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Canine Wisdom

>> Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I had fun making my "10 things I've learned from heating with wood" list, which really turned out to be 13 things and counting.  Now all I can think of is lists.  Here's the start of what will likely be a very long list eventually.

20 Reasons to Have (Two Bad) Dogs, in no particular order:

1)  This one's obvious - that whole-body-swaying-leaping-up-and-down-so-excited-they-can't-contain-themselves joy when one comes home from work makes everything better, no matter how horrible the day was.

2)  Having lost another pair of shoes to doggie teeth means one gets to purchase a new pair.  I can't get bored with my shoes that way, right?  (Although practically speaking what it really means is another pair of heels with the tooth gouges colored in with a sharpie).

3)  Likewise carpeting.  Who would want carpeting in place for more than a year or two?  It gets boring.

4)  When you come home frozen through after spending hours outside in the cold, they will curl up with you and let you stick your icy fingers in their naked little armpits.  Simon doesn't even react when I do this.  Lucy will give me a plaintive look as if to say "Really, Mom?  Those suckers are freezing!" but she lets me do it.  One's fingers get warm in a jiffy!  It actually makes me rather teary to consider the incredible generosity of spirit thus exhibited. 

5)  One does not need a television if one has two Basset hounds and a laser pointer, and all the more if one also has cats to add to the mix.  It's instant noisy hilarity even if it is somewhat hard on the floorboards.

6) That squishy feeling one gets in the pit of one's stomach when the dogs sleep in an unbelievably adorable pile.

7)  Never needing to feel lonely when one is at home, even if no other humans are anywhere nearby.

8)  Window nose art.

9)  Eyeglass nose art.

10)  Never needing to pick up the bits of food that hit the floor while cooking.

11)  The sheer artistry of the elaborate twists and lurches one performs while cooking and trying not to trip over the canine floor cleanup crew.  You never knew you could dance, did you?

12)  This one's specific to Basset hounds and a few other jowly dogs - piles of lips on the floor, the arms of chairs, or, if one is lucky, moist, sticky and warm on the flesh of one's bare arm.  Gross but amusing.

13)  Having to wash the floor of the shower less often because Simon (a.k.a. "Slimy") so kindly licks it clean after every shower.  Coupled with this is the risk to life and limb presented by stepping into a shower where the floor is covered with a liberal layer of slick dog slime.

14)  Speaking of dog slime, I derive a sick fascination from the incredible viscosity of the substance left in the bottom of the dogs' water bowl when it's almost empty.  Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeewwwww.... cool!

15)  That stupid, happy, dopey, tongue-lolling grin they get on their faces when something pleases them.  Is it possible to look at that expression and not grin back?  I didn't think so.

16)  Laughing so hard that tears roll down one's cheeks while watching what appears to be a WWE match between two dogs at play.  I find myself flinching as one dog takes down another, and then the victim of the take-down gets revenge by gnawing on an exposed limb or ear.  It's amazing that it's all in good fun, and generally ends with two of those stupid happy grins in #15.

17)  Continuous redefining of the term "personal space".  Dogs?  They don't have any.  At least mine don't.  I have two 50 pound lap dogs.  We affectionately refer to Lucy as "Kudzu" and "The Invasive Species" because of her ability to creeeeeep surreptitiously into one's personal space.  She particularly loves to press her cold wet nose against a human's lips and stare into the human's eyes.  This behavior has also earned her the nicknames "The Dementor" and "The Soul Slucker".*  And let's not even get started on their crotch poking, butt sniffing and dirty underwear stealing habits.  It all makes one continuously question one's boundaries, which is probably a good thing given the overpopulation path the planet is on.

18)  The necessity of taking long walks to wear off a little extra dog energy.  When I'm snuggly warm and it's cold out I never want to leave the fire and walk the dogs.  Once I go, though, I'm almost always grateful I have done so, as the dogs have unknowingly given me gifts such as a few moments of peaceful intimacy with the moon or the joyful discovery of a flower or bug.  The only time I'm not grateful is when the walk results in #19.

19)  The incredible humility one feels while lying face down on the walkway, empty leash hand extended above one's head, having just suddenly and gracelessly lost the battle over whether the dogs are going to chase that squirrel or not.  Everybody's ego needs an occasional check.

20)  The inspiration of watching my physically disabled dog tackle life (and occasional Adirondack High Peaks) as though there's absolutely nothing wrong with her.  Talk about humbling.  My little Soul Slucker is a constant reminder that most of the limitations we perceive in our lives are just that - perceptions.  If we stop thinking of things as barriers, we often find they aren't barriers at all, just slight diversions.  Sometimes they're even opportunities for a little creativity - Lucy, for example, has discovered her stump is great for clubbing her brother over the head.  See #16.

* Harry Potter fans should get this without a problem.  All others should note that Dementors are evil hooded creatures that suck the soul out of their victims by administering a "kiss of death".


Woodswalker November 25, 2009 at 10:16 AM  

I laughed and laughed, reading this. I'm at the point in my life when I'm content to love other people's dogs (including my own grand-dog, a Bernese Mountain Dog who knows how to behave around my three cats when he comes to visit), but I remember well both the joys and frustrations of having a huge one (English Mastiff) underfoot or in lap.

Ellen Rathbone November 25, 2009 at 10:25 AM  

What a sweet tribute to one's canine friends. I think I'm going to sent a link to this to a friend who is equally ga-ga about his dogs.

It's nice to see someone who takes doggy destruction in stride and with good humor!

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