REMINDERS: I am in Florida and Alabama now. If these are your stomping grounds, check the tour schedule and come see me. We will have fun. Pinky Swear. We are getting SO CLOSE to Virtual book Signing at Alabama Booksmith, so if you want a signed first edition/ personalized book stating you have the best dog or whatever other fun thingy you can think of to make me say like a puppet-mouth/ to support my work and an AN AWESOME and hugely valuable Independent bookstore go HERE to order, and ps you look FANTASTIC in those pants.Here are the three qualities I like best in my own personal dogs: Bigness. Dumbness. Maleness.
I don’t know why I like my dogs to be boys. I just do. I used to feel a sort of vague sister-betraying-oh-crap-I-ruined-solidarity guilt over it. Then I realized I my friend Sara has a strong and equally nonsensical preference for girl dogs, and 1) she rescues SO MANY DERN GIRL DOGS that a couple of folks need to prefer the fellas to balance the rescued dog universe and 2) I never once thought her liking girl dogs means she is secretly a man hater, so why should cottoning to boy dogs indicate a vicious anti-woman streak?
The size thing is easy to explain. I like to have a big floppy MASS of dog, satisfyingly large, so I can get a good thumpy hollow drum bang sound out of them when I pat pat pat them on their barrel sides. That’s just LOGIC.
Also, I like a dog who, when you turn the volume knob on the side of his head, all you hear is a peaceful hum of white noise and static, because so often, in dogs, missing brain cells seem to be replaced by GOODNESS cells. My dog, Bagel, is especially stupid, and he is so GOOD he practically glows with it. It is like a palpable virtue-miasma that swirls around him in a fog.
Mr. Husband is the final word in dogs. He is a dog whisperer. No, really. He can spot a good dog FROM SPACE.
I did not know this about him for years and years and years. I always though tof him as not really an ANIMAL person. I am a fanatical animal person. For me, a pet-free house, empty of little animal heartbeats, is the fast track to clinical depression.In an ideal world I would have dogs, yes, but also some backyard goats and a piglet and a hedgehog and a couple-three cats and another dog or two and a snake so small he didn’t want to eat adorable mice, only bugs, and pet mice, and a lizard named Gustav Klimpt, and a big bay gelding named Galileo. But I think that might irk the neighbors. OH! Also I want chickens. And budgies. And those teeny teeny underwater froglings that come with a snail.
So throughout the first years of our marriage, I kept little hamsters and suchlike in an aquarium and agitated for more cats near-constantly, because I thought cats were the least trouble of all the larger mammal-style pets. Sometimes, I would borrow Lydia’s dog Hobbes – a most EXCELLENT beast—for sleepovers. And I would cruise the Dog dating Websites for potential dogs near constantly.
This is how we got Bagel. I went specifically to an adoption day to meet a dog I saw on the interwebs. I liked him. He was large, and male, and SO dumb he was practically a lump of suet. He liked me back, but ALAS, he had zero interest in the children.
While I was trying to get him to acknowledge that they existed, Scott disappeared. We found him by the cage of Bagel. (At that point, Bagel was named Brad Pitt. Yes. Really.)
Scott said, “This is a good dog.”
Now understand, I can’t pass an adoption day without relentless dog cruising, I HAUNT the stray cat cages at PETSMART, and even driving along the road, I am ALWAYS on the look out for the next abandoned animal who needs to live with me. Scott, through all of this pet-hunting stands slightly aloof, off to the side, looking pained but resigned. When I simply MUST have an animal, he accepts it, and is nice to it and all, but he isn’t, like, enraptured.
Reader, I adopted Brad Pitt. Immediately.
And I learned something new and utterly shocking about my husband: He was secretly a dog person. He had been the WHOLE time. It isn’t that he doesn’t like ANIMALS, it is just he is a specific animal type. He is not much of a CAT guy, and he isn’t that wild about goats, mice, snakes, pigs, or hedgehogs. But he adores dogs. He just didn’t know it, and neither did I.
I watched him actively relishing the company of kid-rechristened Bagel, and in my mathematically borked mind, where the proper number of pets is X + 1 where X is “the number of pets we have currently,” I began building a dog empire…
To be con’t