Saturday, April 2, 2016

The advantages of little dogs

I won't write a blog post that explains how little dogs are better than big dogs, because I've never owned a big dog and so have no basis for comparison. I also never, ever thought I would be happy with a little dog, as they made me think of snobby older white woman on Madison Avenue who carry their Pomeranian's like accessories. Little dogs didn't seem like real dogs--real dogs are water-loving golden retrievers or bear-like huskies or thick-necked Rottweiler's. But then, because we were trying to ease Luke into the idea of owning a dog, we went with the smaller model. Also, the hypoallergenic model, which is a whole other issue altogether, because we paid for him at a puppy store that may be an abuse factory for mommy dogs, and so we cannot say, "He's a rescue." People like to say this when you ask them their breed of dog. "Oh, we don't know. We rescued him from certain death." They like to put bumper stickers on their cars that read "Who rescued who?" I am all for dog rescue, and would like to be able to smugly say the same, but our dog cost $800 and we picked him out and bought him without anyone asking our landlord if it was okay. And he doesn't shed and we got to train him from the start. And I still wish I could say he was a rescue.

But, so, here is what I like about having a dog who weighs 15 pounds:

1. You can pick him up and cradle him like an infant. I am not unaware that this dog is a baby substitute for us, and so I am cautious about dressing him in little bonnets and booties, even though I would love to provide a wardrobe.  But I do like that I can scoop him up and hold him, can put him in my lap to watch TV and also that the little girls who live next door can carry him around like a dolly.

2. Even when he's pulling at his hardest on the leash, he has very little power.  He's tenacious and so always going after a squirrel or a bird or a plastic bag blowing in the wind ala American Beauty, but even when he's urging forward so hard that he's going sideways, it's not difficult to keep him under control.

3. People are not afraid of him.  Because of his size and features, he will always look a little like a puppy and he is not threatening. When dog lovers see him, they automatically coo. Children like him, he likes children.  He gives dog-dom a good name by being friendly and adorable.

4. Smaller dogs live longer. It's an unfortunate reality that you give your hearts to these creatures who don't live that long, comparatively. This is especially true for bigger dogs, whose live expediencies are sometimes between 8 and 10 years. Little dogs, for some reason I have not researched, have a longer life expectancy and don't start walking with that sad old dog gait dogs with longer legs suffer from (though the vet warned us that Chap might get hip dysplasia. Sometimes, we rotate his hips just to joints in squeaky good shape).

5. Obviously, cleaning up after a smaller dog is easier.

6. They can't knock you over Orr make you legs buckle if they leap at you. We've been bad about not training him to stay off people's legs, and part of the reason for the laziness is that no one seems to care. Except one time when he did it to this lady waiting at the bus stop who was wearing white jeans. I went inside and brought her a bottle of seltzer to take out the mud.

I still love all dogs. I will still cross the street to pet any dog and I still risk facing disfigurement on a routine basis for dogs tied up outside, but I've changed my mind about the value of a smaller dog. Chipper-Chap in particular.

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