I can’t stand my dog. There I said it. I know that’s some bold shit to say in a pet-obsessed country; but I really don’t like that little asshole. Now don’t ya’ll start calling the Humane Society or the SPCA ‘cause I treat the little bitch well. Actually, she is curled up next to me as I write this blog. She loves me. And I love her. She’s just that family member that I wouldn’t have chosen.
Which I’m sure makes you say, “But you did choose her. It ain’t like you carried her for nine months.” Technically I chose her, but I was tricked, bamboozled and led astray. To start, I’ve never been a dog person. I like my friend’s dogs (for brief moments); but I never could imagine myself walking behind something in cold weather, picking up hot poop. Additionally, while over the years I’ve tolerated ex-boyfriends’ amorous body-licking, I honestly can’t stand being licked. Lastly, I don’t like to be needed/loved so damn much. The best thing about dogs is they want to be your constant companion, love you (aggressively) no matter what, and are so happy to greet you when you are around. That’s just too much fucking pressure for a woman like me. It takes me back to sex in my 20s; I gotta do a lot of faking it. I also struggle with guilty feelings: I feel guilty when I leave the house, guilty if I don’t act like I just won free tickets to a Prince-Michael Jackson concert when I return; I feel guilty when I’m writing and she wants to play. It’s just too much love, too much pressure — too much in your face-ness, too much everything.
But, kids make you do things you never thought you’d do—like get pets you don’t want or don’t even fit into your lifestyle. So, my husband and I decided to get a dog for my oldest on his 13th birthday. I researched heavily the best type of dog for our family, since we were essentially dog-virgins; and settled upon getting a Lab (I insisted that it be a Black lab because Black dogs are adopted at a much lower rate and we are a Black family, afterall). We found Roxy, who is 80 pounds of pure happiness. She is too much—but her too much is irresistible. She wakes up every morning, yelping a joyous dog-song, running to everyone’s room, wagging her tail seeming to say, “Wake up everyone! It’s a new day! We are alive and so blessed.”
When my second son turned 13 we knew we had to get him a dog too (‘cause you know we would’ve gotten the whole, ‘you love my brother more crap’). I wanted to find a dog who could match Roxy’s energy level and temperament but who was ½ her size (because two 80 pound dogs is just too much for our tiny house). I did an extensive online search at rescue centers across the area for weeks. As my son’s birthday quickly approached I complained that I could only find Chihuahuas and pit bulls (seemed as if they were the most unadoptable dogs). Finally, I found a place in a town sixty miles away from our home that had a litter of 9 allegedly Labrador/Beagle mixes. Perfect! After completing the intense application process: online application, two phone interviews that covered my philosophy on crating, my yard size, and my economic readiness to properly care for the dog. I learned that I earned the 8th pick of the litter (out of 9!). Really, 8th place?!?! Understand, I am rescuing this dog from essentially a pound, but okay!
So fast forward: my husband drives 2 hours up and back to get the dog, my son is thrilled, and that’s where the nightmare begins.
As friends come by to meet the “new addition” they all get that quizzical look on their faces when they see her: “What did you say she was.” Then they’d get quiet. “Girl, that dog is a Chihuahua.”
The damn dog is indeed a Chihuahua—the exact type of dog I did not want (remember my family doesn’t know crap about dogs). We’d been cat-fished; sold a bill of goods; lied to; served the whole switch-cha-roo! A freaking Chihuahua!!
And she acts exactly as a Chihuahua does: barks excessively and incessantly at anything (squirrels, birds, wind, people, other dogs, imaginary creatures; and growls violently if she’s not barking or digging massive holes in the backyard to escape. All of our furry, cute toys — she finds a way to tear them apart into little pieces until she gets the squeaker out, which she then chews on. Neighbors’ darling kids — she terrorizes them. Old ladies – terrorizes; the pastor at my kids’ school when I pick him up – terrorizes.
She’s only sweet when she’s asleep. Then she curls up right next to me, as she is right now and makes me fall in love with her again. That is, until she wakes up.
Once she’s awake, her mission is to terrorize and to do it loudly. So, I’ve considered giving her back to the rescue center (heck, they bamboozled me. Labradeagle, my ass!). I know most of you think that’s horrible; but nothing right now in my family causes me as much heartache and headache as this animal. When my husband has caused me half as much trouble, I’ve considered getting rid of his ass, which has helped me to learn about America’s love of dogs. In bad times, I’ve said to my friends that I was thinking about leaving my husband, I’ve gotten nothing but support. But now when I talk about separating from this damn Chihuahua, I hear how I made a commitment to it. Really?
So, until death must do us part I’m stuck I guess. I realize that terrors like her don’t die. She will probably outlive me, and then then dig up my damn gravesite and chew on my brittle bones.
But, hey, that’s love—right?
My intention is for Black people to love themselves and each other. It sounds somewhat silly, I guess; but oftentimes my people are overwhelmed with negative images, bad news, and stereotyped characters about us. I’d like to flip that script. I’d like to remind us, as often as I can, how incredible we are. Read more