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I Have Become A Crazy Dog Person

Carter the sweater-wearing dog
Drew Magary

This is Carter. He is my dog, and he has made me a crazy dog person. This was not a lock. I didn’t grow up with a dog. When my wife and I had three kids, I was the lone member of my family who did NOT want to get a dog, because it was too much work. And once I relented on the issue, we adopted a dog in Carter who was so unruly that, for his first few years living with us, I quietly wanted to give him back to the shelter from which we got him.

But Carter has mellowed with age and professional training. He obeys commands. He goes out to piss when I call him. He even sleeps in our bed without becoming a possessive psycho about it. I love him to death. Not to a carnal degree, but enough for me to have a lot of crazy-dog-person affects. I spoil Carter with as much cheese as he can eat. If I walk into a room and he’s there with the rest of my family, he’s the one I greet first. And I’ve never told anyone this, but I’ve thought long and hard about maybe preserving one of Carter’s paws when he dies. Then, as mandated by sportswriter law, I will write the 2,500 saddest words you've ever read to memorialize him.

I have spent literally years trying to get him to kiss me.

Carter is stingy with his affections. Whatever happened in his past life (we adopted him when he was 3) scarred him enough to make him terrified of other dogs, and reserved even around his caretakers. He will never go to a dog run, and the only member of my family he ever kissed was our 12-year-old, and that barely counted because A) he licked my son’s eye, and B) my son had to get at point-blank range of Carter’s mouth for him to do it. But Carter had become such a good dog under our roof that I daydreamed about him making the ultimate leap into good doggiedom. I envisioned him in last days, lying on a table in the vet’s office and saying, in perfect English, “I love you” to me and my wife before giving us both a tender lick on the cheek to say goodbye.

Then I found a shortcut. The other night, I put some Aquaphor on my lips, because they’re always chapped. After I did, Carter came over and licked the residual moisturizer off of my fingers. EUREKA! Kisses! I may have cheated a bit by coating my hands in delicious, delicious petroleum jelly, but I didn’t care. I started feeding the dog Aquaphor routinely (trace amounts; I didn’t want him shitting out lucite turds), letting him tongue my fingers with impunity. I cackled with crazy-dog-person joy.

But I wasn’t satisfied. Being a scientifically literate fellow, I deduced that if I put Aquaphor anywhere on my person (no not my dick), it might produce the same effect from Carter. So the other night, while he was sitting on my lap, I put a slight daub of Aquaphor on my cheek and HEY PRESTO! The boy licked it clean off. All my dreams had come true, and I owed it all to inert, waxy moisturizer produced by the teutonic equivalent of Procter & Gamble. DANKE SCHOEN, BEIERSDORF AG!

You might consider this abhorrent behavior on my part. But I’ve seen the rest of you dog people out there. I see you strolling your dog around in a pram. I see you bringing your dog aboard an airplane as a “therapy dog” even though we all know damn well that’s just your dog dog. I see you patronizing dog bakeries, even perhaps owning one yourself. You’re no saner than I. And I’ll have you know that my human son used to enjoy eating lotion too when he was 2! THIS IS ALL NORMAL. DON’T EVEN TRY TO PRETEND YOU’RE BETTER THAN ME.

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