And so the Pekingese took best of show at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show on Valentine’s Day. That brought howls from some of my friends, who thought the German shepherd was the obvious choice.
I thought Malachy was cute, even though his face looked like he ran head-on southbound into a northbound Saint Bernard and he more resembled a trotting pillow than a dog. I heard him called names like “slow-moving hairball” and “Cousin It’s dog.” That was tacky and uncalled-for and I believe the pettiness came from the losing Doberman pinscher.
The Peke had long, flowing fur down to his stubby little paws. Kiefer would have fur like that if I let it grow, which I never do. Once his Maltese tresses get more than an inch long, they began to knot and tangle and no amount of brushing will prevent a bad hair day. I think it’s because he spends so much time rolling on his back and sleeping with all four paws in the air.
Besides, if I put his topknot in a ponytail he gets a headache.
He’s a very dogly dog and all boy. This means he hikes his leg on everything that isn’t quick enough to get out of the way, including, occasionally, his friend Ranger the cat. And he sometimes tries to have his way with Ranger, who solves this embarrassment by scuttling under the TV armoire.
Yes, Kiefer has been “fixed,” but that hasn’t stopped those manly tendencies to fall in love with the occasional stranger’s leg.
I tell myself it’s a guy thing and try to ignore it.
Kiefer is a really smart dog — smarter than me by a long shot. I spend hours plotting to outwit him and I even took him to obedience school, which we both failed miserably. I’m pretty sure that being held back was the direct result of his falling in love with the instructor’s leg.
Our main issue is Kiefer’s insistence on making unwanted deposits on my carpet. He is mainly an indoor dog and won’t go outside if the weather is hot or cold or rainy or snowy or the sprinkler system has done its work. So getting him to take care of business in my big backyard is a struggle.
He hates getting his paws wet. He is forever trying to sneak into the back part of the house, and I am ever vigilant for that guilty look on his face as he tippy-toes into my bedroom.
Last week I figured out a way to get him outdoors. I stocked up on his favorite “cookies,” which are those canine pigs in blanket things. His cookie jar has a red lid and little red hearts all over it and any time I go near it he’s bouncing up and down like his hind legs are bedsprings.
OK, tell me your dog doesn’t have his own cookie jar.
So I ask him the constant question, “Want to go outside go potty?” In the event I can get him out the door, I am then waiting just inside with a cookie and a “good boy.” It didn’t take two days for him to get it.
If she mentions “go potty” and I run out, I get a cookie when I come back in. So all I have to do is stand on the patio, where it’s dry. Then I come back in and voila, she hands me a cookie. Boy, is she an easy mark.
But I’m no dummy and pretty soon I figured out his game.
Now when he wants a snack, he stands on my chest and licks my nose repeatedly until I power my motorized recliner down and let him out. I stand by the patio door and watch. If he doesn’t go potty, I shake my head sternly.
“No. Go potty,” I shout through the door. He looks puzzled. “Go peepee!” I yell, shaking an accusing finger at him, and he looks forlorn. He gives me those eyes. You know the ones. The broken-hearted stare that reminds you of all the times he stayed loyally beside you when you were sick in bed.
The look that brings up all the kisses and cuddles up under your neck and the long-suffering way he listens to your troubles when nobody else cares.
Finally, I can’t take it anymore. I slide the patio door open and he races in and glances up to make sure there really is no cookie in my hand. He runs to the kitchen and starts his trampoline trick while I stand with my arms folded shaking my head.
Then he gives me the eyes. And I open the jar.
He could win the Westminster Kennel Club dog show with those eyes. If only he wouldn’t fall in love with the judge’s leg.
DONNA FIELDER can be reached at 940-566-6885. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @donnakaye6.