Tuesday, December 9, 2008

This Is Much More Than Puppy Love


See, here’s the thing about my new boy toy—we weren’t supposed to fall in love. He wasn’t even my type, this shaggy blonde. Too big. Too needy. (Not a particularly good combo.) Plus, he’s got a taste for toilet water, and I don’t mean perfume. He can’t even hold his ham.

Still, I gaze longingly into his eyes and caress him and have long, deep conversations with him, too, especially when my husband Nick isn’t around. We do try to keep our contact to a minimum, my boy toy and I, when Nick is in the room; he just can’t stand our chemistry. Jealous, really. But no matter, because my boy toy treats me right—anticipates my moods before anyone else in the house, and extends to me unbridled, unconditional love.

He is my Teddy Bear.

My road dog.

My dog.

And none of my people understand us.

This makes sense to me. I mean, dogs just aren’t usually a black man’s best friend. Been to a Falcon’s game lately? Black folks are still showing up in their Mike Vick jerseys, shaking their heads between downs, wondering why the disgraced pro baller went to prison, lost his millions, and got kicked out of the NFL for breeding and fighting pits. The young former millionaire now has no prospects for a job doing what he does best, and he’s got a grand total of $96.63 in his retirement fund. Black folks are like, The Hell?

I’m not saying this attitude is right. But I understand.

Dogs are, after all, animals, doggonit—meant to put teeth, literally, behind the “Beware of Dog” signs on the gate. You feed them gunpowder and raw eggs and hot sauce to make them mean, toss them table scraps (so as not to waste food and keep down the expense of dog food), and tie them up out back somewhere so they don’t get under foot or, Heaven forbid, get dog hair all over your good couch.

This is what I was raised to believe.

Under no condition are you or the children to get overly attached to the dog, or show any great affinity for them, or actually snuggle and cuddle and kiss all over them—or, ugh, let them kiss you. If their tongue comes anywhere near a 2 ft radius of your mouth, any black folks who catch sight of it will look on, aghast. Throw up a little in their mouths. Dogs, after all, lick their asses with their tongues, for goodness sakes. And sniff other dogs' poop.

This is also what I was raised to believe.

Which brings me back to how wholly unnatural it is to certain family members of mine (who shall remain nameless) that I have such an unbridled affection for my darling goldendoodle, Teddy. He was purchased in a moment of weakness, when my daughters kept begging for a pet and my friends kept strutting their cute little purse doggies into the school lobby during morning drop-off, and the sleigh bells were ringing and stuff. The lady who sold him to me over the internet promised me he was a cavapoo—a mixture of a cavalier king spaniel and a poodle, which means he would be small enough to sit in the girls’ laps and shed-less and super smart and calm enough not to jack up my wood floors.

She lied. At least about the size part. And the breed. Turns out he’s a mixture of a golden retriever and a poodle, which means that he’s shed-less and super smart and calm but far too big for laps and purses. This almost got him kicked off the Millner/Chiles team. Seriously. I was going to drop his big butt off at the nearest pound and go get me a for real cavapoo.

Except by the time I got Teddy home from the airport, he’d hypnotized me with his big brown eyes—just laid right there in my lap and let me brush his shaggy blonde ‘do without so much as a whimper before falling asleep at my feet. How could I resist? He’s a giant Teddy Bear (thus the name). The girls, I decided, would love him.

And Nick was just happy he wasn’t one of those little “yappy” dogs that jump all over the furniture and stuff. Turns out the bigger dog makes him feel more manly.

And my Teddy Bear makes me feel more girly—all warm and fuzzy inside.

I know that uttering this out loud breaks all kinds of black people rules. My uncle and dad made this clear over the Thanksgiving holiday as they practically lifted their feet and cowered in the cushions of the couch like little girls whenever Teddy came their way.

But you know what? I can’t help it.

And I don’t really care what they or anyone else thinks.

Because my boy toy and I? We’re in love.

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  1. Well, I think that is the cutest boy toy in GA =). Isn't that so true about "us" and dogs?? When I was younger, once my puppy refused to remain in his box, his butt was out the door. Out of the warm laundry room and out to the back yard.

    Miss J tried a puppy (which we were not suppose to have) here in our apartment. I don't know why I did it. We fell in love with the little devil, whom we called Swiper because he clawed us all with those sharp pup nails. We still miss him.

    I am looking forward to hearing more tales about Mr. Teddy.

  2. Me, oh my!

    My heart has been yearning for a boy toy such as yours. I know a dog is a woman's best friend, there ain't no way I can steal him from you...you know how women in Atlanta are. LOL!

    I've been fighting the feeling for so long; 'Coz my in-law said that if I ever got a dog, he would never set foot in my house. He and other folks too. Since he's my son's favorite uncle, I had to put those thoughts on the back burner. But alas, now that the good uncle is stuck in Nigeria, the time is right for us to look for a "hypoallergenic" dog. LOL.

    You've given me strength with your story here. Thanks.

  3. i think it's sooo sweet! now, i only wish i loved my dog that much...if she would quit barking and being so needy i would love her sooo much more! ha.

  4. The dog kiss thing is so true. Black folks look at me funny when Matilda licks me on the nose. And I never thought that I'd be one who would allow a dog to sleep in/on my bed, but after the first couple of nights, I lost that fight and gave in. She seems to need to cuddle all the time. I absolutely love her! Since she's a girl, I think of her more like my child. I write about her pretty often on my blog http://thetildyspot.blogspot.com. I'm glad that another Black person is writing about a love affair with a dog.

  5. OK, so now I have to go out and get a dog...you've totally talked me into it :-)

    So you are the infamous columnist for "Reality Check." LOL. I've written a few short pieces for Ages & Stages in Parenting. Used to work with Sarah Smith the associate editor there. Don't you love it when people "expect" your kids to be PERFECT just because you give parenting advice? LOL Thanks for the sweet comment on my blog :-)

  6. Dogs have a way of worming their way into your heart. I've spent many on a $$$ on mine!

    Dropping by from SITS!

  7. He's definitely a cutie. I've never bought a dog from a breeder that they didn't misrepresent the size of the dog to me. Every time I buy a toy poodle, it turns out to be a miniature or bigger. I'm jealous. I don't have a boy toy of my own right now.

  8. Oh.. you are so making me want a doggie but we have a cat. *sighing*
    Some day.

    Congratulations on your new family member!

  9. So cute! My mom is bugging me to get the kids a dog, but at 2 years and 4 months, respectively, they are too young for a dog, and I'm too tired for one. Mama needs SOME down time.

  10. I know what you mean about the dogs. I totally approve of you breaking "the rules" :) Puppy love, indeed.

  11. My little girl is not coming anywhere near this picture of your Teddy Bear today. She's been begging for a puppy for months and your picture would put her over the edge I'm sure.

    I just need to repeat to myself: "We do not need a puppy, We do NOT need a puppy,...)

    She is so good at begging though!

  12. OH OH OH I love this post! You said exactly how I feel about my furbabies...but you said it so beautifully and with such grace. I was also raised believing that dogs had their place...and it certainly wasn't in the house! They had a job to do...keeping strangers away and bird hunting. My Crumpet...and now Ozzie are my best buddies...I would never put them out at night or treat them with disregard. They love me back with every fiber of their being...how many people can you say that about! Your Teddy looks a lot like my Crumpet...ain't blondes CUTE!

  13. Nikki!

    My boy toy DOES look like your Crumpet! And my boy toy ate some ham and had the SAME reaction as your Crumpet did in the car the other day... that's why I could relate! LOL!

    Yes, they are a wonderful lot, those boys--aren't they?!

  14. Aw! My husband gave me a dog for our anniversary last year, and I loved her so much. Unfortunately, I had to give her up (she was adopted by another family) when we moved back east earlier this year. I still don't consider myself a dog person, but I *loved* my girl Izzie (Isabelle).

  15. Awww!! Your doggie is totally so cute. I fell in love the moment i saw his big brown eyes...

  16. My son wants a dog so badly. If we had a yard I'd get one. I like "real" dogs. Can't do yappy. No ma'am.

  17. awwwwwww... he's such a cutie! i'm glad you didn't exchange him for a real deal cavapoo. by the way, who comes up with these names? is there a board set up for this type of thing? :)

  18. Denenes daughter Lila chilesFebruary 3, 2010 at 7:54 PM

    hey mommy i'm just sayin that the whole dog thing is awesome and good picture of teddy was awesome


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