Sometimes I feel like despite of All The Adversity, I still manage to comport myself as a fairly adult member of society. I’m generally responsible and reasonably with-it. I pay my bills, I floss, I change the sheets weekly, I keep up with the laundry and the dishes. My deadlines are all met and my to-do lists, for the most part, have neat, straight strike-outs marching down the page.
That’s pretty damn good, I think. But then you meet my dog, and you think huh. That is a dog who thinks he is a little person, and can get on the couch with the rest of the people. That is a dog who does what he likes. That is a spoiled rotten little dog. Luckily he is the cutest dog the world has ever seen, or boy oh boy he’d be in trouble.
Those are all true things. He sits, he shakes, he lies down, he will not go through the front door until we say Okay, he stops at every corner until we give him the go ahead, he knows fetch, and give, and drop it, and down and uh-uh, kisses!, get him!, and no. He’s working on roll over.
But Crommy is also allowed on the couch and in the bed. Crommy gives kisses like he’s trying to take your face off. Crommy jumps up. Crommy barks when he is worried. Crommy thinks you should cook him a hamburger. Crommy sounds like a badly oiled door when he does not get his way—he creaks and cries and he suffers. Oh, how he suffers. Oh, how we don’t understand the pain he is enduring, when he does not get what he wants when he wants it, and oh how badly he wants it—we’ll never truly understand. Luckily what he usually wants is love. He wants to be next to me, on me, in my arms, looking into my eyes and expressing all the adoration he has in his heart for me, and for hamburger. For such a small dog, he can carry around a lot of love.
Part of this is my fault—I’ve never owned a dog, until my little bug. It never occurred to me that dogs shouldn’t get certain privileges. It did not even cross my mind that I shouldn’t snuggle him every time he wanted snuggling because I would be engendering in him a feeling that he has rights and by god I am taking those rights away when I do not drop everything to give him what he needs, without which he shall die.
Part of this is not my fault—no, seriously. He never begged—until he spent extended time at grandma and grandpa’s house, the magical land where treats rain from the sky and a sausage is cooked special for the dogs every morning and dogs can jump up and never have to sit before they get a treat or their dinner. He didn’t beg until Eben started working at home and sharing his chicken nuggets, I promise you that.
And I’ve tried very hard to teach him manners, but he is half Boston Terrier, and those suckers are excitable. Seriously. They are all like this, all the Boston Terriers in the world. They jump and run and they creak and whine and are tragically neurotic and there is very little to combat that particular personality trait. Or at least very little I’m willing to do, because yes. He’s not crate trained because the noises of tragedy broke my heart and yes, he sleeps between E and I every night, and also he steals the covers.
And when I meet people with perfectly behaved dogs, or when Crom jumps up or he gets anxious when a stranger comes in and won’t stop barking or he won’t quit mooning around the house like we’ve grounded him or he won’t just settle down, I feel like I’m a bad person who broke her dog.
But he’s also one of the best things that has ever happened to me. There is very little in the world that is like the unconditional love that a dog is willing to provide you. He is so smart, and so loving. He is playful, and silly, and when he bursts across the field in flat-out pursuit of the ball you just threw for him, the joy in every line of his body fills me with that very same happiness. When he is only content when he’s finally curled up against my hip with his chin on my leg, I am content too. He is ridiculous and he makes me laugh every day and I love that little dog more than I love most things. I think I’m probably coming to a place where I am okay with what that says tabout me as a person.