Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Officially a (big) dog person

Cats no longer come up to me in the street.

In fact, little dogs frequently don't want much to do with me.

The big dogs, though, they'll always say hi. And they'll want to lick, which I've never minded.  Elka is a big licker, and we let her.  Sometimes other peoples' dogs jump, and I understand, because Elka has done that in the past, and sometimes still does.  More often than not, though, her jumping now is standing on her hind legs next to somebody so she can sniff his or her face.  That is how large my dog is.

I frequently find Elka hairs, even if I'm at work and haven't touched Elka for hours. They're short and dark, like eyelashes, and must lodge themselves in my clothing and deposit themselves at random throughout the day.  I'm strangely happy when I find one.  Sometimes when I'm out of the house, I'll drop a piece of food, or have something I don't want to finish, and I look for Elka to hand it to her.

Most of my family has cats.  I had cats before I had Elka.  Ripple was my first cat; I got him when I was in 8th grade and named him after a Grateful Dead song on the American Beauty album.  And I loved him, a lot.  He was a big cat, and not really a lap cat, but he was talkative and fun and my first animal that wasn't a hamster or hermit crab.  After Ripple died, while I was in college, we got Piper and Gracie, but they never really felt like my cats; I was at college, not at home anymore.  They're still pretty girls, though, and I care about them.

Elka, though, is my first dog.  And it seems like she's just what I needed.

When she was a puppy, Elka smelled like a pan of brownies when she was sleeping. Now she definitely still has a sleep odor, but it's a little almond-y.  Her ears still rather smell like chocolate.  Yes, I regularly smell my dog; this is a perfect example of my doggishness.  I also play with her paws, look in her mouth, and scratch her neck and under her chin.  She isn't really a "roll over" dog, but when she does that, I scratch her belly.  She's allowed on the furniture, and when I go to bed, she comes with me.  She barks like a puppy in her sleep.

In the grocery store, I read the ingredients lists of treats and put back the ones that have lots of sugar in them, or dyes, or artificial flavors.  If we're going for a walk, I make sure I have adequate pockets for treats (and pickup bags as well, of course!), and I'm even looking for a way to carry this through the summer, be it a bait bag or a training vest, just so long as it isn't actually a fanny pack.

I look for new toys that I think Elka will like, and I think will stand up to the loving punishment that she doles out.  Gumby is, of course, still number one.

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