6 Crucial Yet Ridiculous Things To Know About Your Dog
When I was a kid, my parents told me that I didn't like dogs. I said, "Really? Because it feels like I like dogs." But they said, "No, you hate dogs," and I took them at face value. Turns out it's actually my parents who hate dogs. I love dogs, which I discovered by adopting one. The thing is, since I was told I did not like dogs, I paid no attention to them for 28 years. They just did not exist in my world. So when I finally did get one, I had a lot of questions ... real dumb questions that made me so glad I could quietly Google them at 4 a.m. instead of actually experiencing them coming from my mouth to the ears of a human person who would then die from laugh poisoning. For instance ...
Do Dogs Need Sunglasses?
I know how dumb this sounds, but it makes sense if you think about it. I'm pretty sure my dog doesn't blink. I stare at her all the time, and I've never seen her do it once. Obviously she can close her eyes to sleep, but can she blink? If only there was a way I could find that information.
I was about to take her for our first walk and it was really bright out, so I grabbed my sunglasses and then thought, "If I have sunglasses, shouldn't she have sunglasses?" This only seemed fair. If I need a jacket, I put one on her, so why would sunglasses be any different? Dogs can't squint, right? If she closes her eyes, she'll be bumping into a bunch of stuff. Am I abusing my dog by not getting her a fly pair of shades?
I'm going to quote that, because it deserves repeating: "Humans wear sunglasses to reduce ultraviolet exposure -- which can lead to age-related cataracts -- to our eyes. Dogs, on the other hand, have a shorter life span and therefore don't develop UV light damage in their eyes." In other words, "Nope, because they die so quick!" Don't put dog sunglasses on your adorable dog, because it will be dead soon anyway. There are places that sell them. They even sell them in pink! You could put these cute pink sunglasses on your sweet little dog, but you don't have to, because it won't make any difference when it's super dead. Google is mean.
Can I Give My Dog A Middle Name?
A little background on this one: I adopted my first cat when I was 18, living on my own for the first time. She immediately got super sick and was puking up worms, which looks really terrifying, and I apologize for what I just did to your appetite. Don't Google "cat worms."
I took her to the vet, all flustered, and the vet asked for her name. I said "Sophie." She said "Last name?" I was confused because she's a cat, and as far as I knew, cats did not have last names. The vet was sitting there staring at me, and I thought the cat was going to die in my arms, so I said "McMophie." She said, "Your last name is McMophie?" I said, "No ... just the cat's." Then I realized she wanted my last name.
I decided to name my dog Gravy because she is small, brown, and super fat. I thought a good middle name would be Boat, but I wasn't going to have another Sophie McMophie fiasco at the vet. Since there are apparently hard and fast rules about pet naming, like your pet's last name is your last name, I Googled the appropriateness of giving my dog a middle name.
Congratulations, you're insane! All Google could give me from this one was a LOT of forums where people even more bonkers than me were asking this exact question. It made me realize what kind of company I'm in now. "Welcome to crazy dog people universe. Here is your complimentary welcome kit. It includes a wolf shirt for you, a hoodie for your dog, and a bumper sticker that says 'My dog is smarter than your honor student!' Please feel free to share that video of yourself and your dog reenacting scenes from Titanic." Ultimately, I decided I felt comfortable giving her a middle name because some of these crazies have knighted their pets. I'm pretty sure the queen would be upset if she found out about Sir Fuzzybutt. He has done nothing for the people of England.
Do Dogs Have Eyebrows?
A lot of people say my dog looks nervous. This is partially because she has three emotions, and they all involve trembling. She can't help it. Trembling is how she expresses herself. It's the interpretive dance of her breed, which is Chihuahua / unknown other small dog. It's not just the trembling, though; she has a bad case of resting nervous face. A permanent state of worry is forever ingrained in her furry little features. Instead of Grumpy Cat, she's Existential Terror Dog. When I tried to explain to a friend that her eyebrows just make her look nervous, he said, "Dogs don't have eyebrows." This is patently ridiculous. Dogs ARE eyebrows. They are 100 percent eyebrows.
"Some breeds -- German Shepherds and Rottweilers for instance -- do have markings above their eye where we perceive eyebrows should be. But dogs don't have actual eyebrows; instead, they have a ridge above their eyes that can be manipulated in much the same way we use our eyebrows to express certain emotions." This is some bullshit, Google. If it's a thing that can be manipulated like an eyebrow for the same reason we use eyebrows, how is it not an eyebrow? I think Google just doesn't want dogs who don't have eyebrows to feel bad, which I get, but come on. If you're worried your dog is sad that it doesn't have eyebrows, there is a whole website that sells prosthetic dog eyebrows, for the discerning dog eyebrow consumer.
Does My Dog Know I'm Insulting Her?
I have a lot of fun nicknames for my dog that I eventually realized are pretty much all insults based on her physical appearance. I call her Little E.T. Face, Princess Wonky Feet, Ungrateful Stink Potato. These are all meant in a loving way. Her weird little body is why I adopted her. She's an adorable abomination, like a Frankenstein Monster made from the weirdest bits of the cutest dogs. It makes me smile. However, I can't help but wonder if dogs have self-esteem. Am I giving my dog some kind of complex with my adoring nicknames? I hope that she looks at me and hears a neutral, loving tone, but doesn't exactly understand everything I'm saying about her weird walk and potato-shaped body.
"If you have a dog, you probably already suspected this ... But it turns out dogs may understand more than humans have traditionally given them credit for." Apparently, there is actual dog science around this issue. Oh dear. I have some apologizing to do. I don't think my customary fruit basket will be accepted. I've decided the best way to make amends is to implement a system whereby my dog can insult me as well. I lay flat on the floor with a series of index cards in front of me and the dog behind me. Each index card has an unflattering word on it -- "bulbous," "pasty," "grizzled," etc. When I command the dog to walk across me, the body part she stomps all over is the one she is insulting, and the card she stumbles on is the insult. I feel that this is the only fair solution.
Can Dogs Shrink?
Hear me out. Old people shrink. It's like, you get to a certain age and God says, "Time to be cute now!" But my dog is already incredibly cute. People tell me this all the time. In fact, whenever I take her to events specifically designed to be attended by dogs, at least three people come up to me and say, "That dog is the smallest dog here." It's like I'm always winning a competition I didn't even enter. I honestly don't love having a small dog. I just love a dog who happens to be small. All of the lady-with-a-small-dog stereotypes are a little daunting. No, I don't put her in a purse. No, I don't run a secret fight club. My fight club is very public. If I face this kind of scrutiny when she is this size, what will happen if someday she gets even smaller?
People who don't know the letter "I" should be capitalized are very concerned about this on message boards. The weirdest thing is that dog shrinking is a surprisingly under-studied topic. However, there were several articles about dog therapists. I thought "shrink" was a pejorative term for therapists, but apparently dog therapists are up for pretty much anything. Most of these dog shrink websites are advertising their dog shrinking services, which I find very frustrating, because this is exactly the opposite of what I want.
Has There Ever Been A Dog Taken Situation?
As soon as I fell in love with my dog, I instantly began thinking of all the ways she could die or be taken from me. I'm assuming this is the joy of motherhood I keep hearing about. If I were ever in a Liam Neeson situation, I do not have a very particular set of skills. In fact, upon reflection, I have almost no skills at all. Being able to count to ten in French will not help me rescue my dog, unless she's kidnapped by Muzzy. As I was drawing up the plans for an elaborate Mouse Trap-esque machine to keep my dog at the center of, my husband said, "People don't kidnap dogs." So I Googled it, and guess what?
PEOPLE DO KIDNAP DOGS, YOU GUYS! THEY KIDNAP DOGS ALL THE TIME. We live in a Mad Max dog-kidnapping paradise for dog murders. There are a metric butt-ton of articles on this subject. The worst part is that I was picturing a scenario wherein someone stole her, and then left me a note and made me give them 200 bucks or something to get her back. It would be scary and she would probably be really uncomfortable because they wouldn't have her allergy medicine and she would get really itchy, but we would get past it. However, most of the articles I found said dogs are kidnapped and resold to other people. Naturally I'm writing this from my recently constructed underground dog predator bunker. I will remain here until the world becomes a better place, or Google creates a kindly lying to you filter for the neurotic dog owner.
If you want to read more thoughts about dogs and 2 other subjects, you can find Lydia on Twitter.
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