I’m not a big dog lover. Unless running from dogs, hiding from dogs, quivering in their presence, and praying for their migration to Antarctica is a strange form of love. As far back as I can remember, I have been afraid of dogs. I used to cry, scream, and run wildly away from my childhood friend’s chihuahua, Cocoa Bean. Around the same time, I remember my dad calling home from work to say he’d bought a dog and was bringing it home. I contemplated this betrayal underneath my parent’s bed and resigned myself to this: “Well, I guess I’ll never go in the backyard again.”
I wish I could now recount to you the traumatic dog attack that brought me to this point, but I have never actually been attacked. Or bitten. But, I have been growled at and inappropriately sniffed. A girl I knew in junior high had a dog attack scar that ran across her hairline, almost from ear to ear, and although my fear was almost a decade old when I saw this, it seemed to confirm my deepest suspicion: All dogs are out to kill and eat us.
Dog lovers try to suggest that people like me should relax around dogs because dogs smell fear. This is ludicrous. How could this statement possibly result in someone relaxing? The dog can smell your fear?! You might as well cackle and point when you say this, and follow it up with, “And they know all your secrets, and your actual body weight, and all about that Christmas gift from your grandma you returned for cash and claimed to have lost!” And by the way, it’s not actual “fear” they smell, it’s the trickle of pee running down my leg.
Christian’s dog attack last school year has turned him into a frantic mess when he hears a dog bark, which is unfortunate because I used to enjoy cowering behind him while walking around the block and using his non-scared body as a shield. Now, he’s too busy crying and flailing to do me any good.
Dog lovers also make me nervous because they have strong feelings about everyone keeping track of their dog’s gender. Dogs are not It’s, they are He’s and She’s. Are you kidding? The only thing that makes me more nervous than looking at a dog is looking at a dog’s undercarriage to determine gender. I’m not even really sure what to look for.
I really do admire people who love dogs. I wish when I saw one, I would want to stick my face into it’s licking tongue and talk to it like it was a baby-powdered newborn. But, I just can’t do it.
I used to think from time to time that we should get a dog in order to heal my Wound That Has No Actual Cause, but since Christian’s incident, I don’t feel like I can take the risk. Clearly, Christian’s aroma and tender flesh are too much for your average house dog to resist.
James called last night to say that he and Dede are only weeks away from bringing their baby-powdered newborn Boxer pup home.
It’s She’s a runt and currently nameless. The way he talked about it her, I could have sworn that a check from Ed McMahon couldn’t make him happier. How is it possible that we share the same DNA? He asked me to think about some names for it her, as he was currently stuck on “Joan of Bark” and wasn’t totally committed to it. He claimed that Dede wasn’t a lot of help in the naming department since her childhood dogs were named “Woof”, “Dog”, and “Bark”.
So, today I have been thinking about this new dog that is going to join my brother’s life and bring him joy and sniff his guest’s butts, and I find myself becoming endeared to
it her. (Especially because it she will live 600 miles away from my tender flesh.) Therefore, I am taking one small step for mankind, but one giant leap for myself when I offer this name for my new niece-dog upon the alter of Canine-Human Goodwill.
And her name shall be called Oprah.