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I’m a little dog-matic, but…

Columnist

A few friends and I went out to lunch. One of the ladies asked about my writing career with a pet magazine.

I told her it was short-lived. I wrote two articles about dogs, but I think I was a little too dogmatic.

She said, “People are passionate about their animals.”

“I know, I live among dog-loving people and I am finding that out.”

“They probably detected it. It’s hard to write when you lack passion about something.”

“I understand, I thought it was clever of me to name the articles, ‘I’m a little dog-matic, but …’ I worked really hard to show a compassionate side. Apparently it didn’t come through. Those two articles were probably the hardest articles I have had to write. If it isn’t there, it isn’t there. I wouldn’t mistreat an animal for anything. In fact, I want all animals inside during these cold days. I don’t want anything to suffer.”

She proceeded to tell me about “Kitty.”

Apparently, Kitty lived in the wild for two years and came around her house frequently. She and her husband feed Kitty, and now she is living in their house. My friend said her husband, Bob, loves Kitty and felt sorry she didn’t have grass in the winter to enjoy and lay in. He built a 4×4 framed box, put in dirt and planted grass. Now Kitty has green grass all year round.

I asked her how he mowed it?

She said, “With scissors. Kitty is very spoiled. She has an electric mattress and she sleeps warm now. She gets brushed everyday.”

“Well, Kitty has surely hit the jackpot.”

My other friend, the owner of a dog, spoke up. “I brush Gus’ teeth every day.”

I said, “You must be kidding. Every day?”

“Yes, every day. When he sees me with the toothbrush, he lies down on one side, I brush his teeth, and then he turns on the other side.”

I asked her, “Who has time to brush their dog’s teeth every day?”

She said, “He loves it. I love my dog. Gus has his own bedroom.”

“His own bedroom? You’ve got to be kidding.”

Then Sam’s wife spoke up. “Jake isn’t wearing pajamas anymore.”

Gus’ owner asked, “Do they have pajamas for a sixty-pound dog?”

“I don’t know. Jake weighs only 30 pounds.”

I rolled my eyes, wondering about the conversation.

I said, “Our daughter found a hand-knitted sweater, size six, and Daisy wore it over the holidays. She was very festive.”

In my mind, I was thinking, “I can’t believe this conversation. Maybe I’m a little dogmatic, but this is ridiculous. These animals are treated better than humans.”

Then Sam’s wife proceeded to tell the other women that they bought Jake a thunderwear suit, and he is doing better when it thunders. They explained to me, it was not underwear, but thunderwear.

They asked about Whiskey: Was she getting any smarter?

I told them, “A little. Daisy still has a mean streak in her and she attacks Whiskey. Whiskey is getting sweeter and sweeter and Al loves her, and I’m coming around. I’m not mad at animals. I think I have a better perception than all the people around me.”

Once upon a time, when we all had children at home, we talked about our kids. Now empty-nesters talk about their pets. I’m taking notes, and wondering what life has come to, but I’m always seeing the next article flourishing in the midst of their passion.

Final brushstroke: Yes, I’m a little dog-matic, and I’d rather be talking about my next book. My friends don’t seem to have the same interest and passion. I guess I should go and pet Whiskey. I know it would thrill my Sweet Al’s heart.

Artist’s quote

“A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.” — Hugh Downs.

Readers’ comments

Send in your comments to betty@bettyslade.com. I’m sure you all have dog stories and would love to tell them.

This story was posted on January 24, 2013.