Secret Pop

Mar 16, 2014

Our kids will be different kids than the other kids we know.



Maggie is the friendliest dog in the world. She seriously loves everyone, wants to meet and play with everyone, and will possibly get so excited to see you that she will pee a little on your shoes. And that's just how she is with people. Here's a picture of her being like that with a praying mantis.



And she's like that with dogs, too. All dogs. Every dog she sees, she wants to run over and make friends. Here's Maggie on our walk today, trying to scale a wall to get closer to a chihuahua.



The thing about having a dog this friendly is that nearly no dog and nearly no other person in the world is as friendly as she is. And that means I am witness to her experiencing rejection a lot. And, because I'm me, I project a lot of feelings onto that.

I've had this sort of protective mama bear love for my niece and nephew, when I watched their wide-eyed optimism toddle itself out onto a playground where older kids couldn't be bothered to give them a turn or invite them to play. I realize it doesn't actually hurt them as much as it hurts me. A two year-old will get past that. I realize it's character-building and boundary-erecting and civilization-sustaining. Of course I realize that. That's why I don't run over and hit another child in the head with a rock when they won't let my niece climb up the ladder to the slide. Duh.

I don't have any little people of my own to care for, but I do have this amazing little Shiba Inu. And, while it sometimes makes me feel bad if Maggie runs over to make friends with a new dog and that dog tries to bite her face off, I also love other dogs so much that I would never be unkind to one. I speak warmly to them and tell Maggie it's okay and try to keep her at a safe distance. And as we continue on our way, I tell Maggie what a good girl she is and look forward to saying hi to the next doggie we happen upon. Because that's all you can do. You can just go about your business and expect the next thing to be something good. Even if you're me.

The Shiba Inu has a reputation for being unfriendly to other dogs, not good with young children, and generally aloof with people other than its owners. But I have a magical mutant Shiba who is exactly the opposite of all of that. She loves other dogs. She is patient and tolerant and playful with young children. And she loves EVERYONE IN THE WORLD and generally shows them more affection than she shows me. My mail carrier stops her truck to say hello to Maggie, who tries to get in the truck and go home with her. People who are thinking about getting dogs will tell me how they want one just like her. She's like the Shiba Inu Ambassador, waving at the throng from a slow-moving convertible, sash and all.

I don't pretend that I'm not prone to being competitive or that it would be unthinkable for me to believe my dog is the best one because I need to win at everything, but the reality is I have a very, very special little dog. And I know every parent thinks their child is advanced and exceptional and that it would be statistically impossible for all of them to be right, but I will say this with great certainty: if you get to meet Maggie, it will make your day, and -- without having to bribe her with treats or snacks -- she will make you feel like the most special, most loved, most captivating person in the world. If it was an at all scaleable business model, her friendmaking would make a millionaire of me.

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