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We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident (that All Dogs are Not Created Equal)
I am a dog person. But surely it must be admitted that all dogs (1) are not created equal, and (2) all dogs do not go to heaven.
My dad has a dachshund from whom I am willfully estranged. It may be built like a furry limousine, but it has the disposition of a pit viper and the bladder of a gnat. All it does it yap and piss and look lustfully at my shinbone. It is more predator than pet.
Some of my friends have poodles. Not the pocket sized toy versions with overwrought French names like Etienne or Olivier, but the ones the size of beasts of burden. All in all they are sweet dogs but they aren’t any fun to pet. And petting is a chief means of Dog enjoyment.
There is little gratifying petting surface on poodles. At those places where it is fluffy, one can hardly get any traction; at those places where it is sheared down it’s like petting Berber carpet. I prefer a mutt that’s somewhere between shag carpet and a bowling ball to the touch.
Purebred dogs are luxurious but boring. For a dog to have any character it needs to have a genetic pool as complex as the roots of the English language. The dogs with the most personality are like the most interesting metaphors—mixed, like cocktails or Neapolitan ice cream.
I have always been partial to hounds. We understand each other. We share a mutual love for porches, naps, and contemplating doing something more than the doing of the thing. I don’t have the temperament for a busybody pooch.
That’s the main issue I have with Jack Russell terriers. A Jack Russel is around 64 ounces of concentrated atomic energy. It would be like having a pet with a cocaine addiction. Personality? Sure. But who can keep up?
I’m sure your dogs are the exception, of course. Just as I imagine that the photos of your kids you keep in your wallet truly are fascinating. But don’t spoil the mystery for the rest of us. Let us go about our business never knowing just what we’re missing.
What you need is for someone to pitch a starved and beaten tick-ridden Peanut into your ditch. You’ll find him licking the edges of the chicken coop just to stay alive. He will likely insist on being wherever you are at all times, but he will never complain as long as he can stay close. And he will earn his keep, even if it’s by piling varmints he has dispatched on your stoop. Those dogs make to heaven. And they carve out little fur-covered patches of heaven here too.