I’ve hesitated since I started this blog to write about my dog. Everyone’s got dog stories, and why muddy the waters with more, i thought. Besides, it’s a topic that writes itself, and doesn’t take a whole bunch of thought at the end of the day. But then I realized that writing about ones dog might in fact be terribly difficult. To be able to convey the love of your dog onto a blank page, THAT is tough. At the end of the day, we’ll never do it justice. Ever. All we can do is write, and hope that the way we feel about our dogs comes out in the words. So with that said, this is my shot. This is my world with Dexter.
Like millions of Americans, I have a dog. And like everyone one of those millions of dog owners, I’m absolutely convinced that my dog is special. And like every one of those owners, I’m also convinced that no, really, I’m not just saying that-my dog is truly one of a kind. Let me also just go ahead and say this now, that this entry doesn’t have a sad ending. It seems all people want to do is write about how wonderful their dog is AFTER the fact. No, no, I want to go on record now, while Dexter is still here and explain that he is really the best dog there ever was. And not the best in a he-listens-to-my-every-command kind of way. Just….the best.
Dexter is complicated. He always has been. Since the day I laid eyes on him at the Atlanta Lab Rescue day back in 2008, I knew he was the one I wanted. I had always wanted a black lab and Dexter looked at me and nearly opened his mouth and said “please, take me. I won’t be the easiest dog to deal with in the world, but you’ll love me anyway.” Dammit Dexter, you couldn’t have been more right.
Black labs aren’t exactly mellow dogs, and The Dex is no exception. Every knock at the door is a 4 alarm fire, every ring of the doorbell is a trip down panic lane, and sitting on the couch and watching tv, well, that was impossible for the first two years, as Dexter wasn’t taking a backseat to the evening news when it came to attention. He never sat, he never relaxed, and he never seemed to be able to just chill.
He’s got a small circle of doggie friends, not because he is anti-social, but because he’s convinced every other dog is out to get him. Call it paranoia, call it fear, he’s always got a conspiracy on the mind about how the Yorkie down the street is plotting his demise. And as a result, the Yorkie down the street hears from him every time they cross paths. Barking, lunging, whatever it takes. We explored dog obedience class, which, aside from being able to hang with his great dane buddy Mikey, was pretty much a miserable experience for Dexter. Much like the kid in the back of the class who refuses to shut up or sit still, Dexter had no interest in the lecture on learning to heel. Or sitting. Or staying. Or focusing on one’s owner. Somehow, his teacher, David, managed to give him a passing grade. It was equal parts congrats-on-your-hard-work and oh-my-god-get-him-out-of-here.
Before getting a dog, I had visions of being a man about town with my dog, going to the park, going to street festivals, just me and Dexter, a dynamic duo of sorts. Pilot and wingman, we’d be guys about town. The truth is though, he has no interest in street festivals, as the crowds and noise are a bit overwhelming. He really doesn’t have any real interest in the park, since the other dogs are all out to get him. And while we’ve tried doggie daycare, well, he’d just rather be at home. At least that’s what he apparently told the other dogs who so desperately wanted to play with him.
The first three years of our lives together has certainly had its share of bumps in the road. I’ve stood at the top of the stairs, with my eyes shut, trying to channel some element of patience when I found my brand new shoes mangled and chewed. It’s been hard to swallow when the alarm clock is set to go off at 6:30, but Dexter decides to start the day even earlier, which in turn, means we ALL start the day earlier.
As I write this, I’ve determined it’s not the last this blog will hear of Dexter. He’s a great dog, and has made the last 3 years awesome…….and interesting. I could write 15 more paragraphs about his exploits. But I’ll hold off for now. I’ve got to pace myself. And find a new pair of shoes.