My dog Penny is naughty. I spend half of my day chasing her around the house trying to get back some item that she’s stolen and wants to chew up, even though she knows full well she’s not supposed to be doing that. She’s nuts. She barks at everyone walking by and goes into histrionics if I dare leave her alone in the yard to go walk over to a neighbor’s house. She’s ill-mannered. Every now and then for kicks she’ll try to hump Justin or Alex. She’s greedy. If you turn your back on her, she WILL take your last Chicken McNugget, an entire steak, try to knock the pizza box off of the counter, or jump up and steal the rest of your granola bar right out of your hand. (If you’re Alex, she’ll plan a sneak attack and go for something right off his plate. That’s right, Penny, pick on the weakest member of the pack. Nice.)
But she’s sweet. And funny. And cute. And snuggly. And all the other stuff that makes you actually want to keep the furry little mutt around.
And the same thing I loved about Candy, my dog when I was growing up, is what I also see in Penny – that she’ll protect all of us as if her life depended on it. (Incidentally, we all loved Candy, but she was one moody bitch. Penny’s got nothing on her. Though she’s not as bright. Oh well.)
All that said, there are times when I kind of wish Penny would dial back the emotion. Say for instance when you slam your knee, for no clear reason, against a table, and really just want to fall to the ground, say some swear words, intensely rub your knee, and writhe in pain for a while. (Ditto for stubbing your toe.) It would really help in dealing with your inexplicable klutziness, if you didn’t have an all concerned dog right at your face, wagging her tail, licking you to death. But as long as you’re there, crying out like a little girl, she’s all up in your business, trying to kiss away the pain. No matter how much you push her away or try to move your face out of reach. You’re not going to die today. Not on her watch. Not even if she has to smother you to save you. In a way it’s so touching and heartwarming, but also, chill the fuck out, Penny. Even though it looks like it, I’m not actually on my deathbed.
Of course that’s all a hypothetical. I don’t know anyone pathetic enough to have so many household accidents where it would become commonplace to the point of needing to write about a dog’s overreactions. She’d have to be some kind of loser. One with a bigass bruise on her kneecap. No idea who that would be.
© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2012