Granddogs Own Me Now

With apologies to those who are, I must confess that I am not an avowed dog-lover. Normally I cower when friendly canines take a flying leap into my lap. I startle when they lick my face. The thought of doggie halitosis makes me cringe.

But this is all subject to one puzzling exception: my long-distance granddogs.

If it were not for Winston the pug and Wendie, a poofy white whatchamacallit who live in Phoenix, I might have never entered the strange world of doggie adoration. They are the tail-waggers who, in lieu of children, own my older son and his wife. And they are starting to own me.

When they race to the door to greet me, jump on the couch to help me watch The Voice, or look up with laser focus hoping for a dropped carrot nub, I melt.

For me, this is an astonishing development. My mother, an avid gardener, planted the seeds of doggie disdain years ago when the lab next door regularly romped and wrecked her garden. With that, his name – and that of the entire species – became Damn Dog.

Damn Dogs, she said, were expensive to maintain, made it impossible to go on vacation, and had accidents in the house. Doggie love never fully bloomed.

Until the granddogs came along, that is. I suspect that the two of them – and their parents – have gone to extreme measures to get me helplessly hooked.

On a recent visit, Wendie raced to the door in a white bandana peppered with little red hearts. Her mom, who calls me the Granddogma, had tied it on in honor of my Valentine birthday. Winston, 11, skipped the plastic stairs his parents installed for him by the couch and hoisted his arthritic body up with sheer enthusiasm. I think they secretly trained him for this.

I’m not sure how I would otherwise deserve such doggie adoration. The matching personalized Christmas stockings I sent out a few months ago? The hope that I am a very sloppy eater? Or are they, like my human grandchildren, simply a cut above all the rest – cleverer? more loving? and no matter what, well-meaning?

Maybe, at 1,873 miles away the heart grows even fonder. Still, I’m sure that coming from a damn dog background, I am perfectly objective. Who wouldn’t notice that they shed real tears when my son leaves the house? Or dance wildly when my daughter-in-law gets home from work?

Who wouldn’t be impressed that the pug, a foodie, is willing to go on a diet just so he can fit in a travel carrier and fly to visit his other grandma in New England?

And Louis C.K. has nothing over Wendie for belly laughs when the casual mention of “walk” sends her flying off the couch, sliding across the coffee table, and landing optimistically across the room by her leash.

I suppose with such a change of heart, there are those who are bound to wonder if I have finally seen the light. Am I about to head for the nearest shelter, adoption papers in hand? Or maybe let one test-drive me to see if I’m worth owning?

No, no, no. I don’t think so. Not that I have anything against dogs. Or that I would ever call them damn dogs.

I just think it would be too hard on these granddogs to share me.

Copyright 2016 Pat Snyder

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