I try not to brag about the furry child. Rather, I’ve focussed primarily on her bad behaviours in this blog, affection for her phallic dog toy aside. She steals food from the counter, fetches socks from the laundry basket, shreds those tempting rolls of toilet paper, and races over household hill (couch) and dale (basement) when she’s cooped up. I realize that all these bad behaviours speak to her parenting. But if you ever meet her, you’ll have to admit that, behavioural challenges aside, she’s lovable.
Jelly is a Basset Hound and, as she gets older, she is growing into her Bassetness, as J. likes to say. She is getting that Bassety Elizabethan collar around her neck and dignified gray hairs around the muzzle. Although she is almost 5, she still has a certain puppyishness about her. I know we focus too much on physical appearance in our culture, but nonetheless I’ll assert that my dog is more adorable than your honour student. When we walk Jelly in the neighbourhood, other walkers and drivers often smile our way. Sometimes they even point and laugh, hopefully not at me.
So you won’t be surprised to learn that when I walked with my self-proclaimed needy friend, L., last month, Jelly received lots of attention from many passers by. People asked questions about her and stopped to pet her, and Jelly rewarded them with licks and tail wags. I felt bad that my furry love magnet selfishly took all the attention away from needy L.
As we finished our walk, an older fellow behind us called out: “She must be a show dog!” I took his comment in as any proud parent would, thanked him for it, and went on my way. Oh, but first I laughed.
Why did I laugh? Because dear Jelly may be funny and charming and beautiful, but she is anything but a show dog. To be Westminster material, she would need to meet the breed standard, which she is so far from doing that people often ask what kind of dog she is. Her head is a bit too big for her body, and she’s taller and thinner than a typical Basset, although she tries to remedy her thinness by relentlessly scrounging for food on our walks. (Rabbit poop is her favourite sidewalk snack since it looks like kibble.) Except for her Bassety large front paws that turn out slightly, her jowls, and her long counter-surfing body, Jelly is one of a kind. She looks like a cross between a bloodhound and a wiener dog, if you can imagine those two getting it on.
In fact, as we were walking in the neighbourhood one beautiful summer day, a fellow who had probably had a few too many shouted from his porch: “What a ginormous wiener!” I think his assessment was more accurate than that of Mr. Show Dog, but still his words were jarring. Thank goodness my external conscience (that’s J.) was with me, because it took everything I had not to ask him about the size of his wiener.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to take my ginormous wiener for a walk. I hope the Easter Bunny, or Elijah, finds your home this weekend, depending on your faith. Heck, just enjoy a few days with family and friends. Happy holidays to all.