Most of us love dogs and I am no exception. It's just that not having owned a dog in quite some time, I'm not always sure how to behave around them. And frankly whenever I encounter someone else's dog anymore, I'm not even sure I want to be around them.
Take the case of Sophie, the poodle owned by my friend Ellen. Whenever I go to visit, Sophie barks, jumps up and down frenetically, wraps her paws around my legs like she's begging me not to foreclose on her mortgage, and furiously licks my hands and face like I'm an ice cream cone of Ben and Jerry's most phenomenal flavor.
However, when I first walk through the door of Ellen's house, I'm nowhere near ready for this level of affection from a four legged creature, man's best friend or not. And I'm certainly nowhere near ready for the slobbery sticky face licking of the sort Sophie dispenses, not even if Sophie were somehow magically transformed into Scarlett Johansson.
"Hello, Sophie, how are you?" I say stiffly. "Ever so nice to see you."
That's the best I can muster this early on in my interaction with someone else's pooch, anyone else's pooch. Sophie meanwhile jumps ever higher and more excitedly on her hind legs, the better to vigorously cover my face in doggie kisses most foul, wet, and smelly, and to hump my leg.
"No, no, Sophie, please I've just washed my face. And just washed these jeans too. Did you ... uh ... happen to see the news today? Terrible that North Korean hacking, isn't it? Market's up at least, according to Maria Bartiromo."
Meanwhile Sophie's owner, flush with affection for her pride and joy, is intent on imbuing that very same affection into my curmudgeonly psyche.
"Sophie-kins, give some lovey-wovey to Perry. Isn't she a good girl, isn't she a good girl? You make kissy face with Perry!"
Oh, that unique quality in all of humanity to think every one of us must love their pets exactly as much as they do. Were that trait not to exist, there would be three cat videos on Facebook and the rest politics and people changing their profile picture.
I have to fight off vomiting.
But then as I settle into visiting my friend, a curious thing happens. As I'm having coffee with Ellen, a more calmed down Sophie nuzzles against my leg.
No humping. No licking. Just snuggling.
"That's a good girl, Sophie," I said, rubbing her head softly. "Yes, you are a nice puppy, you are."
One hour goes by.
"Yes, you are a pretty girl, aren't you, Sophie, aren't you, Sophie?" I'm now cooing passionately in a voice I haven't used since I was five. "You're the sweetest little baby-waby girl there is, aren't you? Aren't you?!
I am now rubbing, petting, cuddling, and all but having inters-pecial sex with the most delightful four-legged creature on earth, man's best friend or not! I couldn't be more excited than if Sophie were magically transformed into Scarlett Johansson.
"What a baby-waby you are! What a doll-baby!! You are a doggikins, a sweetums doggikins, yes you are, yes you are!!!"
Even Ellen is embarassed.
Oh, that unique quality in all of humanity to after a short while come to love someone else's pets almost as much as they do.
No wonder there are so many cat videos on Facebook.