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Monday, February 21, 2011

Baby Friday's Safari Planet

Anyone who knows me knows that I get pretty weird around animals. I thought I’d blog about it, for your amusement. Here is another one of my encounters with a random animal.
This one is a little longer than usual, but the animal in question is a little bit more important than the others. This post is about Handsomedog.

There are those who believe that Handsomedog sprung, fully-formed, from my hand. Would that it were true; Handsomedog may seem like some kind of immortal dog-god, but in fact he is as dog-like as, say, Skeledog or Girl One. That is, of course, if they weren’t a dusty pile of bones and a pig dressed like a cat doing an impression of a dog (respectively). As we delve into the history of Handsomedog, it may surprise you to learn of his origins. For although he was always very handsome, he wasn’t always the non-stop “good boy” machine that he is these days. Far from it....
I was moving into a house in the sketchiest part of Athens, Georgia (motto: It’s all sketchy!) and so I decided to get a dog for protection. I knew I wanted a shepherd mix and a rescue dog, but the combination of the two was proving difficult to run across. I met another dog, a pretty brindle Boxer/Pit mix, but that dog had failed a crucial test, so I had to move on. Fortunately, the day after meeting that dog, I saw Handsomedog on a website. Shepherd mix! Rescue! He had to be mine. And when I met him, he passed the all-important test that the brindle could not: he looked me in the eye. I was sold. The rescue organization had a lot of questions for me. Had I ever owned a dog before? No. Did I realize that this was a mix of two energetic breeds? Of course! Was I prepared to handle what was essentially still a puppy brain inside of a full-grown dog’s body (since he was 1 ½ years old)? Um, no duh! They finally relented and signed Handsomedog over to me, with the stipulation that we must pass an obedience course before the adoption would officially be complete. Okay, sounds good, DERP DERP DERP!
Those “derps” are the sound of impending doom. Because, no. No, no, no. I was in no way prepared for the ownership of a high-energy, challenging, highly intelligent dog. Something about owning cats just doesn’t prepare someone for living with a 65-pound wrecking-ball/perpetual motion machine. But I loved him. Who wouldn’t? When he finally tired out enough to hover, hummingbird-like, in one spot, he was affectionate and funny. We steeled ourselves and continued on with obedience. And every week we’d take two steps forward and one step back. It was progress, but only just.
Finally, all of our hard work was about to pay off. He could sit. He could stay. He obeyed the “Come” command like he was a fat teenager and I his stash of Little Debbies, running toward me at full gallop, a great flaming light of passion in his eye. I was sitting on a bench in the classroom on the last day of class before graduation reflecting on these very thoughts when the instructor came over to us.
“I’m going to recommend to you that you go through the program again,” he said quietly, so that the other entering students would not overhear.
I was annoyed. What kind of a sucker did I look like? “How much will it cost?”
“It will be free of charge. I just think he could use a little more work on the fundamentals.”
Okay, fine. I was still insulted, and was opening my mouth to respond how much progress I thought Handsomedog had made when--
“You might wanna watch out for that,” the instructor said calmly, pointing at Handsomedog, who was positioning himself at that very moment to take a dump on my foot. Okay, fair enough. You win, instructor guy. And with that, we committed to another eight weeks of classes and went home.
At home, I sank into my couch, sobbing. I felt like I had failed Handsomedog; he needed a strong, confident guide, and instead he had me--panicked, anal retentive, and exhausted. I looked at him and, as he had done that very first day, he looked me dead in the eye, grinning all the while. And then his tail knocked my favorite glass off of the coffee table.
But we stuck it out, Handsomedog and me. We’re fighters and we’re stubborn, and we really loved each other. So we did the class again, and this time we passed. As the years have gone by he’s mellowed out considerably, although he’s still pretty energetic and very intelligent. He likes prunes and carrots, but hates bananas. He’s one of the fastest dogs I’ve ever seen. He’s an amazing dog, and I know that when he goes over the rainbow bridge that I will be huddled in the fetal position in a corner somewhere, whispering his name over and over again.
(We won’t mention the time he stole my avocado, decided he didn’t like it, and hid it in a pile of dirty clothes.)
This has been a brief insight into the madness that is Baby Friday’s animal obsession. Tune in next time for the legend of Brokedy Ear!


  1. AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. I spent many college weekend in Athens, GA visiting my friends who were students there.

    The Grill and The Grit. That is all.

    Nevermind. That isn't all. I want pictures of the safari creatures!

  3. Yeah! Pics or it didn't happen.

  4. Making a note to myself to add a Safari Planet post this week with pictures.