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I like dogs, but I haven't owned one by myself since my remote childhood. I like going places and doing things without hauling dog food around and finding canine relief stations.

This is not to say that my relations with man's best friend have become distant. Many women have dogs. I have not taken a serious survey regarding this, but it's my guess that most women without immediate dependent children or roommates acquire a dog. Some are satisfied with a cat or two, but dogs are their pet of choice. I have in recent years, been step-dad to a Corgi, two wiener dogs, and two cats grown so enormous that they resembled fake furred footstools with eyes.  Nowadays  it's a Chihuahua.

I hear you snickering. Nothing funnier than a big bald burly guy walking a dainty little dog. I used to laugh at them, too. I saw one the other day. He was even bigger and burlier than me, an even match in the baldness field and his dog was even daintier. Instead of laughing, I nearly shouted out the window of my car "Dude, I live your life!"

A Chihuahua will do anything for you that any other dog will do and do it neater and more compactly. He will bark at intruders or anybody else that comes near the home. Once you let the intruder in, because he is the Chinese restaurant delivery man, the beast will want to bite him. If the dog squirms loose while you are fumbling for the tip, he will launch an attack, which usually consists of a quick nip at the pants leg of the interloper. Nobody sues you for that.

He will pee on the rug at least once a month. You may not regard this as a necessity, but he does, and manufacturers of carpet cleaning and deodorizing products do too.

He is always hungry. Why? Because his food tastes terrible. I know this because my Significant Other once inexplicably left a bowl of dog kibble on the counter instead of placing it on the floor, so it resembled an available snack food to any hungry absent-minded person passing by. After a moment's mild retching I was okay, but I feel compassion for the dog any time I see him patiently chomping it up.

He supplements his diet by foraging. He is small and quick enough so that when we are walking, his attempts to nab food on the ground are usually successful. Often I don't see these items except for a blurred microsecond, but I have noticed that the dog seems to regard the number of ants on a garbage item as a human gourmet might regard Michelin stars…the more, the better.

He greases my social interactions with strangers. Walking a Chihuahua makes people with whom you have no desire to converse want to talk to you much more than walking a pit bull. I try to make my answers as creative as possible. The dog wears  SERVICE DOG printed on his collar, because otherwise he wouldn't be allowed into my condo complex.

"What service does he perform?" I get asked.

"Any part of you that you might think is too small he makes you feel better about," I reply briskly. Often that does not discourage them. "What kind of dog is he?" they blunder on.

I may be wrong, but I think that there is no more Chihuahua-looking Chihuahua than my Chihuahua. "He's a Mexican mountain dog," I say sweetly. "Born to herd llamas in the Sierra Nevada." If they apparently don't know that llamas live in Peru or just look doubtful, or make the mistake of  insisting on further clarification, I switch to one-word answers. "Spoiled," I tell them, or "Brown."

So the next time you see a burly bald guy walking a frisky little beast of the Chihuahua persuasion, you can laugh. I understand. But on the off chance it is me, I don’t recommend you walk over and ask me the dog's name.

Or I'll be introducing you to Cujo.


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Comments

10/24/2012 06:16

I totally understand this article, i've never been a dog person i prefer cats, yet this my mum brought home a dog, and all the things you explain my dog does, the barking whenever someone knocks or comes round the house, the people stopping and talking in the street, i never knew people reacted and was so sociable when you have a dog, i've never thought to go up to someone in the street and start talking to them about there dog :)

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10/24/2012 06:17

I totally understand this article, i've never been a dog person i prefer cats, yet this my mum brought home a dog, and all the things you explain my dog does, the barking whenever someone knocks or comes round the house, the people stopping and talking in the street, i never knew people reacted and was so sociable when you have a dog, i've never thought to go up to

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