Size certainly matters, especially when searching for that loyal companion. I have always been a firm believer that bigger is better ... dog that is, you know, man's best friend. There is an unofficial club among dog owners. If you have a dog or plan to get one in the future, you most likely have a preference. Are you are member of the large or small breed club? Membership in both clubs is very different, as we members know. Neither one fully understands the other. I've never had a dog under 70 pounds. I have always believed that big dogs have better personalities, are more intelligent, are easier to train, are more fun, more lovable, and frankly much better looking than their mini canine relatives. Big dogs have substance to them. They're the size of a child and therefore just seem to fit into the family picture better. And another plus: they have great names like Thor, Rocky, Spike, and Champ Their counterparts, on the other hand, have namesakes that conjure up thoughts of ballerina's in tutus. Small dogs to me are yippee, yappy, and snippy. They seem to have attitudes. I feel them starring at me as if they're thinking, "she does not meet my standards." They are coddled and cooed and treated like babies. Their owners can be heard using infantile voices when talking to them. Yuck, not at all appealing. This is not a real dog. I can honestly say that I never went out of my way to smooch or cuddle someone's little dog. On the other hand, I have been known to cross a busy intersection during rush hour to greet and get slobbered on by a large one, while relating my own endearing big dog' stories to the owner in tow. By now you've probably figured out that I'm a member of the large breed club. I have been my whole life. Over the years I've had three big, beautiful dogs. All had loving and outgoing personalities. Working dogs that live each day with boundless energy and a passion for life. Big dogs who wake up each day with a purpose: to be the ideal family pet. What more could you want in a dog? My present best friend is no exception to that stereotype. She is wonderful. Full of love for her people. I will admit though that sometimes the relentless energy she has is overwhelming. For instance, throwing the ball for the umpteenth time to the point that my arms goes numb due to lack of circulation. My wonderful dog on the other hand is still raring to go. Does she ever get tired I wonder? No, she doesn't. Ever. She reminds me of this guy from college, always looking for the next party. And in spite of the massive shedding that at times looks more like tumble weed blowing around Dodge City; or the additional 80 pounds attempting to squeeze into bed with me each night; not to mention her craziness in the car or when someone comes to the door; she, regardless, brings nothing but joy to my household. Until recently I thought my blissful pet world was complete. My children however begged to differ. They saw us as incomplete pet owners and thought we had room for one more. They requested a puppy. But, not a regular puppy, they wanted a puppy that stays a puppy forever! A small breed dog
no way. Yes way, a small yippy, yappy, snooty purse pooch. My kids are defectors, traitors to the club. After months of researching the many breeds, I am now an official, card-carrying member of the small breed club. Yes, I have dual membership in both clubs since the addition of a Papillon puppy, a dog that will reach full size at eight to 10 pounds. The adoption process was unique to me. I have always chosen my big dog. But in this case, the breeder chooses the owners based on interviews, written applications, and character reference calls to friends and veterinarians. At some point I wondered if adopting a child might be easier. By now I was caught up in the challenge. The idea that I might not be worthy of owning this puppy made me want it even more. So, I played the game, and I won. I was the chosen one, and I am now in love with a "high end, frue-frue" dog named Duffy. Yeah, I know the ballerina thing. I am living proof though that one can be reformed. At least in the world of dogs. I can't believe what I was missing. Small dogs have great personalities. In fact, I believe it's this personality that people hope they'll find in a pet rabbit, or ferret, or even a cat. It's a big, warm, loving personality in a little, furry, miniature package. I see now why people treat them like babies, they're puppies that never grow up, so we continue to baby them. If I were to pat my little seven-pounder, the way I pat my big 80-pounder, I could possibly give him a concussion or brake a rib! Everything about this little dog was easier, simply because he was smaller. Think about it: everything is smaller. One sprint down the hallway and he needs a nap. He moves around the car without injuring other passengers. When he jumps on visitors he isn't eye-to-eye with them, like you know who, he's eye- to-shin, so no one gets knocked down the front steps. He doesn't counter surf, consuming all leftovers, because he can't reach the counters. Drinks on the coffee table are spared from his wagging tail because he's so short. He is physically incapable of drinking out of the toilet. Baths are as simple as washing a dish. It doesn't take two men and a boy to hold him in place. He dries fast and yes, again because of his size, the house doesn't smell like wet-dog for two days. He goes practically unnoticed in any bed he chooses to sleep in. And shedding, what shedding? He's the dog version of a bald man. If my arm was twisted and I had to choose a favorite size, not dog mind you, but size. Based on my experience, I would probably never go big again. I admit it. For now though, I would say that I have the best of both dog worlds. I wouldn't trade either of my membership. As different as the two dogs are, they are the most content when they're together. The one common bond they share is unconditional love, for me. What more could I want? My blissful pet world is now truly complete.