It has become apparent over the past few weeks that the dogs in my life have banded together to coordinate a targeted campaign against me. Their goal? A puppy in our home. Their tactics? Being as cute as possible. It’s not me they should be targeting. It’s the big guy who lives in our home and who hates all dogs, even the cute little puppies. I don’t know. It’s like he’s got some sort of genetic defect or something. What I’m trying to say is: give it up, dogs. There’s no way we’re getting a dog in this house. Unless we get rid of the husband/father in this house and that’s not happening. He earns too much money. You can keep being cute, dogs, but it’s pointless. It won’t work.
Look, it’s not like I don’t like dogs. My family always had dogs when I was growing up. We had pets of all flavors, including cats, birds, turtles, fish, and hermit crabs. The dogs were the best, though. (Shhh. Don’t tell the cats. They’re already snooty.) We had a cocker spaniel named Cinnamon who was a moron, if I remember correctly, and who went to live with my aunt after awhile. She would howl whenever we sang Happy Birthday at parties. The cocker, not my aunt. We had two loving, gentle, and very smart Golden Retrievers named Shannon and Abby (short for Abacab Genesis). Shannon was a red Golden, on the smaller side. We adopted her full-grown as a rescue and she gave us the love only a rescued pet can give. She was the perfect dog, and she was even a great mentor when we got Abby as a pup. Both of those dogs put up with receiving a ton of kid hugs, being used as pillows, and racing around the house. They loved playing fetch, and Abby would make a true game of it by forcing me to work to get the tennis ball out of her mouth. One day I had the brilliant idea to throw a second ball, which would make her drop the first. Or so I thought. Dang dog came trotting back with both balls in her mouth, tail wagging away, refusing to relinquish either one. Shannon had problems with her velvety ears as she got older. They would fill with pockets of blood and we’d take her to the vet and they’d drain the blood, stitch the ear flaps flat again, and stick her in the cone of shame to keep her from pawing at them. My little sister, who was probably about six at the time, thought it was a terrible shame that Shannon had to wear the cone. It was so…ugly. Katie set out to brighten Shannon’s world and soon the cone was covered with just about every sticker imaginable. Shannon must have thought she was on some sort of LSD trip every time she opened her eyes in the cone, but she bore her disability with grace and dignity.
My gran had two dogs: Tippy and Cocoa, both mutts. Tippy was larger and a bit on the dopey side. Friendly enough but not very snuggly. He reminded me of my gramps: reliable and steadfast, but short on the warm and fuzzies except in dire emergencies. Cocoa was a small, chocolate-colored terrier mix with a giant personality and paws that faced primly out when he sat on his haunches. My cousin and I decided he was aristocratic. On my dad’s side, my aunt Joann had a giant dog named Harley who looked fierce and was the world’s biggest teddy bear. My other aunt Peggy had a small, yappy dog named Napoleon, which was the perfect name for his outsized ego. We called him Napo. He was a bit of a moron, too, but he had swagger and made up for intellectual deficiency with attitude and spirit. My step-mom had two chows at one point, mean as heck and with bad attitudes. I stayed away from them as much as possible, and then one of them bit the pool man and off they went. Savage beasts. I don’t really consider those dogs true dogs. They were simply jerks to be avoided, much as we all experience people like that in our daily lives.
Dogs were always part of my family and part of my extended family. Our neighbors had dogs, our friends had dogs. The love we received from these animals more than made up for the mess, the hassle, and the inconvenience being a pet owner sometimes entails. Dogs can melt your heart, make you laugh, and pick you up when you’re feeling blue. I doubt I’ll ever have one again and I’m okay with that. I had the joy of experiencing the unconditional love of my dogs and I have great memories. Besides, with dogs like these in my life, why would I need to get one for myself? So you can keep laying on the cuteness, dogs. You can keep melting my heart and making me laugh. I’ll take it all in and return the love with belly scratches and ear rubs and Instagram pictures. Just don’t expect one of your furry little friends to come home with me.