Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Why We Should All Have a Dog or a Tail

What is the one small thing that always makes you happy?

We all know who man’s best friend is: the dog. Before you sigh and say, “

Of course your dog makes you happy, that is their job,”

hear me out. Dogs are loyal and kind-hearted; they aim to please and often, like in the case of my pup, they are treated like a person. You have to understand where Vera, my Vizsla-Labrador mixed puppy, came from before you can scorn me for counting her in on the people-side of things.

My husband of two years and I lived in eastern Wyoming for one year and would often go to South Dakota for little mini-vacations. One such trip we found ourselves wandering into a pet store, where I pointed at this tiny black dog and said, “I want to hold that one please.” He said, “No way. You’ll hold it, then I’ll have to buy it.” I gave him my best please-give-me-what-I-want look and he asked the store clerk if we could hold the small black puppy.

“Good choice,” said the clerk, as she sat us in the puppy holding are, “this girl’s been here for a while and we don’t know what kind of dog she is.” As soon as the clerk placed that tiny, black, warm, ball of fur into my arms, I fell in love. I had met my puppy. She was calm, and nestled right into my neck, when we put her down to play her legs spread out in all four directions like a fawn trying to walk for the first time. She was perfect, and, good news, she was on sale! I love a good bargain. My husband looked at me and smiled, he then reminded me we were not allowed to have animals in the house we were renting. Tears welled up in my eyes as I faced the idea of putting my dog-child back in a glass cage, “I’ll come back for you,” I whispered into her soft, warm ears. Distraught, I handed him the pup and headed for the door; he returned her to the clerk and apologized that we could not take her home. That night was grueling, neither one of us could forget that black puppy’s tiny paws, soft hair, warm ears and needle teeth. Something must be done!

We called our landlord and thank goodness for my husband’s negotiating skills, because he won our pup fare and square, at the cost of a new fence and a doggie door for the house. We rushed back to the pet store as soon as they opened and chose her a collar to really make her ours. We were officially a family.

One of my friends recently told me that dogs always match their people, “Vera matches you,” she continued, “She’s happy, willing to please and does not like things out of place.” A little embarrassing but true. I love my dog, and she makes me happy, but the part of her that brings me the most joy is her tail. A dog’s tail can tell you a range of emotions; sad: tucked under, angry: bristled and stiff, shy: wag, playful: wag, wag, wag, happy: wag, wag, wag, wag, wag. Everything you need to know about your pup can be determined by the demeanor of their tail. It would be so nice if human’s had tails, huh? We would never have to decode a look from the woman at the checkout counter, or try to decipher our partner’s mood when they get home. In my opinion, tails would end all the confusion deciphering a one word text message has thrown into our society! You would be able to read people’s true emotions, but it would pose a challenge to bluff in the World Poker Tournament.

My Vera’s tail is exceptionally good at explaining an array of emotions, the best being her joy when my husband and I return home. Most days when we come home, she is not waiting at our door, nope, she is on our bed.

We come in our bedroom and she does not even to get up, yet the tip of her tail, the tiny tip of her tail, is moving, no, not moving, it is beating. The tip of her tail is beating, pounding away a rhythm that would put a hummingbird to shame. I melt when I see that because I know that she loves me. Beyond a shadow of a doubt she is my dog, her tail tells me so everyday. I am not ashamed to admit that I am a dog person, no a dog-tail person because the tiny tip of my dogs tail make me happy.