The Things I Do for My Dog

My favorite dog-related influencer (okay, the only influencer that doesn’t make me cringe) is a lady that Cappie and I met in the Glover Park dog park this year. She was lovely and very normal and her dog Otis played with Cappie like neither of them would ever get to see another dog again. It was a spring day and the geese had been out, so there were little green goose poop bombs all around the park. Well, dogs are naturally curious animals. They’re also disgusting.

I waited in line and then asked a stranger To take this photo of us because I thought we need to document Cappie’s first trip to NYC.

Otis’s sidekick Sully got bored watching the big doodles play and got interested in a pile of green goop. I notice what he’s doing, and I can’t help myself. I start laughing and point this out to the owner.

Hearing my giggles, Sully looks up. Oscar The Grouch stares straight at me.

He’s pleased as punch and absolutely covered in green goose poop. To her credit, the owner also laughs and is as disgusted and annoyed as I would have been if I wer ein her shoes (I never trust a person who doesn’t act just a little bit exasperated at a mess).

That’s my real life brush with insta-famous Otis and Sully. Follow Otis, his dog mom runs a great account that strikes a good balance between “annoyingly helpful” and “this is a dog, I get it’s a little much” self-awareness.

This past weekend she grammed a question asking followers, “What one embarrassing thing do you for your dog?”

I didn’t reply, but since then I’ve been catching myself doing a myriad of absurd things for Cappie. Most of these aren’t unique, because I saw a bunch of them come in as answers. Although to the person who replied, “I wave goodbye to my dog when he watches me leaving out the window,” I ask, “Really? That’s the most embarassing thing you do for your dog?”

I wave goodbye to Cappie, and oftentimes blow her kisses.

I refer to myself as “mommy” and my husband as “daddy.” I remember during the lead-up to picking up Cappie from the breeder we established a lot of boundaries: She can be on the couch, but not in the bed. We can give her people food, but not at the table.  We are her roommates, we are not her parents. We will never call ourselves mom/dad/mommy/daddy/mama/papa.

Yeah. Before we got home from the farm in Blacksburg, I was “mommy.” Matt doesn’t fall into this trap as often. It helps that he doesn’t maintain a constant stream of conversation when he’s on his own with the dog.

I sometimes wonder how I would react if one day Cappie spoke back to me. I’m sure I’d be shocked. But – embarassing thing number one thousand – a tiny part of me thinks I’d find it pretty normal, because I’m sure she’d speak in exactly the voice she uses in my head. It’s eerily like mine, with a little more rasp and her cadence a bit more staccato.

I know, I know. Her raspy, staccato voice will stay in my dreams, of which she’s often a feature. When she’s dreaming and I’m awake I sometimes find myself doing the absolute most embarrassing thing: Checking that she’s alive.

And if I don’t see her chest rising and falling, I do the same thing I used to do to very tired or very drunk Matt – I rub/shake her face lovingly/worryingly until she wakes up, looks at me with disdain, and goes back to sleep.

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Alicia Amling View All →

Recovering journalist who discovered a life outside of news leaves you time for things like getting angry, cooking and traveling. Plus, hopefully, writing. I’m a wife, dog mom and Washingtonian.

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