A bit of a bitch, and an ex I’ll never get over
Are there some exes you never get over? He was dark, he was exceptionally handsome, he was better bred than half the entries in Debrett’s, and he came down in a ute from Hamilton.
Merlin was the kind of dog that other dog lovers coveted. He inspired copycat purchases amongst our friends. It was like dating the hottest guy at the SLSC over January. Every time you went to the dog park, people looked - it felt good.
He was smart as a whip, he had eyes that could make strangers do his bidding, and he was loyal in that doggy way to which humans can only aspire. Yet he managed to retain just a little bit of mystery. Just enough so you didn’t feel you had his balls in the drawer – which wasn’t surprising since they were in a wheelie bin behind the vet’s somewhere.
He wasn’t perfect. I’ll admit it. He had some eating behaviours that would make Kirstie Alley feel good about herself. But he was our first love.
The hard truth though is that Merlin has gone - to that open garbage bin in the sky where all good Labradors end up. We cried. We agonised over what to do with his accessories. We put his ashes on a shelf in the garage. Then we had to move on. The problem is the family did not move on as one.
In a demonstration of impulsivity, not unlike a stunt Merlin may have pulled, my partner unilaterally procured “our next dog”. Not only did he come home with this canine a couple of years ahead of the agreed timeline, but despite assurances to the contrary, his purchase also ensured that we would remain a one bitch household.
Maybe I’m still on the canine rebound, and maybe as previously postulated there are some exes from whom you never recover, but the fact is the transition is not going well. I know I owe it to Kipper, our new family member, to give him a clean slate – he sure is making it hard though.
We’ve all got family members that seem to have come from the shallow end of the gene pool, but Kipper is a piece of work.
When he’s not chasing his tail, he’s pushing the boundaries of what could possibly be defined as food. He has caused us to ponder the very definition of food. Does the fact of eating something make it food?
It could not be, as some of the things that he has chowed down on are just so very wrong. You know the kind of things where you vow you will never let your dog lick you again. And apparently his breed reaches their intellectual crescendo around three.
Besides the above hobbies, all Kipper really seems to care about is the hierarchy. Which he determines by seeing whether or not he gets away with standing behind someone and putting his “hands” on their hips, with a sexual intent about as thinly veiled as a scene from Dirty Dancing.
Never fear that the dog is unloved though. I often find Kipper and his sponsor, after a trip to the park together or out for a coffee, leaning into each other, in that manner of relaxed male camaraderie where they stop whatever it is they are doing, go quiet and look up at you until you move on. I expect walking into the male changerooms by mistake might feel similar.
It’s time to temper this outburst though, because if there’s anything Australians won’t tolerate, it’s a dog hater. As far as I can tell in this land, disliking dogs is a bit like not drinking. It doesn’t mean that you are a bad sort, but it does mean the burden of proof will be on you to demonstrate that you are not. So let’s be clear, I’m not anti-dog, but the first cut is the deepest.
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