Dumb dog

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.

Her reaction to my singing of Happy Birthday. Please note, the bruise on her neck was caused by the vet who gave her a hickey.

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.

Her reaction to this post. She sucks.



Red hot Chilli

I have many guilty pleasures. Smoking, drinking, dancing. But, there is one that I seldom talk about. It’s one that is so guilty that makes me ooze just thinking about it.

I love to wake up first. I like to be the first one to make it out of that dream state, alive. I like the silence. But, then, it becomes too silent. And I know better than to wake the slumbering bed-mate. No. One must never do that. Instead, I wake the dog.

Now, about this dog. First, I have to tell you that I never envisioned myself with a small dog. Let alone a hairless wonder from China. I was more a Rottweiler kind of girl. Not for the aggression factor, but because they were formidable wrestling opponents and great huggers. Unfortunately, hugs always turned into humps, but a swift kick in the nads settled those big boys down. And, back to wrestling.

The first time I saw a Chinese Crested was on television. It was the Purina Westminster Abbey Dog Pageant of America, or some shit. And I just about died laughing when this real life My Little Pony trotted down the runway. I envisioned myself walking down Lincoln Road with this ridiculous thing on a leash and for a moment, I wanted one. Just for a moment.

Many months later, I was reading the Sunday newspaper and found an ad for two Chinese Crested puppies in Homestead. And just a few hours after that, I was on the floor of a stranger’s house holding a rat to my chest, claiming it to be mine.

That was almost nine years ago.

Chilli is the first dog to ever sleep in my bed. And, she will be the last. Not because it’s inherently gross. Or because she waits, although quietly, eerily on the floor at the foot of the bed until Mommy’s private time is over. Which is never that private, when you can still see a pair of ears perked up from any angle. No. None of that matters, really. It’s really because of this one guilty pleasure. Of waking her up, so her and I can be the first ones, in the silence of the morning, to give each other a hug. Well, a little hug.

Are you awake?