Do You Suffer From Dog Delusional Disorder?

8a09bafd74eecc86c058a3f649c0ba9bThere are three kinds of dog lovers. You have dog owners, pet parents or the canine obsessed. The pooch community refers to this last breed of human as suffering from DDD – Dog Delusional Disorder. If you’re wondering if you might be afflicted with DDD (Or Triple D) here’s a few questions that will help define a diagnosis.

*Have you ever not taken a vacation or even cancelled plans because you were sure your absence would upset or worse disappoint your dog?

*Do you spend more time talking to your dog than to your family? (This one is gimme because even the most lackadaisical of pet owners know that dogs surpass humans in all areas of empathic listening.)

*Do you make excuses for your dog’s bad behavior even more than you do for your children?

*Have you ever bought new furniture for your family room or a bigger bed because you wanted your large dog to have more room to stretch out?

*Have you ever made your child ride in the backseat of the car because your dog prefers the front?

*When making any major life decisions is one of the first questions you ask yourself  “what will the dog think?”

*Has your spouse or any other immediate family member ever accused you of loving your dog more than them?

*Have you ever wondered why your children aren’t as awesome as your dogs?

*Do you feel like your dog understands you better than anyone else?

If you answered yes to three or more of these questions than you consider yourself Triple D. Not that that is anything to be ashamed of.

I, as a DDD sufferer, have zero remorse that my affection for my four-legged babies might be considered obsessive. I’m not the least bit embarrassed when people hear me talking to my dogs and mistakenly assume all my lovey dovey cooing is meant for my husband. Nor will I allow myself to feel guilty for all the times I have chosen my pet’s comfort and happiness over that of my family’s.

It just makes sense right? I mean my family, high functioning bipedal mammals, can take care of themselves, but my precious dogs, well they need all my attention and TLC. Plus my dogs don’t talk back, flip their hair, use the phrase “whatever” as a pejorative (yep teenage daughter I’m talking to you) or tell me to quit using my debit card (hello husband).

Although, I feel I would be dishonest to the Triple D community if I didn’t confess that I’ve had one dog that tested the limits of my devotion. Last year, my husband went rogue and surprised the family with a new dog. It was a disaster. First, I was still in mourning after losing my soul mate Oreo. The sweetest, most adorable, basset hound mix ever to amble the earth on four little, stout legs. Oreo and I even had matching cankles. It was a grand romance and I will be eternally besotted.

Next up on the “Oh no you didn’t list” is that my husband dared to select our new BFF from the shelter without the assistance of our daughter, Isabella, the dog whisper. From the age of two Isabella has had an uncanny ability to find the mellowest dog in any shelter. I’m not overstating it when I call it a gift. It’s not like she goes into a trance or anything (but seriously, how cool would that be?). The girl just walks through a labyrinth of kennels and as if the spirit of Snoopy and Scooby Doo are guiding her she always finds the one dog that is the supreme master of chill. I’ve even outsourced her talent to friends.

The biggest mistake though my husband might have made is bringing home a male dog. We have always been a female dog family. A whole chicks rule kind of thing. Plus, and this is important, the head of our household is a girl. Her name is Gracie and she’s a super fluffy, 13-pound benevolent ruler who likes long walks on the sidewalk (not a huge fan of grass or any off roading activity) and sweet potatoes. To say Gracie was not amused by the presence of a high energy, arrogant (mainly I’m sure because he’s gorgeous. The dog is totally working a Johnny Depp Pirates of the Caribbean vibe), male beagle would be one of the great understatements of this decade.

It was as if our house was under siege. Plus, the beagle, named Tahoe, was a kind of a jerk. He constantly dissed me. What was up with that? I’m pretty sure he even rolled his eyes at me and he would toss his head, with a big ear swish, when I was talking to him. Oh my God, my husband had brought home my daughter in beagle form. This was not good.

The worst was when I attempted to walk him. He acted like he was embarrassed to be seen in public with me pulling away as much as his leash would allow. (It was like my prom date my junior year in high school except without the leash because that just would have been all kinds of creepy.) He was one of those handsome guys always searching for something better and in Tahoe’s case that meant rabbits, squirrels and on a good day foxes.

Nothing gets your morning blood flowing like your dog discovering a den of foxes. I think I hit my Fitbit goal by 8 a.m. One day a guy stopped his car to tell me that seeing me walk my dog was his morning comic relief. Well, I’m glad someone was laughing because I was seething and my feelings were also hurt. I had a dog that didn’t like me.

This was a first. I’m very well acquainted with people not being enamored with me (I’m just going to quote my mom here and say “their loss.”) But to have a dog that seemed indifferent to my many charms well, just wow. This was a blow. I decided I had two choices. Get over it and just love on Gracie more or woo Tahoe.

I went with wooing. I was going make this dog not just love me, but be obsessed with the wonder that is me. I tried everything. Homemade food, hikes, hugs. I even let him sleep in my spot on the bed and moved over to the middle and I hate the middle of the bed. (Is there anything more claustrophobic?) But it was all for naught, nothing seemed to impress him.

I was about to give up when one day I noticed Tahoe staring at my ponytail. He did that a lot. Hmm, perhaps his previous owner had a ponytail and because when we got Tahoe he was in rough shape maybe she hadn’t been kind to him. I called him over to the couch and we settled in for a talk. I told him I was one ponytailed lady that wasn’t going to disappoint him. I know I’m not as exciting as say finding foxes, but I would always love him. All he had to do was let me.

I’d like to think he heard me because after that things improved on a grand scale. We are now devoted to each other. Just ask my kids. Tahoe’s riding shotgun in the front while they have to sit in the back of the car because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with putting your dog’s happiness first.