Every day is National Dog Day, but today is The Official National Dog Day, so I’m dragging BBT out of hibernation to acknowledge and exalt the wonder that are our four-legged friends.
It’s easy to love dogs: few things can make your heart swell like the greeting of a ferociously wagging tail, or watching their ears perk when they hear your voice or footsteps, or spotting a certain silhouette posted up at the front window as you pull in the driveway, having sensed your arrival long before any human could. But I like to take it a step further and consider the idea that dogs aren’t just reacting to your love, they’re communicating their own, singular feelings, and they love you just as much as you love them: unconditionally. Humans can love unconditionally, too, but dogs don’t lie and they don’t say things to hurt you. They will eat your favorite shoes and they will mess up your house, but that’s your fault because you didn’t put your shoes away properly, and if they hadn’t messed up your white couch, I would have (I likely still will).
Even if the human/pup dynamic isn’t that complicated – it’s probably not but I’ve never met a relationship I couldn’t overthink – and even if they can’t understand the actual words we’re saying (they can) or don’t have their own thoughts (they do), what makes dogs so special is the way they become a part of you and your home. They learn the smells and the sounds and can intuit the moods, good and bad. How many times have you been rescued from some awful conversation with a parent or partner by a silly dog moment? Saved by the pup. A dog improves quality of life on every level; the only cons to owning one are none. There are no cons.
I’m thinking about going to business school (!), and one of the pros to this very exciting yet, at times, exhausting endeavor is the thought of moving somewhere that is not NYC and getting a dog. Obviously I would not going to business school SO I can get a dog – I mean…obviously – but I think it’s a pretty great perk and, if we’re being honest, the idea of my own lab mix PUPPY this time next year has helped keep me motivated when I was not. Times such as earlier this month when I went to take the GRE, going so far as to undergo a full body search and even sit down at my computer, then being told, “oh no, the computers are broken, you’ll have to reschedule for 6 weeks from now which will totally mess up your application timeline and cause you great panic.” YOU HAD ONE JOB, EDUCATIONAL TESTING SERVICE – ONE JOB.
Many of you remember our beloved dog, Missy Baxter. She will forever be the gold standard of The Worst and Best Dog there ever was. The breeder let us take her home a week early so we could have her for Christmas, and it turns out the difference of a week, when you’ve only been alive for five, is crucial in terms of learning basic dog instincts. As a result, Missy identified more with people than other canines – she never had any dog friends – and I think this was a significant factor in her lousy behavior (and she was a spoiled brat – but that’s on us). Her innate humanness also granted her an uncanny way of talking to us; she was a far more effective and articulate communicator than many
males people I know. Eating food that was not hers to eat was her most common offense – I linked to it above, but see below for an excerpt:
I believe Missy had opposable thumbs that she employed only in our absence. I once interrupted her enjoying a large, Costco-sized container of almonds. Said container had not yet been opened – of this I would swear on my life – but she somehow managed to turn the lid and break thru the aluminum seal. On this occasion she proudly showed off what she’d done: “Bet you’re wondering how I managed this, aren’t ya?!” with a saucy wag of tail and toss of head. I’m still wondering.
Her only defeat was the 5lb wheel of Stilton blue cheese relatives send us every year from Willams Sonoma. I stupidly left it out, and Missy helped herself. I came home to a very queasy pup and 3/4 of a ravaged, smelly cheese wheel. She looked at me, not guiltily but almost accusingly: “Why did you leave this out when you knew YOU KNEW I would get into it…I hate you, I hate that cheese, and now I’m gonna puke” and then she puked. Missy loved cheese, but I don’t think it loved her back.
RIP Missy. We don’t have a permanent family dog right now, but we’ve had lots of fosters! Through Atlanta Lab Rescue, my parents have fostered almost 20 (??) dogs since Missy passed away two years ago, and all of them have been sent off to happy forever homes. We can’t help but compare every single to one to The Best and Worst Dog we’ve ever known.
I’m not sure what moved me to break a 4 month hiatus with this non-newsworthy post – besides the fact that it actually is National Dog Day, check your Insta – but just as these posts can’t be forced, nor can they be stopped. Give all of your dogs an extra hug for me today, and sorry in advance to anyone I see today accompanied by their pup because I’m coming in for the embrace (with your dog, not you)(and I won’t touch until I ask for permission because you always ask if you can pet someone’s dog)(I learned that the hard way). I’ll try to not be a stranger, I’ve missed this; I’ve missed US!
And now, some of my favorite dog things on the internets:
A video tribute to Denali – this went viral earlier in the summer. If you were all, “No I can’t watch, I’ll cry” watch it anyway, you pansy
Bay Breeze Labradors on Insta – I don’t follow them because my favorite thing is to lie in bed and enjoy a whole backlog of videos and laugh (warning – there are some recent posts with newborn puppies that are not quite as adorable as toddler puppies, but I trust you’ll use your eyesight to determine what you do and don’t watch).
Man finds unlikely soulmate in his new puppy – this is cute and will take some of the edge off that first link