A bit of this and that...with added frangipani.

Friday, January 4, 2013

I May Have Been Duped

My family, whilst I was growing up, was always a dog family. Ever since my earliest memory, we always had at least one dog. Our canine friends always had the run of our household and were treated not only as one of the family, but as very important members of such.

Dogs were so important to my mom and dad that they assessed strangers, entering our home, based on the reactions of our furry companions. In the residential caretaking industry, specialising in taking run-down apartment buildings and turning them around, this proved to be a very effective way to judge one's character. More often than not, the fellow who the dog didn't take a shine to, revealed himself to be a shady character who skipped off without paying rent, and the one whom the dog went to for a scratch behind the ear turned out to have a heart of gold and was a model tenant.

Holding the family dog's assessment of character in high regard must have run in the family, because when I first met Will and things started getting serious, I wanted to have him 1) meet my parents 2) meet the dogs and 3) show him the beautiful property they all lived on. I was already mostly sure that this was the guy for me, but how he reacted around these three important aspects of my life would either clinch the deal or make me reassess my choice of life partner.

When I invited him out to where my parents lived and as we drove along the pot-holed gravel road, I watched him as we crested the hill that gave us the best and most magnificent view of the valley with its mountain backdrop and sparkling lake in the distance. He caught his breath, just as I had done every single time I drove that road. Mental tick, he appreciated the pristine beauty that was splayed before him.

Once we approached the house, the dogs came bounding out to the car to greet us. These dogs were not without the ability to intimidate. Picture a Husky, a big black Labrador and a Bull Mastiff all scrambling paws on the gravel to meet the car. Nelson, the Bull Mastiff, would have most likely been slobbering long pendulous drips of saliva, and Henry, the black Lab would almost match Nelson in his height and weight--in other words, ginormous! The lady of the bunch, Kasey, looked like she was descendant from wolves, as Huskies do.

Was Will tremulous in the presence of this formidable pack? If he was, he didn't show it. He marched right up to them and patted their heads and scritched their bodies as if he'd been around dogs all his life. In my eyes, he passed with flying colours.

My parents loved him also.

Now, decades later, we have our own pups, and I was shocked to discover that he isn't a dog person after all, at least not by my standards:
Children holding small terriers
On 'puppy-distracting' duty for Dad
  • He visibly shudders every time the small terriers come near for some affection.
  • He pats them with a flat palm in a perfunctory way.
  • Before he attempts to fetch something from outside, where the dogs spend most of their time, he needs the kids to distract the dogs so as to avoid getting his toes licked. "Kids, come over here and protect me from the dogs."
  • He often forgets the name and gender of each of our two precious pets.
I've shared my life for almost 21 years with this man, all the while thinking that he was as much a 'dog person' as me, only to find that it was all a ruse. He was only putting on a show, those many years ago, to pass the tests I set before him. I think I may have been duped.

It's a good thing that my judge of character isn't so bad, because our life together has confirmed for me that he:

  • Is a good man, husband and father.
  • Would do anything for his family.
  • Is funny and gets on with most anyone he meets.
  • Is the love of my life, and I can't imagine my life without him.
  • Makes me proud to be his wife.
And between you and me, when he thinks no one is looking, I have spotted him leaning over the gate that separates him from the pups, scratching them behind their ears and saying in a falsetto voice, "Who's a good puppy then?"
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