The beauty of having dogs and not children is that you can openly declare favorites without fear of them ending up in therapy forever because therapy does not work when a parent openly declares a favorite.
Therefore, allow me to let you all in on the secret: Slider is my favorite.
I don’t really know why. I just feel like he and I completely “get” each other. Characteristics we have in common include: a little bit nutty; a complete inability to stop being excited when we’re really excited; a desire to make friends everywhere; a hatred of trucks and trailers (just kidding — this one might be all his); an ability to stay up WAY too late; and a general constitution that makes MOST people feel pretty loved.
From the time we drove down to Omaha and the rescue foster mom opened up the sliding door on her minivan and what we thought was a Westie climbed out. And kept climbing. And he had such a long body. And how he attacked 10-year-old Daley with such ferocity and happiness. And how she let him lie on her while we pretended he said, “Did you know you’re my new best friend?”
Everybody loves Slider. But he and I? We are the pair. We are the human/dog soulmates.
So here is one of my favorite stories: I was up in the Cities and Slider began having bladder issues (on a Saturday because no dog ever has a problem on a weekday). Carrie was in England (meaning I was on my own to make a decision) and I knew this was not how he normally was so I called our brilliant, wonderful vet who said, “You should probably take him in. If it’s an obstruction, you don’t want to wait.”
I drove to the Golden Valley Emergency Vet Clinic and we walked in and they roomed us. We sat quietly and waited for someone to enter. I’d just lost my mother-in-law the month before and all I could think was, “No. I’m not losing him.” The vet came in and I put him on the table and he was shaking nervously while my heart just broke in half. She was listening to his heart when I leaned over and put my hand on his front left leg and kissed the top of his head.
He stopped shaking and the vet said, “Whoa.” And I said, “What? Is he okay?” And she said, “Oh, I mean, his heart rate just slowed way down. He must really love you and you must really comfort him.”
And that is the end all be all for me. Because he is always at my feet. He is always looking at me hopefully like I’m going to just suddenly walk him even if there’s a downpour outside. He is simple and wonderful and zen. He greets me when I get home and he can hear my car from half a mile away and gets excited in the window for me to pull into the driveway. And I have biological proof that I’m his favorite. (This is what I choose to believe.)
Therefore, and I mean this as nicely as possible, don’t fuck with me, universe. He was diagnosed with IMHA today which requires a whole lot of treatment and stringent care and has a wildly divergent range of mortality rate. And of course he could come up with the weirdest diagnosis where I have to learn all sorts of new words and have DAILY vet visits for awhile to determine how many blood transfusions he’ll need.
We are not people to go to super extreme measures for dogs. We are reasonable, rational people. We understand how this works.
But this is Slider. So yeah. He’ll get whatever he needs. Because he must really love me. And because he always comes back out to the living room to keep me company while I write. And because he never met a creature he didn’t try to befriend.
He’s my favorite.
[Editor’s note: This is her second favorite story.]
One time, we found him on the ottoman with a gigantic bucket of movie popcorn wherein he was eating the ENTIRE thing and spitting out the hulls because he’s not a savage. And when we walked into the room, he just looked up at us like, “What?”
So I rushed to Google and typed in, “What if my dog ate a bucket of popcorn?” and EVERY result was, “What if my dog ate a piece of popcorn?” And I was like, “What?!? Who googles one single kernel of popcorn? HE ATE A BUCKET OF IT!” He was fine. He threw up later, but I think he’d tell you it was worth it.
(This is also in direct conflict with the time that Lefty ate one of our multivitamins and so we googled, “What if my dog ate a vitamin?” and the only result we could find was, “My dog ate an entire jar of multivitamins” and I thought, “Who are these people?” as though my dogs were obviously the normal ones.)