Friday, August 8, 2008

Blog the Dog

I'm sure you’ve noticed that our beloved dog is more than just a pet – he’s a member of our family. There are several reasons for his honored status, not the least of which is that he’s a cute, furry little guy who sometimes looks like a kitty and other times has the gravitas of a civil war general.

He’s also a member of our family because he taught all of us to love again after the tragedy of losing my twin brother. To be honest, I didn’t believe that I would ever be able really to hug someone after that loss. The very thought of meeting new people who didn’t know my brother seemed a betrayal of his memory. My world was supposed to stop growing on the day that my brother’s life ended, right? Instead, a cuddly little furball pushed open the door to my heart with his little paw, and the healing began.

He’s not a genius. He gets confused when you ask him to do something as simple as lying down. And he can’t find a treat you put right in front of his nose (mainly because he’s too busy trying to please people that he forgets all about the reward.)

He understands five commands: SIT, DROP, DOWN, HUG, and KISS. The last two show his biggest asset – his heart. He puts his paws on your legs and nuzzles you for hugs, and he licks your nose when you ask for a kiss. I’d take those two actions over LIE DOWN any day.

He likes his sleep. Interrupt it, and you get a harrumph of monumental proportions, followed by his grumpy old man look. It says something along the lines of, “I am tolerating you because I love you, but keep it down in here!”

He was five years old when I rescued him from God knows what, so he came complete with a number of serious issues. He foams at the mouth when I leave home. I think he really believes I’m never coming back. He jumps on my head during storms, and he destructively scratches the door from which I leave every day. He sometimes tinkles on the corner of the couch. Fortunately, his aim is so bad, he misses the couch entirely and hits the puppy pad I put out for this particular purpose. He’s absolutely convinced that every visitor to our house intends to steal him away from us, and he routinely shakes from head to toe when in the presence of more than a few folks. He takes beef-flavored doggie prozac every day. In short, he’s a hot mess.

There is a trend these days of including dogs in the wedding party. I LOVE this idea. I mean, isn’t it a bit weird that you wouldn’t include a family member/roommate/best friend on the most important day of your life?

But when you have a dog that’s a hot mess with separation anxiety, is it really fair to put him through the ordeal? If he were 100% healthy and secure, I’d have him dressed in a cute little ringbearer’s outfit walking down that aisle.

But he’s not. And I love his wellbeing more than I love how cute he'd be at the wedding.

So I’ll just have to tell him all about it when it’s over. Just one problem -- he won’t understand a word I’m saying . . . he only speaks Chinese. He’s a shih tzu after all.

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