The first time I ever entered my boyfriend's house, I was greeted by two dogs. One, a big tan dog with a stumpy little tail, and another, small and brown, whose ears were way too large for her head. Both wagged their tails (or stump) and circled my feet joyfully, as I walked down the hall and into his bedroom.
As time went on, I learned that the big one was nothing but a big doof. She's playful and snuggly, but has no idea what size she is. This is a common trend with dogs, I've noticed. Small dogs always think that they're big and bad, and big dogs always seem to think that their 150 pound bodies can sit comfortably on your lap while you watch So You Think You Can Dance on FOX.
I soon fell in love with this big doof, and would start snuggling her and walking her many times a week. The best thing about her is, by far, her tail. When she gets really excited, rather than wagging just her tail, she wags her entire butt. I actually refer to her as "duck butt" due to the shape and coloring of her rear and tail. It's a term of endearment, trust me.
The small dog, I must be honest, I couldn't fall in love with so quickly. She was always on the bed with me and rather than just snuggling up in a ball at my feet, had to be right in my face. Initially, I didn't let on to this being bothersome because we had just started dating and this would be a sure this-isn't-going-to-work-out moment; my boyfriend really loves his animals. So, I tried to make myself like this little dog. Logic: If their dog loved you, the family loved you. So I talked to her in a cute voice, petted her and snuggled her. I frequently held her, gave her treats and played with her as well. For the most part, it worked. I had fooled myself into loving this small dog and judging by the way that she clung to me, she loved me too.
As time went on, I began to notice how playfully sarcastic my boyfriend was with his dogs and I fed off of it. I started being sarcastic with them as well and the more I did it, the more I realized how much I couldn't handle this little dog, let's call her Ears, never leaving my side. So began the long drawn out journey of the love/hate relationship between myself and Ears.
You can NOT give anyone else attention or Ears barks and jumps at you, needing all of the attention. She is completely unable to share the spotlight. This means that if I'm laying with Stumpy, Ears runs right up to me, lays in the curve of my hip or next to my back, and allows no room for me to move. She also has a habit of getting up, fidgeting, flopping down on me and then doing it all over again. Trust me, when you're trying to relax, it's mildly irritating.
Routine With Ears
When I wake up in the morning, Ears is outside the bedroom door, rattling her collar and making enough noise to wake up the entire universe by gnawing consistently at her paws and tail area. As soon as I open the door, she darts for the bed and jumps up. When she realizes that I'm actually exiting the bedroom and not just letting her in, she jumps off and follows me down the hall. I enter the bathroom and shut the door behind me. Then when I open the door, there's Ears, sitting right outside waiting for me.
I then walk into the kitchen, Ears right under my feet, and generally trip over her as I head toward the Keurig for my morning drink. Once I sit down to eat my breakfast, who is sitting right under my chair? Ears. Once I sit down at the desk to check my emails, who is under it licking my feet to notify me that she's still there? When I shower, who tries to come in and just sit in the bathroom with me? I'll tell you, it's Ears.
Finally I'm getting ready for work, and go to close the bedroom door. Ears slowly pads over, tail down, wondering if I'd be kind enough to let her in while I dress myself. I motion my head and she runs in, ready to snuggle or play. Reluctantly, because I'm generally not excited to go to work, I put on my work clothes, slide into my shoes and tell her it's time to go. She makes the process drag, refusing to leave the bedroom because she doesn't trust that I too, am leaving. But I am, and she can't stay in the bedroom alone because she is prone to having accidents if the door is open. Eventually, it's over, she's out, and the bedroom door is shut.
When I return from work, Ears hears my car door and is instantly in the window, barking to signal that I have returned. As soon as I open the door, she is under my feet, tripping me, jumping on my legs and panting. Here's something that I've failed to mention thus far: Ears is always panting. I don't know what it is and I can not figure it out for the life of me. She pants 24/7 and her breath is by far, the most putrid thing you've ever had to smell. It's seriously enough to make me gag sometimes. So nine times out of ten, when she's panting like crazy, my boyfriend and I tell her she has to go lay down because otherwise our eyebrows will burn off of our foreheads.
When my boyfriend starts dinner, because out of the two of us, he is by far the better cook, both dogs are under our feet, running back and forth between cabinets with us as we get the ingredients together. Once dinner is ready, we typically let the dogs outside so that they don't beg or disturb us. Stumpy is used to this, and waits patiently by the back door, but when we open it, she waits for Ears, who refuses to go outside; I've just returned home and she hasn't seen me in a couple of hours, so she needs to be tripping me and wagging her tail and just being a pain in my neck. It takes a few minutes before Ears finally gives in and runs outside on the deck, where she sits at the glass door and stares, waiting for us to let her back in. You CAN NOT make eye contact with Ears once she is outside, because then she will bark and scratch at the door relentlessly until you let her back in.
After dinner, we generally take the dogs for a walk or I take Stumpy out with me for a run. This is not me being mean and leaving Ears out. Ears has a bad leg, and long walks irritate it, so she most certainly cannot handle the run that Stumpy and I can. It makes me feel bad, taking Stumpy out alone and I always promise Ears that we'll be back.
At night, when we're watching movies in bed, Stumpy lays in the living room on the couch and Ears comes into the bedroom. She jumps on the bed and after three times of us telling her no because there simply isn't enough room for all of us, lays on the floor in her favorite spot: on my shoes.
Typically around 11:30, it's time for us to turn the TV off and get some sleep, so Ears has to leave. She fights us tooth and nail, putting her tail between her legs and giving puppy dog eyes, but eventually she leaves, or has no choice as one of us will carry her out, and retreats to the couch with Stumpy or my boyfriend's brother's room.
Recently, my boyfriend and I welcomed a new member to our little family, a bunny. We had both wanted a pet rabbit for a very long time, and after tons of research, adopted our very own.
Rabbits are very delicate creatures. Being that they are so small, they are usually prey, so that is how they're conditioned. Big animals easily intimidate rabbits and they can die of a heart attack if they are frightened. This means, if a dog barks at a rabbit but is not attacking it, the rabbit can have a heart attack and die; purely due to fear. This was a major concern of ours, because we are animal people and we have dogs. (Ears barks at everything!)
When we brought our bunny home, we comforted her and put her in her cage. The first dog that we introduced her to was Ears. Ears wagged her tail, sniffed and watched the bunny's every wiggle. This eventually lead to Ears never leaving the room and always wanting to see the bunny. She even lays under the bunny's cage, next to all of the bedding and rabbit food.
Night after night, Ears would lay down on the floor when we told her to get out, legs spread, signifying that she was not willing to leave the room. We assured her that she did not have a choice and carried her out, as she would not leave on her own terms, under any circumstance. This lead to multiple nights of whimpering outside of the bedroom door and begging us to come in so she could have the attention that she so desperately craved. She refused to cut us any slack for weeks, so this continued. I know it sounds mean, but if you give in every time a dog cries or barks, they put two and two together and it becomes a pattern. A pattern that I was not willing to create. Up until this point, Ears was fairly well behaved.
So Why Do I Hate Her?
So why do I hate Ears? Truthfully, I don't. I say I do, and she irritates me relentlessly, but I've grown to care for her and love her; regardless of that. For example, one day after a long walk with both Ears and Stumpy, we retuned home to two very tired dogs. While Stumpy took a load off and just relaxed, Ears was acting differently than she usually does, and it concerned me. I watched her carefully, examined her leg, convinced her to go outside when her usual bathroom time rolled around, and she even failed to trip me multiple times throughout the evening. I allowed Ears to sleep with us that night, as I wanted to keep a careful watch and make sure that she was okay.
A better question would be, how could Ears NOT irritate me? Let me sum it up for you, as bluntly as possible.
- Her breath Putrid and disgusting, regardless of how many treatments we try.
- No alone time She allows zero time for you to be by yourself; wether you're peeing, showering, or sleeping.
- No quiet time Even when she's not barking, she's rattling her collar, gnawing at herself (which she receives special baths and treatments for, so don't worry) or just romping around.
- Can't move There is no way to move when she's laying with you. She makes it impossible.
- Can't walk If you try to walk, she's under your feet the entire time. I frequently don't notice she's there and almost step on her when I turn around.
- She poops...anywhere. She won't tell you when she has to go out. She'll just go.
- Doesn't know how to be by herself Ears can not, so long as someone is home, be more than 12 inches away from them.
I love her.
- She never puts her tongue in her mouth. Ever. When she's relaxing, there's always a little bit sticking out, and she allows me to play with it and giggle at her.
- She's a great companion. Yeah, the alone time thing is a negative and a positive. She never leaves me by myself, so if I need someone to keep me company or I'm having a rough day, she's always there to snuggle.
- She listens fairly well. If you tell her to stop, she freezes whatever she's doing and sits down.
- She really is cute. She may irritate me, but the face is undeniably cute. Especially when she runs. Her ears and fur fly back and it's simply the cutest thing.
- She's my puppy. She's my little Ears. I can't help but love her and lightly tug at her floppy, much-too-big-for-her-head ears.
All in all, Ears may be clingy and irritating, but I love her unconditionally; the way that I love any animal who finds their way into my heart. And trust me, for them, it's not a hard thing to do.