Puppy Love

by angeliska on May 4, 2010

Sometimes you wake up to a gorgeous, brilliant day
but things just don’t fit together right, and what’s happening
in your heart doesn’t jive with the cool breeze tangling in your
hair, or the baby birds singing, because you’ve argued with
someone you love and you can’t stop thinking about how
we’re irrevocably destroying this beautiful planet
I’m preparing some musings on this latter subject for
posting later, but for now I just need a little cheering up.
How about you? You know what makes me feel happy
when I feel sad? Doggies! My dogs in particular, but pups
in general tend to make me follow their example in life
and forget my cares and just concentrate on what’s good,
like belly rubs and snuffling and prancing. My dogs are
really, really good at all of those things. The funny thing
is that I was never, ever a dog person until a few years
ago. I grew up with a big, sweet pit bull named Dot who always
wanted to be right in the middle of all my intricate games of
doll-dress up or castle-building and loved to slobber obnoxiously
all over my face. She was an amazing dog who gave me a big
soft-spot for pit-bulls (don’t trust the hype! They are wonderful
If you don’t believe, just consult Gala and Hank! See?

(drawing by Brad Neely)
I used to work at Toy Joy, (the best toy store in the world).
So did Brad Neely, though he left a few months before
I started, so we never met. I came to adore him through these amazing signs
and doodles he left in his wake. This sign endorsing the hobby of vampire
dog-massage was hung up by the false mustaches. I have no idea what it
was originally meant to promote, but it’s one of my favorite things ever.
If you’re not familiar with his genius, go check out his work and this:

When I was in middle-school, I lived in a neighborhood with
lots of trailer-trash dogs. Mean, embittered Rotties and Chows
hell-bent on getting a taste of teenage ankle. We’d sneak out
late at night and walk around aimlessly, smoking and vandalizing
things and they were the monsters we skirted. They’d freak us out
by barking ferociously, alerting all to the fact that we were shimmying
out of our bedroom windows. Being chased by a dog while riding a
bike is one of the scariest things ever. I only got bit by a dog once, and
I guess it was sort of my fault. I got off the school bus one day, and this
little kid with a kool-aid and BBQ-sauce mottled face invited me to peer
under his trailer to see his new puppies. The protective mama mutt bolted
out from the shadows like a pudgy arrow and attached herself to my leg,
ripping my dad’s ugly green corduroy pants I’d taken to wearing everyday.
(I was in that adolescent phase of wearing your dad’s oversized, ugly old
clothes and being incredibly awkward. Remember that?)
It left a nasty bruise
and some punctures, and taught me something about not messing with wild
mamas and their young. Years later, I found myself in New York working for
a few months. There was a period of time during my stay there that I felt
incredibly isolated and cut-off from my fellow humans. I was unused to the
lack of eye-contact and greeting that big city folk tend to protect their souls
with. I’m from the South, and we say hello when we pass you on the street.
Everybody had their walls up to me except for the street-people and the dogs.
The dogs were always happy to see me, eager to smell me and get to know me
whilst their owners would tug at leashes and roll their eyes, in a hurry to get on
with the business of walking. My feelings about dogs were changing, and I
began to respect and appreciate them in a way that I never really had.

This is me with Dougal and Selma the Sideshow dogs and constant
companions of Harry and Elizabeth Anderson. I liked it when people misheard Dougal’s
name as “Doodles”, so that’s what I called him. They would get so excited
to see me that they would pee a little bit. Now, that’s enthusiasm!

This illustration by Marjorie Moore reminds me of Grrizelda and I.
I’d been a cat person my whole life, but after my best cat-friend
Junior died after 21 years of companionship
, I just don’t know
that I will find that kind of connection again. Don’t get me wrong –
I love our kitties Loki and Rusty Jack-knife (except when they’re
doing very evil things like knocking in the ceiling and slaughtering
baby birds)
I never imagined I would have that kind of deep
bond with a canine. I never had a dog of my very own before, and
it’s pretty intense. It’s a bit like having a furry child that can’t really speak.
I am so grateful for the love and loyalty our dogs give us – I wish we could
go to the pound and adopt 20 more. One day. Walk out in the woods with
your dog, or be with them late at night when you’re alone in the house.
If they’re worth a damn, they will always let you know when they smell or
hear something that we can’t. Even the littlest dog will throw themselves
at a much bigger opponent to protect the one they love. That’s so amazing
to me, and such an inspiration. I’ve been thinking a lot about the way that
humans and animals can transfer love and healing to each other – have
you experienced that before? Whether it’s your cat making biscuits of ecstasy
on you, and purring like a motor or your dog wagging and dancing in
apoplectic spasms of joy to see you come home, I feel that there’s something
deeper going on there. I’m really interested in the beneficial effects of spending
time with animals for the ill and elderly
. Have you heard about these studies on
dogs sniffing out cancer?
Amazing. I think they make us better people. I hope so.

Also, sometimes you can dress them up as elephants! My dog lets me floss
her teeth. Can you believe that? I barely can. We’ve been training her to be
patient and tolerant of bathing, foot-handling and now maybe even
tooth-brushing? (Okay, I just tried it, and she totally let me brush her teeth!
Best dog ever!)
Something else I just thought of — dogs in other cities are
different. On Lamma Island in Hong Kong, all the dogs I encountered were
totally indifferent to me. They ran in dirty packs of smallish scrappers, similar
to the curs of Mexico, though the Mexican beach dogs are far friendlier.
We had a pack adopt us in Tulum, and their leader, El Jackalito even
followed us to a neighboring village. French dogs seemed quite snobby
to me (though I found the people I met in France to be very sweet and
personable!) What can you tell me about the dogs of the world? Do you
like dogs? Do you have a dog of your own? Tell me a dog story, please!
Oh, and I was just alerted to this:
Antique Pups from Teenangster
(Thank you Oola!)
Further reading:
Dog Days
Corazones quebrados y perros ciegos


I love dogs – I would (and will, if it comes to that) live in the woods rather than lose the companionship/foolishness/love that the canine squad effortlessly provides. Rather than a story, here’s a visual – middle dog (Dinah, a kurzhaar) and pup (Lotte, a dachshund) in a melee imperiale: http://hawkdog.net/wordpress/archives/1780 . Our best to you and yours.

by dr.hypercube on May 4, 2010 at 3:23 pm. Reply #

Can you write letters to me every day, so I may wake up and read little bits of magic just like this one each morning? Kthnx!
Anyway, seriously woman. This post made me smile, so very much. Like you, I have been a cat person for most of my life. And also like you, I suspect that may be changing a little bit. I have met your dogs and can absolutely see why they have so thoroughly captured your heart (and PS the elephant pic is a *scream*), I also think that my maternal instinct is finally turning on. And, you said it best – dogs are like furry children. Maybe I am more ready and willing at this point in my life to take care of something that needs my help.
I used to respect cats for making me work for their love. I still do, I guess. But now, instead of regarding dogs as weak, I think I respect them even more for having such open hearts. I want a heart like that! One that is so fearless and alive.
Thank you thank you thank you for this post, and for the Brad Neely pictures. đŸ™‚ I’m going to stalk that man.

by Tolly on May 4, 2010 at 8:43 pm. Reply #

I dream of my dog companions all the time, they have names and personalities and stories and everything (Charlie, Bunnydog, Lamby), but I have no dog right now. There was the dream of you saving the dog from the coyotes, a dream you said you’ve also had before.
Anyhow, I had the exact experience of dog-petting in NYC just a couple of months ago. I think they know…

by c h a r i t y on May 4, 2010 at 9:22 pm. Reply #

I heart heart heart doggies. I have a tattoo of my old dog’s paw print, because I loved her so much. And my best doggy pal now, Leya, is the love of my life! She is a sweet Chinese Crested and makes life so much better. It is also lovely that she is super lazy and likes to cuddle. She is very quiet, which I enjoy!
Here is us, don’t we make a pair?

by Lorra on May 5, 2010 at 12:58 am. Reply #

i grew up with a giant furry dog called Momo. when my parents broke up and the house was filled with fights for years and i was sent to a new school and lost all my old friends – my best friend remained Momo. It was told that one time I was found laying on top of the dog (who was bigger than me then), crying, and when asked what i was so upset about i said: “No one loves me, but Momo!” I think that tells it pretty much. we were best friends. I loved her dearly. she always knew how i was feeling and showed empathy. Her mother was a shepard dog and they usually show big interest in keeping a flock together and you could tell, it broke Momo’s heart when my family fell apart. I don’t know if I was such of a good friend in reverse, especially as a teenager when i was too lazy to go on long walks with her. she was very disappointed but she knew how to open doors and simply walked herself then. Some people say that animals dont have a consciousness, which I think is total bullshit. I could tell every time when Momo had done sth. she wasnt allowed to do. Then she would looked up to me from behind her big eyelashes, playing the innocent, and i just had to go and look for whatever she had done again. It usually was things like: laying on top of someones bed, digging the garden and killing all the tulips by accident, eating a dozen deepfrozen steaks together with their plastic wrapping. Don’t all dogs do that, anyways?
Well, Momo knew what she wanted and would show you. she could make anyone fall in love with her, cause she was cute and dorky at the same time. occasionally, she even worked as a therapy dog to help people get over their dog anxiety. cause even though she was gigantic, she looked extremely harmless and she was. she was cool. she died 8 years ago, aged 16, I was 22 then. We have basically been sisters! When she died I had already been living far away for years, so I never really understood that she had gone forever. I miss her dearly.

by Leezers on May 5, 2010 at 1:02 am. Reply #

i love love love my dachshund, bruno (officially herr bruno, as he was listed on the rescue site)! when i moved from southern california to cold, cold northern germany, this guy (rescued from a polish animal shelter where he had been severely bitten by a much larger dog) kept me from being too homesick and lonely. he was actually listed as being “especially well suited for therapeutic work with the disabled or elderly”. i have come to understand that this really meant “extemely likely to spend majority of time sleeping”. which suits me just fine, actually!
ps, i really enjoyed your last post. had a great morning exploring secret russian art, pondering ballet bones, and being amazed by the fact had never heard of b.traven (whoever he was).

by kristiane on May 5, 2010 at 2:46 am. Reply #

oooh, yay love for dogs!
i too am a late bloomer as far as dog love. i was raised with cats and had no idea how truly awesome dogs are. i just adopted lil’ sammy a month ago and i can’t imagine life without him anymore!

by jenene on May 5, 2010 at 8:49 am. Reply #

I’ve been thinking about doing my PhD work in this area.. animal communications, cognition, and demonstrating to mankind that they are far more than they are generally depicted to be. Thanks for the daily inspiration!

by Gabriel on May 5, 2010 at 1:15 pm. Reply #

The ocean is breaking my heart! But ah, the doggies. Dogs are the best. I miss my doggy friends in NYC. My friends just posted these two things: Orangutan & hound dog pals, so sweet! http://video.tiscali.it/canali/truveo/611_1234581161.html
and Moscow Dogs! http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2010-01/moscows-stray-dogs-evolving-greater-intelligence-wolf-characteristics-and-mastery-subway

by Annie on May 5, 2010 at 2:22 pm. Reply #

i hate dogs, but i loved seeing you today. i think it’s beyond the high time that we reconnect. i can feel that in my bones, you are a positive entity for me. i’m short in that regard. no pressure though, i’ve been short a long time. i just think it’s time that we actually endeavor to make time, in our crazy lives, for one another. i’ll try my best to be worth my salt.

by jennifer powell on May 5, 2010 at 6:27 pm. Reply #

This elephant costume made my day.

by Penny on May 12, 2010 at 8:55 pm. Reply #

Better late than never with the posts, I suppose. I hate how we are destroying the planet- but that is such a big topic for other times, maybe. maybe not.
I grew up with lots and lots of animals esp. kitties. Always thought I was a cat person. And then I met Fawn- my first boxer.
*sigh* ok, now I know that I’m a dog person forever.
We have Tinks now (boxer runt) and kittie Lottie and I love them both… but there is such a connection with canines- they are simply amazing.

by K on May 18, 2010 at 8:51 pm. Reply #

Some quick notes on this entry, which I somehow missed:
1.) French dogs are awful brats (commes ses enfants, si tu me demandes) – I have found French people consistently spoil them and feed them scraps from the dinner table, so they hover and beg whenever meals are on. Whenever such dogged antics take place on this shore, I shame the pooch with a “Whaddya think you are, some kinda Frog Dog?!’
2.) I definitely identify with not being able to connect with cats as much following the loss of a good one. My cat Halloween was my farm-life best friend. She did tricks, followed me around, came when she was called and used to adorably/instantly go immediately under the Christmas tree whenever she came in (if there was one). I have had a cat or so since and my last one actually broke up with me (?!). Halloween came with us from CA to MT and the poor cats were so miserable I can’t imagine taking one across state lines again (or loving one enough to do so!).
3.) I do want to have a dog one day though – either a beagle or old, sad-eyed mutt who can ride shotgun and faithfully keep one blue and one brown eye on the door/window for me (oooh maybe an old mute dog!).
4.) I LOVE BRAD NEELY SO MUCH! If you haven’t watched Wizard People, Dear Readers we reeeeeally really need to.

by Scott Revo on May 24, 2010 at 5:13 pm. Reply #

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