At some point along the way, I forgot to have kids. I generally feel fine about this reproductive/adoptive ADD until I walk by the baby section in Target and see all those cute little socks. And cute little down coats. And cute little spoons. And cute little everything. In those moments, I dearly wish I had a tiny person to buy tiny things for. But I know you can’t have a baby just for the mini golf caps. It’s like my mother said when I moved in with a guy for the first time and was excessively pleased by his food processor: “Honey, you can’t move in with a man just because you like his cookware.”
I think a lot of small-dog owners without children sublimate their parental instincts by dressing up their dogs in childlike clothing, especially tutus—there are lots of wannabe prima ballerina chihuahuas, I’ve noticed. I never did that with my dog Hannah because she would have hated it and I couldn’t have lived with myself. Oh, if I’d done it ironically, maybe, but I’m too much of a pretentious ass to just enjoy life. I have to ruin everything by thinking about how stupid it might look—doggie Phillies cap included.
This weekend, though, I was forced—compelled! No choice!—to dress my new dog Millie in denim shorts. And it was fabulous.
The shorts aren’t meant to be shorts; they’re actually washable diapers that I bought when she very suddenly, a week prior to being spayed, embarked upon her journey to womanhood. “Dogs in heat first time chihuahuas what to do help” I typed into Google, and the first page that came up was AdorableDiapersThatLooksLikeDenimShorts.com. What good news! I finally had a justification for dressing a tiny being in tiny clothing. Off to the pet store I went.
As soon as I got home, I grabbed three-pound Millie, put her on a table, and assaulted her with the denim shorts, pulling her fluffy tail through the tail hole and hoisting the elasticized denim up around her waist. I secured the flaps in place with the Velcro and put her on the floor—where she remained. In the same position. Without moving.
Sadly, my dog had lost the ability to perambulate, and I’d lost the ability to care because I couldn’t stop laughing. Finally, I checked the garment to make sure she had full range of motion and that there was nothing poking into her. It was fine. So I used a treat to induce her to move. She looked at it, sniffed the air, and then hopped sideways, like a drunken rabbit. It was a remarkable and entirely unnecessary adaptation to adverse circumstances, as if she were one of those dogs who have a leg amputated but still catch Frisbees for a living. Millie had no adverse circumstances, but the sideways hop was all she’d allow.
From what I’ve read on the Google Machine, the time frame for this shorts-wearing is only about a week, after which she’ll be done with that phase of her “season.” A few weeks later, I’ll get her spayed, so I’m reasonably certain this will be the last time I’ll have a rationale to dress her like a baby. If only her going into heat required that she wear a hooded sweatshirt or fleece booties or maybe a nice yellow rain slicker, I might be convinced not to spay her at all.
But then as my mother might say, you can’t own a dog just for her heat-ware. Or something like that.