Every once in a while I have to write about dogs. I can’t help myself. I brake for dogs. I let them lick my face, even the ones I don’t know. There appears to be no limit to the amount of affection I can offer Shelby and Jack. The girls often have to fight for my love. The dogs? Not so much.
For Mother’s Day (shut up, I have moved on), the dogs gave me a card. I know they didn’t buy it themselves, but neither did my daughters buy me the Ann Taylor shirts or GAP pajamas I got Sunday morning. You know what Jack did give me, yesterday? A dead baby hummingbird. I’m not a hummingbird person, I’m a dog person, and so it didn’t upset me as much as you’d think. I was actually moved by the gesture and immediately assumed Jack had found it already lifeless somewhere outside. He’s not known for catching birds mid-flight, but he is known for going out of his way to please me. I waited for him to leave the room before I picked up the hummingbird gift and threw it away. No need to hurt his feelings.
Currently, Jack is recovering from the worst thing that ever happened to him. I gave him and Shelby a bath in our backyard. Shelby has a tendency to roll around in deliciously putrid-smelling patches of lawn when we’re out on our walks, and yesterday’s grass patch was particularly malodorous. This morning, after my run and their walk, I tied them both up and started soaping them down with the hose and some sweet-smelling shampoo that both beautifies and helps get rid of fleas. Shelby, ever the good girl, just stood there and let me make her pretty. Jack squirmed, jumped, knocked me in the lip, slammed his leg against the table, and attempted to take his own life by hanging himself with the leash – but damn if I didn’t stick with it. What with all the plaintive barking, I’m lucky the neighbors didn’t call animal services – or wait, I hear sirens and a helicopter. Maybe they did.
Nope, just your run of the mill sinkhole opening up down the street. Look Mom, we made the news!
Shelby and Jack came to us as rescues – Shelby four years ago, Jack just last spring. Occasionally, the husband wonders aloud if they realize how lucky they are. I believe they do. I believe that when they look at me throughout the day, particularly after a meal, a good nap or a belly scratching, they’re saying “Thank you.” Shelby was born in South Central and dumped in an alley as a puppy. Jack and his siblings were given to a shelter at 10 weeks because they didn’t turn out to be quite what the owner hoped to sell. Jack has a crooked tail. Of course they’re grateful to be living here! Heck, I’m grateful to be living here.
I’ve never been much of a trendsetter, but when it comes to children and dogs, I think I can take some credit. When most families in the late 90s stopped after two children, I went ahead and had a third. Now, three is the new two. After being robbed nearly four years ago, we hustled out to get a dog to protect the house and were one of the first among our friends to do so. Now, having a dog AND three children is as current as putting a feather in your hair.
I wonder how Jack would react if I tried to put a feather in his fur?
Damn, I love these dogs.