It's not like I sit around knitting dog sweaters while watching Westminster or posting those immensely depressing "to be destroyed tomorrow" kill shelter photos on my Facebook page -- I'm not that dog lady.
But I am the first to tell people that life is better with a dog to come home to. Especially on those days when you're pretty sure you're having a midlife crisis at whatever age you happen to be (is 28 too early?). That dog will listen to you. Unless your partner is baking a chicken in the next room.
Anyway, it's Valentine's month, so here are just a few reasons I'm in mad love with my dog (but hopefully not in a creepy way). I'd love to hear your own reasons in the comments.
1. He's my first.
You usually remember your first kiss/car/boyfriend/girlfriend/paycheck with some fondness. As a kid, I was nuts about dogs and my parents dog-blocked me at every turn, producing sibling after sibling until we were 10.
"Dogs are cheaper than kids," I'd yell. "Turn off the sibling faucet!"
They didn't listen, although they did give me a series of guinea pigs. (Ask me about my guinea pig graveyard sometime ... those poor little guys never lasted long.)
Moxie (also known as Mr. Socks, Pooch and The Moxter), now four years old, is my first dog. He won't be my last, but he'll always win the pissing-to-mark-territory contest for my heart.
2. He's my clown.
Sometimes I come home and find him waltzing around the apartment with my underwear around his neck. He does the most ridiculous little dance when I tell him it's time for a treat. I once watched him drag a rawhide bone half his size across the apartment. He gets really excited when I flush the toilet. He'll get obsessed with licking the sheets and leave a huge wet spot on my partner's side of the bed.
Life would be so lame without him.
3. He's my muse.
I lied. I AM that dog lady. In fact, my license plate reads DOGLADY. (With a heart where the "O" should be. Really.) I love where dogs and art intersect -- enough to get four sighthounds tattooed on my skin in three locations. Moxie's doppelganger lives just behind my left shoulder.
4. He only knows one trick, but it's one that counts.
Does your dog use a litter box? MY DOG USES A LITTER BOX! He won't play dead or roll over or fetch anything to save his hide, but as far as I'm concerned, he gets a free pass for life.
5. He puts up with me.
When you get your first dog, you sometimes buy outfits for that dog. Many, many outfits, some of them knitted. And your dog will wear them anyway -- that santa suit over the holidays, those bunny ears in April -- mostly because he has no choice, but also because he loves you. Right? Maybe?
6. He reacts this way when I get home from a trip (forgive the shoddy cellphone camera footage):
7. He has taught me more about being human than actual humans.
People tell me he's "just a dog," but I've experienced more empathy, more kindness, more compassion from this four-legger than I have from most two-leggers. His zeal for life is contagious. And for a young dog he seems incredibly wise.
8. He doesn't care what I'm wearing. Or if I smell. (In fact, he prefers if I smell.)
I could be wearing my Hello Kitty sweats, an oversized shirt, and have gone three days without a shower and he'll still think I'm a lovely, delicate specimen. Not that I do any of those things. Ever.
How does your dog show you s/he loves you? Do you have a dog-themed license plate? I want to know!
Reprinted with permission from Dogster.