My New Sissy Dog

My New Sissy Dog
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2008

My family hit an all-time low this week. One that I vowed we would never hit as long as I was alive: we have a new Maltese-Poodle puppy.

For those of you not familiar with the Maltese-Poodle, let me describe it. A Maltese is a small dog with fluffy fur that constantly gets underfoot and has an annoying yip for a bark. A Poodle is a small dog with curly fur that constantly gets underfoot and has an annoying yip for a bark. The Maltese-Poodle is a mix: a small dog with curly and fluffy hair, but apparently it doesn't get underfoot or have an annoying yip. At least that's what my family tells me. They were the ones who picked it.

"Honey, we need a new dog," my wife said a couple weeks ago. "The kids miss having a dog."

"What did you have in mind?"

"How about a Maltese-Poodle?"

I reminded her that our son was allergic to our last dogs, a pair of Beagles, and that we had said we weren't going to get another dog for a while. I thought bringing our son's well-being would trump all this talk of sissy dogs.

"These dogs are hypoallergenic," she said. "They don't cause sneezing."

"They're sissy dogs," I said. "I want a manly dog. Like a Beagle." I figured if we were getting a dog, we'd get a real dog, and my son could put up with a little sneezing. My male ego is more important than a five-year-old's comfort.

My wife began sending me online photos of different Maltese-Poodles, and I responded with photos of Beagles and Beagle mixes. It was our own little canine flame war. Finally, this past Wednesday, my wife called me at work.

"I found a cute little dog online. I'm going to take the kids to go visit her."

It's my own fault, really. I should have known the words "cute little dog" was code for "the dog I want," and "go visit her" meant "bring her home."

I thought about forbidding her to do it, but the last time I forbade anything, I was nearly forbidden from sleeping in our room. "Our room" was code for "this hemisphere." So I said good-bye to my masculinity. In typical, Beagle-owning macho fashion, we hugged roughly, thumping each other on the back hard enough to pound nails.

Later, I got a phone call. "Come home and see what we got. Her name is Sophie, and she's white, fluffy, and tiny. She's only five-and-a-half weeks old and she doesn't even weigh a pound. You'll love her."

Code for "You WILL love her. Or else."

When I got home, my family was sitting in a circle on the kitchen floor with this tiny white creature in the middle.

"Eww, there's a mouse in here," I said.

"Daddy!" my kids hollered in a warning tone. I sat on the floor and watched her for a while.

"I think she's got a little Iwish in her," I said.

"Iwish? Do you mean Irish?"

"No, Iwish. As in I wish she was a Beagle."

Sophie was walking unsteadily on the tile floor, and she stumbled over to me. I picked her up and held her in my hands, like one would hold a moth, with her head sticking out.

"Don't pee on me," I warned. She sniffed my goatee and stared at me. I stared back.

"Daddy, you can put her down," said my youngest daughter.

"No, she's fine where she is," I said. "Why don't you go play?"

"We want to watch Sophie."

"Then watch her in my hands." I held on to this interloper for a few minutes, and she fell asleep. I sat motionless on the couch for 15 minutes while she slept, sitting upright in my cupped hands.

"I guess we can keep her," I grunted to my wife. "But if anyone asks, she's your dog."

Later, that evening, while my wife was at work, I let Sophie fall asleep on my lap while I read a book. For a couple hours. A masculine book about fighting and tools and beer, in case you're wondering.

I looked down at her occasionally, and decided she wasn't such a bad dog after all. She's no Beagle, but she's kind of cute, in a way. In a tough, masculine sort of way, that is.

Just don't tell my wife I like Sophie. I'm still trying to convince her that we need a Beagle. But not a big one. I don't want her to hurt my baby, er, I mean my wife's dog.