Barry Smith: Cockroach-sized dogs a nuisance |

Barry Smith: Cockroach-sized dogs a nuisance

The owner assured me that these dogs, Pomeranians, were bred to pull sleds. I held my comments. She is a friend, and we are dogsitting, and my snide remarks are best kept to myself, because I am a good friend, and a thoughtful friend, not a sarcastic friend. No.

After dropping off a pile of stuff and heading back to her car, my dog-owning friend quickly returned with arm-load number two (this is foreshadowing, as number two will play a large role in my dogsitting experience … don’t want to give too much away, though) of tiny dog accouterments. Which is not to imply that the accouterments were tiny. Far from it. The paraphernalia was huge. It was the dog that was tiny, see? Yes, a very tiny dog.

OK, at the risk of upsetting a whole lot of people, I feel it is my duty as a man to harbor a deep, primal disdain for tiny dogs. Not small dogs. Tiny dogs. Tiny like the size of a sandwich. No, if you ordered a sandwich, and it was the size of this dog, you’d complain to your server that you asked for a sandwich, not a crouton.

They were bred to pull sleds, the owner told me. Sleds. As arm-load number four is being gathered from the car, I imagine about a hundred of these dogs hitched to a sled, scrambling hummingbirdlike in every possible direction while the person on the actual sled tries to get their attention.


The dogs respond by licking the musher in the mouth. They then pull with all their might, and the sled doesn’t budge.

This slapstick fantasy is interrupted when I see my new temp dog, named Bella, squeeze what appears to be a tootsie roll out on to what is actually a rather nice rug. As I’m scooping it up, arm-load number four arrives.

“She’s not housebroken yet, so sometimes she doesn’t go on the wee-wee pad,” I’m told by Bella’s owner.

“Excuse me,” I said. “But it sounded like you just said ‘wee-wee pad.'”

I was not mistaken, she had in fact said “wee-wee pad.” A wee-wee pad is like a diaper that lays out flat on the floor so that the little puppy can make wee-wee on it. As I’ll soon find out, this dog prefers to use the pad as an indicator of where NOT to go wee-wee. Or poopums, for that matter.

In addition to the wee-wee pad (which I found myself saying aloud without giggling in a frighteningly short amount of time), the dog came with about twenty times her weight in chew toys, a collapsible play pen, non-slip food dishes, a designer mock-croc transport bag that probably cost more than my first car, bag ‘o treats, spray bottle of spot remover, spray bottle of “neutralizer” (Owner: “If she wee-wees somewhere she isn’t supposed to, you use this spray to ‘neutralize’ the area so she doesn’t go there again.” Me: “What if I just spray it directly on the dog?”) and a sweater about the size of my glove.

“To put this sweater on her, you have to pull this little tag out …”

“You know what, feel free to tell me this, but I have to let you know that the chances of me putting a sweater on a dog are very, very slim. I am a man, after all.”

I love animals, really I do. But when it comes to man’s best friend, I feel like they should have certain qualifications. Like the ability to leap through the air and disarm an intruder. Or pull you from a raging river. Or, at the very least, go and get help when you get yourself trapped in the old well.

Should I fall into the old well, Bella would remain perched on the rim, unable to get down – Bella can’t even jump off the couch by herself – yapping incessantly, driving away potential rescuers, leaving me trapped with nothing but the occasional air-dropped tootsie roll for sustenance. (Note to self: Steer clear of the old well while walking the dog.)

But I was willing to put these prejudices aside for a short week for the sake of helping out a friend. This will be an opportunity for me to love little Bella as one of God’s creatures, just another manifestation of the broad spectrum of life, equally deserving of … HEY! Get the hell away from my shoes, you little yappy rat!

To be continued …

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