Honey is an easy dog.
You may need to remind me of that when she’s barking to go outside because she’s tired of waiting for her walk. Or when she refuses to go down the steps to pee unless I go with her, barefoot and in my bathrobe in sub freezing temperatures.
I know how lucky I am. Really. Honey is one easy dog.
But two decades from now, will my memories of good girl Honey be as vivid as my current memories of my first dog, crazy-A$$ Agatha?
The Hard Dog and the Ignorant Owner
I knew a little about dogs when we brought Agatha and Christie home from the Philadelphia SPCA.
I knew that the bouncy, friendly dog (Christie) would grow into a great dog, just by observing her behavior in the kennel. But I didn’t know what I was in for when Mike said, “Gee, I hate to break up the set. Let’s take them both.” Even though Agatha, at four months old, was already snapping at her sister and warning her away from greeting me.
Everything that I observed about the two in their kennel on their adoption day turned out to be true.
Christie was friendly, confident, and sweet. Agatha was neurotic. Conflicted. Bossy.
Adopting two litter mates was a very bad idea for a first time dog owner (and yes, before I decided I’ll never own a dog again, owner is the word I used). They were never fully house trained. They howled when I left the house (no wonder my neighbors turned to crack). And they fought. Oh, did they fight.
I’ll never forget the worst battles when Christie had seizures at the end of her life. If I didn’t catch her first, Christie would stand stiffly over Agatha while she was still “out of it” from her seizure. Next thing you know, there was fur, saliva, and blood flying.
I remember Mike coming home one night to find Agatha out on the porch and me covered in blood while I tried to figure out where Christie was bleeding from.
Not good times.
The Hard Dog on Her Own
When Christie passed at 14 years old, I worried about Agatha. She was puzzled when we came home from the vet. Alone. But that was her only reaction.
I think she was relieved to finally be on her own with us.
Agatha had a great two years with us. Without her sister around, her craziness decreased. Of course, it probably helped that she had cataracts and had gone completely deaf.
But Agatha still had some spunk.
I came home one day to find an empty, torn up bread wrapper on the floor. Sure, lots of dogs counter surf. But we stored the bread on top of the refrigerator. My arthritic dog jumped up on a chair, climbed onto the table, and stretched until she could reach the top of the fridge.
Maybe the reason I have such strong memories of Agatha is not because she was such a hard dog to live with. But because, for her last two years, she became a pretty easy dog to live with.
Or maybe it’s because the dog was as hard to live with as the person.
The Hard Dog and the Hard Person
I found my 20s and 30s really tough. I don’t know how my husband ever lived with me.
When things were really terrible, Agatha was there to comfort me. Not because she was an intuitive, special dog who always knew what a person needed. But because she was such a neurotic, messed-up pup.
Agatha was obsessively attached to me.
One crazy dog stuck to one crazy person. It was a perfect match.
Who is Your Heart Dog
Some people refer to their “heart dog”— that special, canine soul-mate they form a special connection to. Not everyone gets the idea of a heart dog. I’ve never used the term myself.
But I wonder about it sometimes.
I’ve heard people describe their heart dog as the one who knew what they wanted before they asked for it. Who didn’t need training because she just did what she was supposed to all the time.
But I’ve also heard people describe their heart dog as needy. Or neurotic.
Maybe it’s just a side effect of my gloomy view of life. But I have to work much harder to remember the easy times in my life than the hard. Maybe, for me, it’s the same way with dogs.
And that’s why I need to treasure every moment with my easy dog. Because my easy dog won’t be by my side forever. And maybe plentiful, happy memories with an easy dog can remain with me as long as difficult memories with a hard dog.
Thank you to Lara Elizabeth of Rubicon Days, whose Bad Dogs are the Best Dogs, inspired this post.
Did You Miss These Wags?
And on a sillier note, have you voted in the poll for what we should call Something Wagging This Way Comes readers (you see what I mean? it’s just too long and awkward.)?
Wag-alongs has just squeaked past S’waggers. Now really people. Do you think we’ll ever be as cool as cat bloggers if we call ourselves Wag-alongs? But I’m not biased.
Oh, and we have two new suggestions: Wagsters and Waginators. “I’ll be bark” anyone?
And we’re taking names for the Pet Blogger’s Gift Exchange. Sign up to be matched with another blogger to share link love and encouragement. If you don’t believe me it will be one of the best things you ever do, check out the comments from people who did it last year and are coming back for more. Just enter your information in the Rafflecopter and wait to receive your match by email.
Hope you can join the fun.
Your Turn: Have you had “hard” dogs and “easy” dogs? Do you find one more memorable than the other?