Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Dog People

How do we feel about dogs? This asked as I stare into the heavenly, yet very furry face of the puppy further down on this page.

Don’t get me wrong, I love him. Really. It’s just that I was never really a “dog person” per se.
My instinct never extended to automatically patting the head of someone’s furry companion that was obviously much happier to see ME than I was to see HIM. (Or HER.) The first month of dog-ownership was spent with us thinking he was peeing every time he sat down. To say “we knew NOTHING about dogs” is an understatement. Now it's 7 years later and we're still pretty much clueless.

My sister Kerry is very much a DOG-PERSON. She had 2 black labs and they were her children until she had….uh, her children. Then she had four children. All boys, now that I think of it: Jake, Rugby, Ryan (real boy) and Drew (other real boy)….in order of their birth.

My sister Laura is quite the opposite: she’s already telling Metro to get off her before she’s even fully in the door. (Of course, despite this…or maybe because of it...Metro goes straight for her and bugs her unmercifully for attention. He knows she could take or leave him…he’s not stupid.) My brother is undecided, I believe. I think he tolerates Metro for the sake of my petit-nieces Princess Lucy & Princess Alice, who adore him and want to take him home. They babble to him in French and he follows them around…waiting for them to errantly drop something…anything…even remotely edible. Being the youngest two of the cousin-brood, they invariably do….and this gives him the incentive to keep looking…and following…and remaining underfoot.

Then there’s my dad, who treats him like he’s one of the grandchildren. He coos and coddles and gives him treats when he thinks no-one’s looking. Needless to say, Metro LOVES him.

And it’s “Welcome to My Family”.

Metronome is his full name. This was proclaimed after I read his REAL name on the breeder’s papers. It was something like “Lord Byridge Champion Snooty Pants Marmaduke”, or something resembling this. Regardless, it simply would not do. Such a big name for such a little dog. “Metronome” seemed more appropriate, as his tail strongly resembles a metronome every time he wags it. Which is all the time. So, it’s “Metro” for short….and ”Metronome” when he’s done something wrong...and “Nomie” if he’s being cute.

He’s a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. See? Another big name. He’s had enough, already.

After the boys and me, his favorite people are Carolyn and Sarah. They’re my nieces (Laura’s girls)…just no longer petit-nieces. Also stunningly beautiful…as are the rest of the members of my family…right down to the dog.

Anyway, Metro somehow got us in the habit of giving him a treat whenever we leave the house and return again. At first, it was funny. We leave in the morning, return home and he’d want a treat. Cute, right? Then it got to be: you got the mail, he wanted a treat. Now, it’s not so cute. After he packed on a few pounds from all those treats, the breeder gently suggested we switch to baby carrots for his “rewards” (“Rewards from WHAT?” I’d think…”he’s not doing anything…and who made up this rule, anyway?”)

So Metro gleans that the food he craves is coming from that “big white box” (that would be the fridge…nothing gets by him) so now every time anyone enters this humble abode they’re met by a black & tan spaniel, who prances around like a pony that’s had too much caffeine as he tries to lead the newcomers towards the “big white box”.

Enter Carolyn and Sarah. They love ‘Nomie as much as we do…I’ve often informed them that they’ve got half-ownership in him. This only seems to stretch up to the point of the vet bills, however…evidently that’s where Laura draws the line.

The girls visit enough that they know the drill by now:

  1. Metro prances frantically
  2. They give him a carrot
  3. He goes away.

But now, there’s a twist: Now, he wants two carrots. See, somehow he’s figured out how to count. “There’s two of them…so there should be two treats for ME,” he reasons. The girls comply, because….well, they have to. He seeks them out individually, prancing underfoot and basically preventing them from the simple process of walking from room to room. In the end, it’s just not worth it.

So, now I think I’m going to have to put my DOG on a DIET from eating too many CARROTS.

I can almost hear the whining…but, if he’s ever going to meet my friend Susan’s puppies (“Tosha is 5.9 lbs and Gracie is 2 1/2 lbs,” Sue casually informs me) he’s gonna need to do some serious slimming down, if he wants to be taken seriously by the ladies.

I hear those little Canadian puppies can be pretty picky.

Anonymous said...

Haha! i love this one! well maybe since...uh....I WAS IN IT!!!
Haha poor Metro, did you read this to him? :D


Anonymous said...

I think Laura is misunderstood.
that's all.

Anonymous said...

So, Laura's misunderstood? Do you think she's a "closet dog lover"??
If so, she's an excellent actress.
I will admit, Metro genuinely loves her and he's a very good judge of character.

Anonymous said...

Great posting. I love Metro. You're the only person who could ever truly explain to me what having a dog was about. I thought I understood it all-until this. I am exasperated, but since this made me laugh really hard my energy is balanced out. Go give Metro a carrot for making me laugh & give yourself a drink as a "reward".

Anonymous said...

JH: Metro and I think you're the "cat's meow". We're both smacking our lips...he from a carrot and me from that drink.

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