One of my first memories is the tail of my big, massive yellow lab knocking me to the ground again and again. Pluto was a faithful and true companion, suffering the adolescence of his boy: I peed on him once (got a spanking), stuck him with a fish hook once (on accident), and tried to ride him like a pony. I watched him age until he looked like a noble lion. I held him in my arms as he took his last breath.
Moving from an apartment to a house three years ago made made dog ownership a possibility. I recently polled my Facebook friends, seeking the pros (good friend, always loves you, fun to play with) and cons (chew everything, poop and pee everywhere, hair everywhere, ruined home value!) of dog ownership .
Analytics went out the window when I saw his little puppy face. Tiny, sleepy and yellow, I knew he was the one. I bought him, all of 8 weeks old.
2 months later, he is no longer sleepy or as little. Still hindsight tells me it was a fantastic decision.
I love coming home to him. When he sees me through the sliding glass door his excitement is palpable. He can barely contain his little puppy self. Wiggle, Wiggle, Wiggle, Wiggle. Wiggle. His whole body says “I MISSED YOU AND I WAS BORED AND I’M SO HAPPY YOU ARE HERE.”
He smells nice. He cuddles with me. He chases a ball like there is no tomorrow. He sits and shakes like a proper gentleman.
Yes, he is expensive. He got worms and the accompanying vet bills. He eats lots. He bites everything like a zombie. He poops in my yard. He poops on my deck. He poops the grossest poops I’ve ever seen, stinking and shapeless yet disturbingly alive looking.
Sometimes he won’t come, and just sits and looks at me instead. He has a bad habit of jumping on everyone he sees.
But all of that is outweighed by his love and companionship.
Training him is a blast. I love imagining what he thinks. It goes like this:
I hold a treat in my hand.
“Yummy! Let me sniff it! Let me sniff it! Yummy! Let me eat it! Ahhhhhhh!”
Sit, I say.
“Sit.... Sit.... If I put my butt down I can eat it? If I put my butt down I can eat it!’”
Shake I say, grabbing his paw.
“Mmmm tasty flesh. Will eat, mmm, Oh wait that’s his paw. Don’t eat his paw. Don’t do it. So hungry... Don’t do it! Must bite!”
No! I yell
“Noooooooo! He said noooooo! I hate that word! Noooooo! He’s grabbing my paw! My butt is down why am I not eating! I’m so hungry! I’ll gnaw my own paw to ease the pain.”
Shake, I say, grabbing his paw.
“I don’t want to eat my own paw! I want the treat! My butt is down, look I’ll wiggle it!”
“Ah ha... If I put my paw here... I get the treat.... Very devious. Very humiliating! I’ll never give.... TREAT YUM! I’ll shake!! FEED ME FEED ME, OH GOD YES!”
I imagine things like this all the time.