If you’ve been lucky enough to be loved by a dog, this will warm your heart.
I have a friend. Don’t be a smart-alec. Obviously, I have more than one friend, but this particular friend has a dog and…well, there’s just no nice way to say it… she’s one of those people. You know what I mean. The sort who goes around announcing to anyone who’ll listen that her dog is the best dog in the whole entire universe. Okay, so I do that, but those people are the characters who actually believe it, and we know that can’t be true, what with my Pudge in the picture and all.
Anyway, my friend has this dog. It’s one of those tiny, little, yappy things that weighs in at five, maybe ten pounds max. By the way, have you ever noticed those people (especially the kind who adopt tiny, little, yappy dogs) know exactly how much their dogs weigh? It’s never, “Oh Buttercup weighs around five pounds.” Nope. It’s more like,”Buttercup should weigh five pounds, but she only weighs four,” punctuated by a coquettish giggle, as if having a skinny dog implies the owner is likewise runway svelte. Normal people don’t know how much their dogs weigh. They just don’t. Take me for example. I know on any given day Pudge weighs somewhere between 38.2 and 39.6 pounds, but I never know her exact weight. Goodness knows, I love her like the dickens, but I’ve got too much going on to be weighing my dog more than once week. Sheesh.
Back to my friend and her dog whom I’ll call “Princess” (the dog, not my friend although her husband and kids might disagree). So a few months ago this friend posted a photo of “Princess” on facebook. “Princess” was wearing a tiny, little doggie New York Giants football jersey. As if dressing your dog in clothes isn’t bad enough, but a New York Giants football jersey? Seriously? And of all players, Eli Manning? What…were there no tiny, little doggie RG3 and Matt Ryan jerseys available? I mean if you’re going to put your dog in a football jersey, at least be sensible about it. The thing is this friend of mine is a good friend…a really good friend, as in childhood-through-college-roommate kind of friend. The sort of friend with whom you used to sit around, eating popcorn, making fun of those people, vowing never to become one, only now she has…become one.
I suppose it could be worse. This friend of mine could be one of those women who suddenly at age 40 decides it’s time to stop coloring her hair because it’s bad for the environment, who for some nonsensical-why-fight-gravity-reason quits wearing a bra, and once the last kid heads off to college, ends up fostering nine plus cats. Don’t get me wrong, I like cats as much as the next guy, but you have to admit there is a fine line separating odd from creepy, and grey-haired women with low-swagging bosoms who collect cats… Well, you get the picture.
I suppose if you’re going to become one of those people, it’s better to do it over a dog than a cat. For one thing, have you ever seen a cat in any sort of clothing? Of course not. And before you argue, those stupid collars with little bells on them don’t count. I’m talking cats in sweaters, raincoats, sunglasses, Halloween costumes. Think about it. You never see that and do you know why? It’s because cats don’t appreciate the attention, that’s why. In fact I’m pretty sure cats don’t even like people. We just come with the litter box. It’s true. Try having a conversation with a cat. Nothing. Try asking a cat for his opinion. Nada. But rest assured, you can always depend on your dog for reassurance.
I discovered this recently while trolling the aisles of Target. This really cute pink, brown, and yellow sweater caught my eye. I’m not usually an impulse buyer, but this sweater looked like it could have come from one of those trendy stores like Gap or United Colors of Beneton and the price was right so I grabbed it. The instant I left the store, I began to second-guess my impetuous purchase and so, immediately upon arriving home, took it out of the bag to get Pudge’s opinion on the matter. I should mention the stripes are horizontal, which any fashionista will tell you is a primo couture no-no, but Pudge agreed this sweater was an exception, and warranted purchasing. The point being, you can always depend on your dog for reassurance.
So, if you’re going to turn into one of those people, by all means do it over a dog and not a cat. Still, as cute a nugget as little “Princess” is, I am finding it difficult to reconcile with the idea that one of my very dearest friends has become one of those people. I can’t figure out how or when it happened, but it did. I suppose I just ought to be grateful it isn’t me.
I love my dog, Pudge. What’s not to love? She’s loyal, and smart, and cute. She’s the best dog in the whole entire universe. Even so, she is not allowed, under any circumstances, to kiss me. I don’t kiss her either. I will hug her, cuddle her, scratch behind her ears, and rub her belly till the cows come home, but no kissing. I simply will not allow it.
My kids think kissing the dog is perfectly acceptable. In fact, when Christian comes home after having been away at college for months at a time, the first thing he does is kiss the dog. No affectionate greeting for mama when he walks through the door. Nope. No leaping into my waiting embrace, proclaiming how much he missed me. Nope. He drops to his knees and kisses the dog AND he lets her kiss him back AND he seems to enjoy it. Blechkkk. Dog germs.
I am forever ballyhooing around the house, shrieking things like THAT’S DISGUSTING and YOU’RE GOING TO GET SICK and DON’T KISS THE DOG. They just stare at me like I’m a crazy person, ignore my rantings and go right on kissing the dog.
“STOP KISSING THE DOG,” I protest, shaking my fists.
“Ma, everybody knows dogs’ mouths are way cleaner than peoples’ mouths,” they argue matter-of-factly.
I’ll tell you something. When everybody says dog’s mouths are cleaner than peoples’ mouths they are thinking about one thing. Bites.
My son, Jared, was two years old when he chomped right through the flesh in my thigh. Within a day the wound was festering pus and smelled like my kitchen sink the morning after a piece of raw meat lodges itself in the garbage disposal.
Pudge, on the other hand, recently nipped at my husband leaving him with a punctured lip (no they were not kissing – he was trying to get her off the couch). Anyway, the wound healed without complications or infection in something like a day and a half, and I have a 14 year-old scar on my leg where Jared sunk in his teeth.
I hate to admit it, but human on human bites are more likely to get infected than dog on human bites. Obviously this means dogs’ mouths are “way” cleaner than peoples’ mouths, right? Everybody knows this, right? WRONG.
Everybody, except for me. I do not know dogs’ mouths are cleaner than peoples’ and on top of that I don’t give a hoot what everybody knows because everybody is wrong. AND, if everybody jumps off a bridge are you going to jump too? I don’t think so. Dogs’ mouths are NOT, I repeat NOT, cleaner than peoples’ and I have proof.
Pudge licks her butt. There…I said it. Don’t act all high and mighty, like your dog is above licking his own butt. Remember, Pudge is the best dog in the whole entire universe and if she licks her butt, your dog for sure licks his butt. All dogs lick their butts.
The thing is, people do not lick their butts (at least none I know). So I ask, how can dogs’ mouths be cleaner than peoples’ mouths? I’ll tell you how. THEY CAN”T. Dogs’ mouths’ are not cleaner than peoples’ mouths so stop kissing the dog and go kiss your mother.
Dogs are loyal and they love you like the dickens. Unfortunately, they also lick their butts, and if that’s not enough to keep you from kissing the dog and vice-versa, they’ll drink out of the toilet every chance they get.
Loyal and loving, butt-licking toilet drinkers…dogs will be dogs. Go ahead. Kiss the dog. See if I care, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Have you ever been loved by a dog? Not dog as in, “You need to leave that lyin’, cheatin’ dog,” or, “She’s a real dog, but has a great personality!” I mean an honest-to-goodness-four-legged-tail-wagging-bad-breath-in-your-face dog because, regardless of pedigree (yours – not the dog’s), nobody will ever love you like a dog. A dog’s love is unconditional and the only thing he expects from you is a lasting place in your heart. Did I mention that I’m loved by the best dog in the entire universe? That’s right. My dog, Pudge, is THE BEST DOG IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE. Please do not attempt to argue that your dog’s better. He’s not.
Pudge loves me more than anyone loves me. She loves me more than my husband loves me. She loves me more than my kids love me. When I get home after a two-week vacation or a five-minute errand, Pudge is so thrilled to greet me she cannot contain her excitement. She jumps and wiggles and wags her tail until she is completely exhausted, or I scratch her belly. Both of which cause her to flop limply onto her back. My husband and kids NEVER do that.
In spite of her shameless displays of affection, Pudge is dignified. When she first joined our family, we banned her from the furniture. Ignoring the ban, as would any self-respecting dog, Pudge defiantly snuck onto the nearest bed, chair, or sofa as soon as no one was looking. I always seemed to be the one to discover her insubordination and, in an effort to establish my pack dominance, took to throwing tantrums. Unfortunately, no amount of clapping, stomping, shouting or frantic motioning for her to GET OFF seemed to work. Simply put, Pudge would not budge. Not only would she remain inexorably planted wherever she was, reeking of entitlement, but she’d also sit ever so slightly taller with a prim look on her face and cast haughty, subtle, sideways glances my way as if to say, “I will not DIGNIFY your antics with a reaction.” This type of thing went on between us for a decade, until being the quick learner that I am, I decided it wasn’t worth the fight and lifted the ban. Pudge is, after all, dignified.
Pudge is 40 pounds of creamy, white Wheaton Terrier. Every so often –translation: every three weeks like clockwork — she gets “the works” from the dog groomer. It’s not exactly a spa day, but clipped toenails, a bath and a haircut keeps her looking (and smelling) presentable. On grooming day without fail and always within earshot, my husband declares, “Pudge, I see you had your $100 haircut today.” Grooming costs aren’t that ridiculous, however maintaining Pudge isn’t cheap either. She has issues. She has food intolerances and eats prescription dog food (cha-ching). She requires medicated shampoo to control chronic skin rashes (cha-ching). She takes antihistamines to control allergies (cha-ching). She takes Soloxine to regulate hypothyroidism (cha-ching). And as if that’s not enough, she still needs annual check-ups and shots like a normal dog (cha-ching-cha-ching-cha-ching). My husband was determined not to like Pudge when we first adopted her, but eventually she won his heart. Still, he calls her “Money-Pit.” I call her THE BEST DOG IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE.
Once, when Pudge was just a puppy, my youngest son asked, “Mommy, when Pudge looks in the mirror, do you think she’s surprised to see a dog instead of a person?” Yes, indeed. I’m convinced Pudge believes she is a person. In fact, there are even times when I fleetingly believe, “Pudge, you are a person trapped in a dog’s body,” but then, I know this is impossible. You see, Pudge loves me more than anyone will ever love me and the only thing she expects from me is a lasting place in my heart. She’s earned it. She’s THE BEST DOG IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE. She’s my dog…Pudge.
I wonder how many people are lucky enough to be loved by a dog? Not a dog as in, “You need to leave that lyin’, cheatin’ dog of a man, “ or “She’s a real dog, but has a great personality!” I mean literally, a dog, because let me tell you something. No one will ever love you like your dog. I have a dog and by the way she is the BEST dog in the entire world, no wait, I mean universe…and don’t even try to argue with me that your dog’s better.
Her name is Pudge and she loves me more than anyone in this world loves me. She loves me more than my husband, Pat, loves me. She loves me more than my kids, Christian and Jared, love me. And she’s not ashamed to show it. For example, when I get home, whether it’s after a five-minute trip to the grocery store or a two-week vacation, Pudge is so excited to see me she cannot contain herself. She will jump and spin and wiggle and wag her tail until either she is completely exhausted, or I scratch her belly, both of which can take up to five minutes and cause her to roll onto her back and go limp. My husband and my kids NEVER do that.
As shameless as Pudge – THE BEST DOG IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE- is about showing her emotions, she also can be rather dignified. When Pudge first became part of Team Datoc, we banned her from the furniture. Of course, this resulted in her taking every opportunity to sneak her way onto any bed, chair, or sofa that she could. I, in turn, would shout like a banshee and frantically motion for her to get off the furniture. She would not budge. Not even an inch. In fact, not only would she remain seated as if she had every right to be where she was, she actually would sit ever so slightly taller with a prim look on her face, and cast me sideways glances as if to say, “I will not even DIGNIFY your antics with a response.” This type of thing went on between us for eight or so years, when finally, quick learner that I am, I decided it wasn’t worth the fight and lifted the ban. She is, after all, a very dignified dog.
Pudge is 40 pounds of creamy white non-shedding Wheaton Terrier. Every so often, (o.k. I admit it, every three weeks like clockwork), she gets “the works” from the our super duper mobile dog groomer, Mr. Spruill. He pulls his Happy Paws Dog Salon on wheels right up to the drive and Pudge hops in. It’s not exactly the spa day it sounds like. She’s not the froo-froo type with painted toenails and bows in her hair, but a thorough cleaning out of the old ears and anal glands, clipping the toe-nails, shampoo and a haircut makes her happy, not to mention tidy enough to hop up on the sofa. On grooming day without fail and always within earshot of me, Pat loves to say “Pudge, I see you had your $100 haircut today.” Grooming doesn’t cost quite that much, but maintaining Pudge has put a dent in our bank account. She has issues. She eats prescription dog food (cha-ching), and takes antihistamines to control food allergies (cha-ching), has a thyroid condition for which she takes medication (cha-ching), and requires special shampoo and conditioner to control chronic skin rashes (cha-ching). Pat calls her “Money-Pit.” I call her THE BEST DOG IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE.
Pat pretended not to like Pudge in the beginning, but eventually she won his heart. Now they are great friends. He talks to her a lot and though she rarely barks she has a way of answering. She is fluent in English and even understands a little Italian. Once when Jared, now 15, was about seven years old he asked, “Mommy, if we got Pudge to look in the mirror, do you think she would be surprised to see she’s a dog and not a person?” I would have to say yes! I am convinced Pudge believes she is human. In fact, there are times that I think, “You are a human being trapped in a dog’s body.” Then, I remember how Pudge loves us; we are HER humans, and I realize she is, in fact, a dog through and through because there is not a person in the world who loves us like THE BEST DOG IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE, our dog, Pudge.