Hump Day: The beginning of a beautiful relationship with a “mop” dog

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Editorial section

OK, I promised myself not to bore you anymore with stories about the new dog, but since I wrote two columns on the lead-up to getting little Polana Milane Passioncoton (otherwise known as “Milane”), I thought it best to at least let you know how she’s doing now that I have her.

Milane is a purebred Coton de Tuléar – the scientific term for a little white ball of fluff with lots of fur to brush. Cotons are also known as the “stuffed animal” dog because they tend to look like a stuffed toy – only this “toy” needs to be brought outside to do her business several times per day.

Some relatives and I drove the 2.5 hours to the breeder to pick her up two Saturdays ago. I was excited to see her in person after only seeing photos. I was also terrified because I hadn’t had a pooch since I was a kid in the 1970s and I was a bit rusty. A couple of cats are one thing – but dogs require another level of care and attention.

Well, it was pure love the minute I took her in my arms. Far from being nervous, she gave me three little licks with her pink tongue on the end of my nose. I guess that was her way of saying, “Hi Dad!” It was also her way of saying, “Oh you poor sap. So you’re the guy who’s gonna have to stand outside in the rain every day for the next dozen years waiting for me to poop, eh?”

It’s good thing she’s cute… and that I don’t find dog breath too disgusting. (I’m weird that way, I guess.)

Milane has adjusted well. She’s a bit shy with new people, but considering the new environment, I’m quite willing to give her a pass on that. She hasn’t had any accidents in the house. She doesn’t chew on anything, either. What she does do, however, is growl at every single person walking by the house.

I have a large picture window overlooking the front yard. Since I live across from a park in a nice residential neighbourhood, it’s not uncommon to have – oh – a couple of million people walk by the house every day… many of them walking their own dogs.

Milane has decided that it’s her job to warn me about every one of them – and I do mean “every.” I’ll be napping on the sofa with her snoozing on top of me, when all of sudden she’ll let out this guttural growl that sounds pretty intimidating for a little dog. I’m not sure what she’d do if she ever caught the people walking by. She’s too little to do much harm and she’s so cute that no one would take her seriously.

It’s kind of like being growled at by a Smurf. I mean, how much damage could they do? She’s just a wee thing. Besides, she looks like a mop with legs, so anyone she growls at just thinks I have some sort of new vibrating device to clean my floors.

“Uhm, you know your mop is vibrating, right?” “Nah, that’s just my dog,” I’d say. “Somewhere under all that fur, she’s trying to intimidate you. She doesn’t realize how cute she is, though, so people just laugh at her.”

The cats have let her live – so far. After a couple of days of hisses and arched backs, Cindy and Casey seem to have accepted her. Casey got there quicker than Cindy (no surprise to me), but even Cindy’s coming around. Casey met us at the door the other day when Milane and I entered the house from a walk, and he proceeded to rub noses with her for a few seconds. It did my heart some good to see that!

As a new dog owner, I’ve spent more time in the rain in the past 10 days than I ever thought I would. It’s like the weather gods found out I got a new fluffy white dog and decided to punish me by making it as wet and muddy as possible.

I’ve also been honing my math skills since getting Milane. Much to my surprise, I’ve become quite adept at counting the number of times she does her business outside each day. I become concerned if certain things don’t happen when they’re supposed to.

I also praise her like a parent cheers on a toddler who’s been sitting on the potty for an hour. “Good for you!” I squeal while watching her doing her business in the park. At some point, I’ll likely start jumping up and down and clapping my hands gleefully, too. That would be quite a sight. That’s when the unmarked black van pulls up next to me on the street followed by a couple of dour-looking officials in fancy suits to demand my “Man Card” back. “Sir, we saw you praising a little white dog for pooping. Just give us back the card. You’re dead to us.”

I’ve reached my limit for pets, though. A couple of cats and one dog are enough. Besides, I can’t fit any more critters on my sofa. Do you know how difficult it is to nap with a dog asleep on top of you, a cat under the crook of one arm and another cat lying just above your head? No need for one of those throws that people have on their sofas. I have a blanket that purrs and growls.

I remember the evenings when I used to fall asleep on the sofa and then got up to go to bed. Now, I fall asleep while watching television and end up standing in the rain with a dog that refuses to poop. “Please hurry! Daddy’s cold and soaking wet!” But then she looks at me with those big brown eyes peeking through those curly white bangs – and I melt.

Something tells me this is just the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

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