Sometimes my dog does things just to spite me. Like how she waits to run over to that little spot of stained red carpet in the center of the game room, just long enough to hear the lock slide into place on the front door and the sound of the car engine to fade down the block. Then she rushes over to her favorite spot and takes a big, steamy poo right on the carpet. This is usually undeterred by the fact that I had just taken her out. She does not care that she has a working doggy door that gives her passage into the backyard where she has infinite room to shit wherever she pleases. It’s all out of spite, that little jerk.
You see, my dog has abandonment issues. When she was a puppy, she was abandoned for two weeks and then carted off to a kill shelter. We got her at three months and immediately fell in love with her skinny little spindly-legged body and her huge eyes and ears. It took us months to figure out what kind of breed she was: deer chihuahua.
We didn’t care, really. She had just looked at us with those massive Bambi eyes and we couldn’t resist. Her tail curls at the end, like a little piglet. Her ears are long and pointed and she’s got a snubbed little snout. Five white patches decorate her otherwise cinnamon coat. One on her chest, and four atop each of her paws.
She’s afraid of the dark, and won’t go outside on her own because she doesn’t like being alone for such an extended amount of time. At night, she cries if she doesn’t feel your body heat next to her. She’s brutal about invading your personal space. The other day, she jumped up onto the toilet with me, just as an example. She didn’t care, she hung out for a good minute.
We named her Sunny because she’s like a radiant little ball of energy that refuses to give it a rest. Sunny Mae follows me around everywhere I go, sometimes even into the bathroom (seriously) and often out the front door, if I’m not quick enough closing it behind me. She’d rather be with me, going anywhere in the world, even the veterinary office, than be home by herself.
We like to give Sunny these special toys; little fuzzy sacks of string that don’t have any stuffing but carry a squeaker in the face of some hardly distinguishable animal. She’s had all of them, and she loves tearing them apart. She’s had three foxes, two raccoons, two jaguars, one duck, and one beaver.
The foxes, obviously, are her favorite. She always chews the nose off first and pulls out the squeaker. She’ll run around the house, hiding under the couches and armchairs with it, squeaking it like mad between her jaws until I finally catch her and pry it from her grasp. Then she’ll pull out the eyeballs and start chewing apart the face. She grows bored of this fast and moves on to the tail, which is the next thing that she detaches. She’ll play with both parts, as though they were two separate toys, for about an hour. When she finally loses interest, I’ll take both pieces of torn fabric and throw them in the garbage can; goodbye Mr. Fox!
Even though she spent her afternoon brutally mutilating and dismembering this poor fox, the first thing she does when nobody is looking, is retrieve the animal from the garbage can, usually both pieces, and hide them somewhere that she doesn’t think I’ll find them, like I was trying to throw away her most prized possessions or something.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, she leaves her rawhide bones everywhere! Never in your life have you seen an animal that liked to chew more than Sunny Mae likes to chew. Her little teeth marks used to decorate all my shoes. There are holes in every blanket in the house, or the sides are all chewed at the very least. She doesn’t care that she has at least ten different chew toys and a rawhide bone available at any given second, because that’s just the way she rolls. Now, her bones are usually found at the foot of my bed, entangled in the covers (because she likes to eat in bed, too), or on the very last step on the staircase, for my tired-eyed parents to trip over on their 6am trek to the coffeemaker.
But Sunny’s sweet. She just wants to be petted and loved and cuddled at all times. She likes to be fawned over and held close to your chest. Sunny likes it when you pet her abnormally large ears and tickle her belly. She hates Beggin’ Strips but loves the Pupperonis, even though they smell, and I assume taste, exactly the same. She likes her collar and can do all kinds of tricks. She’ll show you if she doesn’t think you’re paying close enough attention to her. Her favorite is what I like to call the Dobby the House Elf, while my brother simply refers to it as the T-Rex. Sunny, with spindly little legs, stands on her back legs and pulls in her front paws, as though she’s trying to walk upright like a human. That’s what she does when you’re sitting at the kitchen table by yourself at 9pm eating leftover pasta from dinner.
Sunny also has certain musical preferences. She hates Lady Gaga and will proceed to try to bite your face if you sing it to her. I found this out the hard way. When she was a puppy and new to our house, I used to call her Idget, cause she is one and oftentimes would eat shit attempting to jump onto the couch or clear the back of a chair. She can jump really high, but that doesn’t stop her from stupidly slamming into the glass door, either.
Anyway, I used to think that Sunny looked like the Egyptian sun god, Ra. That being the case, I would sing Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” to her, because at one point it sounds like she’s repeating the name. That would often result in Sunny getting angry and bark-yodeling at me. When she did this, she sounded exactly like Canadian singer/songwriter Alanis Morissette. With that being the case, I started to call her Alanis every time she acted out or decided to be a jerk. She often decided to be a jerk. She knew it wasn’t a compliment, and she was not pleased.
To this day, she doesn’t appreciate any Alanis Morissette lyrics being directed her way in a yodel-sing. Please refrain.
Now, it’s all these things about my dog that make her unique. She’s sweet and loyal and she’s always there, whether you want her around or not. She loves you unconditionally and wants nothing more than to hang out with you all day and spend her time curled up on your lap or wrestling her toys from you. It’s this reason alone that I don’t mind my dog being curled up against my side, constantly pushing my elbow out of the way so that she can chew at a spot in her side or maneuvering her head just right so that I’ll be forced to pet her, even as I write this.
Sunny Mae: The Attention Whore.