Nora is a Pomeranian-ish mix, or at least we think she is. She’s around eight, and I’ve had her since she was two. She is very attached to me, and I love her unconditionally in the same way that the parents of the second-grade bully love their child unconditionally — because the dog/child is mine/theirs, and I/they see the beauty and perfection and kindness they are capable of displaying and sometimes even do display in surprising moments of tenderness to be cherished forever, these little snowflakes of goodness that far too quickly melt and are replaced by a steady drone of absolute fucking asshole behavior. But you keep on loving them, harder and harder, because the goodness is there, deep down, and the things that cover it up on a day-to-day basis aren’t really their fault and if it’s anyone’s fault it’s definitely yours.
With a child, this probably means you have to take the kid to therapy or something, but since Nora’s a fluffy little dog, we mostly just laugh at her attempts to play Machiavelli with Percy and the neighbor’s German Shepherd.
Before I got Nora, she had puppies, and she and her little dog family lived under a house. This, I think, has a lot to do with why she is how she is. She likes to hang out under the couch and the bed, in my closet draped across nearly forgotten pants she’s managed to work off their hangers and onto the floor. If you try to get her out of these places, she snarls and snaps and isn’t joking around about it.
Her first instinct is protecting us and the house from all threats, real but mostly imagined, and last summer she decided that a big bag of potting soil in the backyard belonged to her and would spend hours laying on it and defending it from our neighbors, whose potting soil it actually was. Whenever she wants a thing, she starts barking, and she doesn’t stop until we either figure out what it is that she wants or we ignore her for like 30 minutes. It causes me genuine pain that I can’t explain to her that everything is okay now, we have provided the food and toys and walks and attention that she needs and will continue to do so, and also it’s actually our job to protect her and not the other way around.
Again, this is a 15-pound dog we’re talking about who’s so cute and silly and strange that this is all mostly pretty endearing. The only genuine issue we have with her is the thing with her barking for like four hours straight whenever I leave the house. She barks in shrill, staccato triplets, at about the tempo of a Bloc Party song, usually until I get back. My girlfriend, for understandable reasons, has told me multiple times that this “drives her to insanity,” especially if she’s working, and especially especially if she’s on deadline. She has made multiple recordings of Nora’s outburst and sent them to me. I was going to embed one of them but I couldn’t figure out how, so instead, here’s an old picture of some dudes playing golf.