One Smart Dog


I am the only child of an only child. I have a rich history of moments of demand to change that, and the first was at 7 years old. I decided then that I needed to take matters into my own hands. I called The Parents into the living room with all the authority I could muster, sat them down, and delivered my opening statement. It was about time we addressed the singularity issue at hand. I explained my need for companionship. It was their duty as loving parents to see to my needs. And for their sake, I gave them a choice as to how to go about doing so. I would settle for a sibling… or a puppy. It was clearly a reasonable proposition.

It wasn’t too long until the three of us were on our way to the animal shelter preparing to meet all the puppies possible. The Mom gave her instructions, knowing she could not begin to predict the future if The Dad and I were sent in alone.

We were to obtain a small dog. Preferably a female.

And then we went in.

In the first crate a fluffball of a dog looked up at us. The fluffball was pregnant with fluffballettes, and each of them would need a home. As a firm believer in instant gratification, I refused the minimum of a two week wait before I could bond with one of the fluffball’s offspring. The Mom grew suspicious of what was next.

The second crate carried an older dog, one I quickly named Oreo and explained that she would follow us home. Turned out that Oreo needed a few weeks of canine therapy from a bad home situation before she could be put with another family. The Mom decided that a psychotic dog was perhaps not the best choice for her family, and I was still on the instant gratification kick.

That’s when The Mom’s worst fear hit. All she could hear were squeals and exclamations of cuteness and perfection from The Dad and I around the corner. She quickly came around to discover that we had fallen in love with a puppy, a boy puppy, and one with paws seemingly bigger than his head. He was a border collie mix according to the shelter, and the mix was suspected to be rottweiler. The Mom pointed out that this puppy failed to meet any of the guidelines she had put forth, but the look in our eyes were the deciding factor.

We got to pick up Judah later that week, and I was ridiculously excited. I had named him Judah because I was a totally normal child with a fierce fascination with the Old Testament. (A cat was later named after a character in the Dynotopia series. Deal with it.) He was to be the smartest dog ever, the best dog ever, and my friend forever. We put him in the back of the van, and I sat with him cooing over him every nanosecond. It didn’t take us too long to realize my plan for perfection probably wasn’t going to happen.

About a half mile from the shelter, The Dad pulled over to my screaming bloody murder. Turns out Judah had become curious and got his head stuck under the driver’s seat of the car. I decided that translated to untimely death, and I demanded aid in the dog’s rescue. The Dad stopped, grumbled about perhaps getting the dumbest dog in the lot, and helped Judah out.

This process occurred at least three times on the short drive home.

Judah, in fact, turned out to be a particularly special canine – refusing to sleep any other way than flat on his back with his feet straight up in the air. Known to engage in several hours of hopping because of his fascination with underground moles. He also insisted that he was a lap dog, though it only took a few months for him to exceed 80 pounds. He had no control of his tail, repeatedly taking down entire pieces of furniture like our couch. On top of that – he was POSITIVE our cat would fall in love with him. Boy was he wrong…

In the end, I think a sibling might have been a “smarter” decision.

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