Snowball’s Saga: A Fable for Dog Lovers

Like most dog-lovers, I squee over every dog that walks by my front porch. My youngest just sits on the steps and yells, “I LOVE YOUR DOG” at every single person who walks by with a dog. It’s adorable. And a little threatening.

BUT I have noticed a trend in the dog-having set. By which I really just mean one set of my parents. My dad’s first proper dog, as legend has it, was an absolute king of a Samoyed. A giant of a dog with the mind of a scholar and the loyalty of…well…a dog, he pretty much set the standard for a “good boy” and could easily have graced the cover of a Jack London book.

In love with the dog, my folks made the classic mistake of falling in love with the breed. The next Samoyed was nearly as good. He was big and fluffy and sweet and let my brother and I sit on him like a horse when we were tiny. A perfect nanny dog adept at squashing the mice brought to him by a very strange cat who didn’t like to kill her own prey.

The next Samoyed was Shiro. Oh, poor, sweet Shiro. The kids were older when Shiro came along and two out of the three of us were living in a different household. Shiro might have been a better dog with a little more attention, but he was just goofy as hell. To quote my brother, “He pooped and pee’d in the house, he ate a tube sock and wandered around a dinner party with half of it hanging out of his pooper.” 

Shiro liked to go for walks. Off-leash. Alone. Basically, he broke out of the yard at every opportunity and wandered off into the hills of Redwood city. The pound would call. Dad would shell out the 200 buck to post bail. Shiro would poop in the house. This cycle went on for years.

Then, one day, a different phone call. Some concerned citizen found the dog and brought him back. Just a nice guy who lived up the street with a couple of kids.

Couple weeks later, same call, same guy.

The fourth time the guy drove Shiro back to the house he had his kids in the back of the station wagon. Two little girls who’d tied a big pink bow around Shiro’s neck were hanging out the window weeping and yelling “SNOWBALLLLLLL!” with tears streaming down their adorable faces.

Dad looked at the girls, looked at the dog, looked at the helpless expression on the other dad’s face.

“You know what – just keep him. Please.”

The dog was happy, the dads were happy, and the kids were freaking ecstatic. “SNOWBALL!!!”

This cycle of increasingly less charismatic members of a particular breed has continued over the years, extending to cats and even parrots. Consider this my warning to animal lovers across the board. Good pets can be trained, but great pets are a random gift from kindly Gods and CAN NOT BE REPLICATED, much less replaced. If you try, the Gods get angry and you end up with a complete shitbird.

The only real perk of constantly buying the same breed of animal is sometimes they are close enough looking that you don’t have to put up a new picture.

Don’t be breedist.

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