Tuesday, January 20, 2015

It's A Dog's World

Last weekend my husband tried to text me the above photo of Coney Dog (a budding Instagram sensation). Instead, he accidentally sent the pic to a group text with our college friends, much to their delight. Now they all like to joke that Justin sits around and trolls dog accounts on Instagram, which is only partly true. Justin has been trying to convince me to get on board with getting a dog. But I keep insisting that I am not a "dog person." I'm a "Golden Retriever person." 

When I was very young I was terrified of all dogs. My parents had to cross me to the other side of the street as soon as we saw a canine coming our way. And preferably I'd be hoisted onto my father's shoulders, a safe distance from a street attack. It wasn't until I fearlessly pet a Great Dane that I mistook for a horse that the spell was finally broken. When My parents told me I had just petted a dog, I was flabbergasted but also empowered. I had survived. 

Another survival story is that of the Golden Retriever that stole my heart. My two brothers and I picked her out at a shoddy strip mall in NJ. At the time we thought we were saving her, but really, she saved us. We named her Cosette (Cozy for short) after the Le Miserables character, and she was one of the loves of my life. I know -- I sound like a Crazy Dog Person. But I'm really not. I'm a Crazy Golden Retriever Person. There's a difference. 

My father is a Crazy Poodle Person. He has more photos of his two Poodles than of his grandchildren. (He will try to deny this, but his family knows the truth.) 

Ann Patchett is a crazy Parking Lot Dog Person. I'm currently reading her essay compilation This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage and she chronicles her life with her beloved mutt Rose, adopted on a whim in a parking lot, in an essay titled "This Dog's Life." Patchett explains her crazy love for Rose and the things she is willing to do for her dog, like move to a nicer apartment. Patchett argues that dogs are, in fact, the key to perfect happiness. 

There are many studies that back the benefits of dog ownership. Dr. Andrew Weil just posted an article about his enriched life experience due to ownership of two Rhodesian Ridgebacks: "Their affectionate natures always lift my spirits at the end of a long, stressful day." Weil goes on to say that in general, "Companion animals enrich our lives. Research shows that pet owners have less illness, recover faster from serious health conditions, and tend to be happier than people who do not own pets."

My husband wants a Goldendoodle because he's allergic to fur, and doodle dogs are apparently hypoallergenic. Maybe I will compromise and become a Goldendoodle Person. After all, marriage is a compromise. Plus, that Coney Dog is pretty effing adorable. 


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