I refuse to write an obituary for my dog. Not because she can’t read (her fault) and not because she is still alive (her fault). It’s because she doesn’t deserve it.
I’ve read (and wept over) countless of lengthy posts, emails, texts from friends and family members memorializing their pets – many of whom I personally gave belly rubs or enthusiastically followed on Instagram – and these dogs and cats were stand-up animals. They fetched items, they shat in pre-determined/pre-agreed-upon places, they followed at least two basic commands, and they were all extremely photogenic.
My dog has accomplished none of these things in 16 years of life.
She has peed on my clothes and has hidden poop in my closet. She has woken me up hundreds of times in the middle of the night for no reason and rejected at least 50 dog beds just because. Her hidden talent is to step on the remote to change the channel at exactly the worst time. She is only interested in what I have to say when I have a turkey sandwich in my hand. She made me use up all of my airline miles to rush back home in the middle of Thanksgiving because she showered her sitter with explosive diarrhea. Her breath stinks. Her knees pop out of place and her heart murmurs. And she snores, loudly.
From the moment we met, I knew she was going to be trouble. “She’s not for show,” I was told. Later the vet confirmed, “She’s not good for breeding.” But I didn’t care for any of that. I just wanted to give my girlfriend a dog – the dream dog she always wanted – a hairless Chinese Crested. Only in the process of making that dream come true, I fell truly, madly deeply for this ungrateful Gremlin.
I’m reminded of just how much today, on her sweet, sixteenth birthday (which roughly translates into 106 in dog years). I don’t know if she’s made it this far because of me or in spite of me, but I do know that she has made my life richer in ways I never knew a 6-pound poop-machine could.
She fills my life with beautiful noise, from her feet’s pitter-patter to hearing her bark the entire time it takes me to eat a banana to her long, sustained howl when I walk through the door. And although I know one day we’ll have to say good-bye, I am certain that I will never forget how I could’ve bought a house with all the money I spent on her or how this dumb dog brought incredible joy and boundless love into my life.