My new love Fred

11 05 2011

I have fallen in love, once again.

Yes, I think R. will tolerate this new love, if grudgingly. The object of my desire is just under two feet tall, weighs 40 pounds and is covered with shaggy black fur. He is seven years old and in order to protect his identity, I will call him Fred.

Fred: "Woof!"

Fred is a Portuguese Water Dog, and a distant older relative of the nation’s First Dog, Bo, who moved into the White House two years ago. And if you do the math: Fred was already around for a while before Bo and his kin became popular. Before the world had actually ever heard of the Portuguese Water Dog and that there even was such a thing.

Fred is the only dog in the world I have ever met who cozies up to an oversized yellow Sponge Bob cuddly toy. It’s the cutest thing you have ever seen.

I met my new true love in Connecticut, in the home of very old friends. They invited me to stay with them after I had spent two tense and sleepless nights at another friend’s house, desperately dodging two big, sinister orange cats, the air thick with their omnipresent dander. When I left, I had to pick cat hair off every piece of clothing that I had taken into their home. It was… distressing. Mainly because I am very allergic to cats.

Somewhere here on my blog I mentioned that I am a dog-person (married to a cat-person). And even if I was not allergic, I find dogs just so much friendlier, more accommodating, more loyal, more playful and simply more reliable than cats.

And according to the Chinese zodiac, I was born in the year of the dog so I share many of those (ahem, exceedingly positive) characteristics.

The Chinese probably had a really good reason or two not to have a year of the cat in their zodiac. Cats are infuriatingly aloof and mean, and so much less useful to society than, say, dogs, dragons, snakes, sheep, roosters and rabbits.

I just know that all you cat-lovers out there will tear me to shreds for this, with those vicious little claws of yours. Fine – bring it on. I will take a slobbering, juvenile-minded canine over a hissing, oh-so-sophisticated feline any day.

My love for Fred was sealed on the final day of my visit in Connecticut. We attended a sporting event about 90 minutes away by car. Of course there was no question about whether or not Fred would be part of the festivities. On the way home, after suffering through a miserably cold, wet and muddy day, we had a car full of people, and Fred, always the boss, was not going to be relegated to the trunk of the stationwagon.

I became his Sponge Bob as he climbed onto my lap in the front seat and nestled his head into the door’s armrest. There he slept, the whole hour and a half till we got home. 40 pounds of warm, snoozing, snoring dog, on my muddied jeans, through a wicked rainstorm down the highway as the day turned to dusk. I stretched the seat belt around him. When we pulled into his neighborhood, he instinctively knew he was close to home. He sat up, looked out the window and wagged his tail.

In thanks for the favor, I got a wet, sticky doggie kiss. And my heart was his.