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I squinted as I swiped open my phone in my dimly lit hangover den of an apartment. I opened a message from my girlfriend’s mom. “We finally found Lisa a dog!!!! :)”, it read, with a picture of a baby French Bulldog attached. For me, this was a moment I had been dreading since the day her mom mentioned a puppy as a Christmas present. Growing up in Texas, and being an avid hunter, I grew up with Labs. Labs are, without a doubt, the best dog known to man. I also knew my girlfriend would not be getting a Lab. I could write an entire column on how depressing life can be without a Lab, especially post-college life.
Fast forward several months to around Christmas time. My girlfriend and I make our annual trip back to her home state for the week. As we walk in the door, we are greeted by her parents, along with a puppy following close behind. The madness that ensued and the behavior of my girlfriend made that kid opening his Nintendo 64 in that viral video look like a pill-popping vegetable. As I made first eye contact with that little pup, we had a mutual understanding. She knew I did not like her, and I knew I would be fighting for just an ounce of the attention my girlfriend would surely be devoting to her.
As the week and holiday festivities went on, it was nothing but “the puppy this…” and “the puppy that…”, when all I wanted to do was yell out about how my purebred lab took dumps bigger and more intelligent than this dog. Being around her family, I pretended to enjoy the thing. I’d take her to the bathroom, play with her on the floor, or let her fall asleep on me. While my behavior showed a caring boyfriend, on the inside I knew the battle between this dog and I had just begun. As we returned home, life as I knew it changed. I couldn’t walk five feet in my own apartment without stepping on a dog toy or pee. Rather than the typical dinner dates and conversation my girlfriend and I shared, we were ordering Chinese as she talked about the dog and I tried to drown my sorrow in sweet & sour sauce. And our sex life, it was nonexistent. I found myself contemplating a renewal of my old Brazzers account almost daily.
With my girlfriend being a nurse (read: sugar mama), I was forced to spend more and more time with my rival. Playing with her as a method of maybe grabbing some sympathy sex from the girlfriend turned into me actually caring for the dog. Feeding, potty training, and walks became a normal part of my life. Then, in the blink of an eye, it all changed. As I sat on the couch one Thursday night, watching reruns of Fixer Upper and ignoring the puppy, that damned dog walked up to the couch, gave me the cutest puppy eyes I’ve ever seen, and let out a soft whimper, if only to gain my attention for a moment. As I reluctantly picked her up, she began licking my face and wagging her tale….I was hooked. I was in love. I took over the vet visits for her shots, the training, and the walks with pride. I began telling coworkers about her, stopping by the pet store on the way home to grab a new toy, and filling my phone with pictures and videos of her.
As I sit here typing this, puppy asleep next to me, I can’t help but think one thing: “I’m not ashamed anymore.” Hell, two nights ago, as she slept on my chest, I spent over two hours researching the best puppy papoose to buy so I can easily spend even more time with her. So whether you see me walking her with her flower leash and collar, killin’ it on the brunch patio with her in the puppy papoose, or headed to the ranch in the Chevy while she rides shotgun, you need to know one thing…I am a man that loves a small dog, and I’m proud. .
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