Sunday, July 23, 2017

Beautiful Breeding

I feel sunburned. We just got back from Point Defiance after a long walk on the beach. Yesterday, Mike and I paddled our canoe while a bunch of our friends and family tubed down the Snoqualmie river. We took Teddy with us both times.

Teddy gets so much attention when we're out and about. I can't usually whine about it because people will realize I'm jealous. My niece and nephew both like Teddy more than they like me. I'm certain of it. How can a middle-aged woman be jealous of her own dog? I don't know, but sometimes I am. But at least I'm not as invisible in society when I bring Teddy along with me to public places. People initiate conversations, more often with him than with me, but at least I get to interact with human beings.

"What a beautiful dog." The young woman stares at Teddy.

"Thank you," I always say, as if I designed him. Then, gracious as he is, Teddy walks over to her, generously smears clumps of white fur onto black yoga pants.

"She's so soft too."

He's so beautiful, people always assume he's female. I slide right over that, avoiding the stereotype of the gorgeous gay celebrity idol that comes to mind. People don't laugh when I try to make jokes about Teddy.

Teddy really is beautiful, in spirit and in body. I've probably told you how sweet he is. But most people respond to his looks. I get annoy that his looks are more important to people than his personality. He's cream-colored with long legs and fur that has comb lines in it even if I haven't brushed him in weeks. He has a long nose, narrower than a lab, and adorable ears that flop a bit when he walks. He walks with grace. He runs like a gazelle. He is thin.

Just imagine a beauty-queen dog that matches that expensive cream-colored carpet you couldn't afford for the house.

"What breed is she?" She is bent over and doesn't see the woman in front of her at all. I am simply a host, a driver, a dog walker.

"He's a mix. He came from a shelter." I am secretly satisfied to say so. Some people don't want him to be from a shelter.

"No, there's no way you came from a shelter, did you sweetie. No, you're pure as snow. You must be a Husky or a white Shepherd."

"His mother was an Austrailian Shepherd, but we don't know the rest. Mutt, I guess." She glares at me for a second before she returns to petting Teddy. He's leaning into her legs, staring up in mock-adoration. He plays the game. He knows the routine. Adoring fans.

"He could be a Jindo."

"A what?"

"It's Korean, very rare. He looks just like a Jindo. I'm sure he's a Jindo." Designer dogs are in, especially in the Pacific Northwest. Shiba Inu, Akita, Vizsla, German Shorthaired Pointer, Havanese, Goldendoodle. We are surrounded by the best.

"I imagine his other half is yellow lab. They are much more common, especially in the shelters."

"There's nothing common about you, is there sweetheart?" Baby talk. Teddy has his nose in her crotch and she's running her fingers through soft fur on his sides. It's as embarrassing to watch as if she's making out with a boyfriend. I look away.

I hate the baby talk. I suspect that Teddy is not enamored of the baby talk either, but he's got his reputation to uphold. He has the gall to put his head between her legs and breathes in deeply.

I stand there like a third wheel.

"Sorry about that."

"No, it's fine. He's a love." She sighs. She's still talking directly to him. If he were a man, he'd be unsnapping her bra at this point and she'd be a willing partner.

Teddy attracts girls. He loves girls. I think it's because of all the attention they give him, but sometimes I imagine that he was a gigolo in a previous life and has come back in the only incarnation that God allowed that would put him into close contact with as many women as possible.

I want to drag him out of her crotch. It seems rude to keep moving, but we've only managed twenty feet down the trail before she stopped us and Mike is walking far ahead. There are probably a dozen other women on this beach who still have to run their fingers through Teddy's fur and coo into his ear.

"Well, have a nice day!"

"Aw, bye-bye, Baby. You really are gorgeous." Teddy nearly sighs and turns back to stare at her as we walk away. He looks at me as if he's disappointed. I am the consolation prize, the dumpy middle-aged woman he must travel with because I had first possession. I pet him mindlessly. He really is soft. I know he loves me, but these moments make my heart ache. Would he leave me so easily?

Maybe I could sell his services on the beach, finally make some money. I swear, people would pay me for the privilege of walking him.

Maybe I won't. I'd miss my sweet Teddy. Plus, he gets a little tired of all the fawning. Or I try to pretend he does. I imagine it's hard being so beautiful, but what do I know?

Thank you for listening, jb

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