Sunday, November 26, 2006
In my next life I'm coming back as my dog.
Kizzy is a 30-pound bearded collie with movie star good looks. She looks exactly like the star of "Shaggy Dog," the new movie with Tim Allen. She lives in a community where dogs outnumber people. Every day the local radio station broadcasts the breaking news from the dog pound, located on Critter Court. First, "The Dog Gone Pet Report" followed by "Adopt-A-Pet."
Kizzy is brushed daily, exercised exhaustively and sleeps an average of 19.5 hours a day. At Christmas, she will get a new red collar; I'll get the bill.
Kizzy's Paw-Pilot includes standing bimonthly appointments at the dog groomer for an oatmeal bath, paw-icure and trim. I haven't had a manicure in months. Kizzy has a sleek gray and white fur coat; my dark roots are showing. Her dog food is a delicate balance of real chicken and healthy grains carefully blended for optimum nutrition. My dinner comes from the freezer with instructions to remover wrapper and place in microwave for three minutes.
When she's having a bad day, I rush out to buy her a bag of Greenies to cheer her up. In the winter, her paw pads are sprayed with Pam so ice balls don't form. My winter boots leak. On Monday morning, as I clutch my son's school backpack, half-eaten banana, juice box, overdue library books, permission slip for a field trip, letters to be mailed, my gym bag and, oh yes stuff I'll need for work, I gaze at my dog sprawled on the carpet. She has done dog yoga (doga), rolled in the snow and taken a few sensible bites of her wholesome breakfast. She has greeted neighbors in the parking lot, bristled at another dog and chased a cat. All this activity will soon require a nap on her monogrammed bed from L.L. Bean. This is when I look at her enviously and say, "Trade ya!"
Kizzy has friends she sees every day in Poop Park, the empty field behind my house. I seldom find the time to get together with the girls for coffee. When I walk Kizzy, people stop to quiz me about her breed, age, and temperament and I do my best to be a good spokesperson. They pat her shaggy head, "ooh" and "ahh" over her good looks, and scratch her underneath her chin. My new blue Patagonia fleece goes unnoticed. If these dog lovers have a dog of their own, we stand politely by while the dogs lift their legs, sniff each other's private parts and talk:
Hey, which one is yours?
The tired looking one over there with dark roots.
Where did ya get her?
Oh, we met through a mutual friend. She thought she wanted a lab! Hah! Labs drool, beardies rule!
Is she nice, the tired one?
Yes. I just wish she had a pick-up truck so I could ride in the back.
She doesn't make you go to dog obedience school or anything like that?
Only once. It was called agility. I watched all these dogs going through tunnels and following their owners around like, you know, dogs. Forget that. I just jumped up on a chair.
After Kizzy finishes socializing, I take her home for another nap.
The more I think about it, my next life seems too long to wait. I think I'll buy myself a leash and hope someone adopts me. Soon.