Everyone should have a dog.
Dogs are the greatest.
I have a dog, and she is my very best friend. I really don’t mind saying that, and if you want to think I’m weird or not a “people person”, go right ahead. Suki and I will be over here, hanging out, not caring what you think.
The story of how Suki came to be my best friend is probably my favorite story ever. When I was younger, we had a dog, a beagle-husky mix (yep, she was a little odd looking) named Spicy who was just the sweetest. She was my mom’s dog, and when she went to the Great Dog Park in the Sky, my mom vowed that she would never have a dog again, it broke her heart too much. I loved Spicy, but I didn’t take that vow of no-more-dogs-ever. A girl is just plain lonely without a dog. So I began what I call “politely requesting” (and what my parents called “begging desperately in a whining-manner”) that we get a dog. I had recently been diagnosed with the vaguely titled “fainting disorder” and started high school. Things were rough. I needed a friend.
I looked in the newspaper for puppy ads, and decided that I wanted a poodle-mix. Poodle-mixes are low-shed, which appealed to me and my allergy-prone sister, as well as my tired-of-vacuuming-the-couch-all-the-time mother. I called and left messages for everyone listing poodle mixes in the paper. The first one to call me back was a breeder of Bichon-poodle mixes, about an hour from our house. We drove out there immediately. My sister and I were so excited, but my mom was skeptical. When we pulled up to the breeder’s house, my mom said “Girls, we are just looking. We are NOT getting a dog today.”
Nodding vigorously, we raced to the front door, where the breeder instructed us to head around to the back yard. Mom repeated her warning, “We are NOT getting a dog today, ok? We’re just looking.”
We entered the backyard, where a playpen was set up, fluffy puffs of puppies jumping around excitedly within it.
It was then that Mom said this:
Cue the melting. She had no chance. There were 5 puppies: 2 redheads, 2 blondes, and 1 black. The black one was jumping and running about and my step-dad immediately said “That one! He’s a boy and I need someone on my side in our house.”
I, on the other hand, picked up a reddish-brown one and sat her in my lap (After her first haircut, we discovered that Suki is more of a dirty-blonde). The breeder came over and talked to us, boring stuff about bloodlines and did we have other pets, etc. I don’t really remember because I was completely consumed with the soft furry pile in my lap. She had fallen fast asleep, and it was like she’d always been there. My family members implored me to play with the others, but I knew in the first 5 minutes. The girl in my lap was Suki and she was coming home with me. My step-dad would have to deal with being even more outnumbered by females.
A week later, Mom picked Suki up and brought her home. The rest is history.
Today is Suki’s 11th birthday, and I couldn’t have hoped for a better dog. She still routinely falls asleep in my lap. In fact, for a good while, we spent every day like this:
Suki gets that I am a Chronic. She knows things, in that weird, unexplainable way that dogs know things. If I forget to take my medicine, she barks at me. When I need to lie down, she scratches my leg until I comply. The first time I had a hemiplegic migraine and was frozen in temporary-paralysis in my room, she got my mom’s attention and brought her to me. If Suki is ever having a barking fit of any kind, the first thing my family does is yell out, “Nic? Are you ok? Suki’s going nuts!” Once they’ve determined that I’m ok, we know it’s ok to attribute her hysterics to the antics of the neighbor’s cat.
Suki’s name comes from my favorite show, Gilmore Girls. A pre-Emmy winning Melissa McCarthy played Sookie (I didn’t realize they spelled it this way till later. I like our “Suki” spelling better), the best friend of the main character. I figured it was a good name for a side-kick. It is. Though, she does have a variety of nicknames now that we know her better. I tend to call her Bug. Mom calls her Sook. (As in Sue-k) Our little cousins couldn’t pronounce the “K” in Sook, so they call her Sue. As in “Can you make Sue stop barking, please?”
Suki barks a lot. Her lungs are famous. She can bark for hours non-stop. The longest recorded was 3 hours straight when we were doing house construction. We haven’t given her the opportunity to break that record, and routinely take her elsewhere when people who aren’t us are in the house.
Suki is the best judge of character I know. She once bit a high school date of mine in the crotch-region when he was over for dinner. Had I listened to her, I could have saved myself quite a bit of heartache.
It’s a big deal if Suki likes you, because she pretty much doesn’t like anyone. Sissy’s boyfriend passed the Suki test within 2 weeks, something completely unheard of. They’ve been dating for nearly a year now, so clearly Suki knows what she’s doing.
When she’s not attached to my hip (I also tend to call her my “furry tumor” as she really does attach herself to me), Suki loves to nap. She can nap almost anywhere, but it’s best if there is a blanket and a pillow. She actually sleeps like this:
She also happens to love stuffed animals. For the first 9 years of her life, Suki would completely destroy any stuffed toy within a half hour of it being given to her. At some point a few years ago, she realized they were her friends, not her enemies, and so she lets them live a little longer now. When she thinks we aren’t looking, she sleeps like this:
Coincidentally, it was the giant panda cub, Bao Bao’s birthday this weekend at the National Zoo in DC. Bao Bao is like DC’s personal pet. People are OBSESSED with the baby panda. There was a line to see her. My mom and I went, and it just so happens that Bao Bao and Suki are kind of like the same person. See?
Suki isn’t just a dog. She’s an alarm, an EMT, jerk radar, a cuddle-monkey, and giant panda-substitute. I really think she’s a tiny person in a dog suit. I am so grateful that she’s my friend, and you can bet that we will be eating cupcakes tonight to celebrate her special day. Except for Suki. She prefers pancakes. Which I will totally make, just for her. She’s also happens to be allergic to gluten, so maybe she’ll share with me. We are best friends after all.