One of the best things about having a dog is that you always have someone to talk to. I’m not a crazy old lady talking to herself. I’m a crazy old lady talking to a Yorkie-poo.
What do I tell Captain? Just about everything. “I came very close to slapping an annoying customer today.” “I can’t wait to see my grandson again!” “Why on earth do otherwise intelligent women wear stilettos?”
Captain, according to a recent article in Reader’s Digest, has the intellect of a two-year-old and only a 65 word vocabulary, mostly focused on Captain-related things like “walk” and “dog” and “treat.”
“Stiletto” and “grandson” are not part of my dog’s vocabulary.
And yet? When I start blathering away about my day, he never walks away. Instead, he listens attentively. Of course, he could just be listening carefully in the hope that he’ll hear me say “walk” or “treat.”
Either that or he just thinks that listening to me is part of his job as a dog.
It’s a job he does very well.
I recently asked my dog-owning friends if they talk to their dogs. Of course, every single one of them does. When I asked them what they talked about, here’s what they told me:
I speak to my dog just like I would any other friend. She always listens.
I narrate the whole day to her and I think she appreciates it.
I tell her what a good dog she is. Or what a bad dog she is. Often in baby talk.
I’ve been known to throw open my front door and yell, “what’s shaking, babycakes?” to my dachshund.
I’m forever apologizing to Cejas for various infractions, including serving a dinner that isn’t to his linking, or providing an insufficient number of treats.
I talk to Butch about everything — including my deepest darkest secrets. Dogs never tell.
Of course I talk to my dog! And then I pretend to be my dog and answer back in a squeaky voice.
I have better conversations with my dog than I do with most people.
“Who’s a pretty girl? Are you a pretty girl?”
I ask her what she thinks she’s doing when she’s chewing up a shoe or engaging in other destructive behavior.
I sing to my dog. I also rewrite showtunes so that they’re all about her.
I always talk to Ringo the Wonder Retriever. The fact that he’s now deaf doesn’t stop me.
When my chubby dog begs for food before it’s dinnertime, I give her diet tips like, “Drink some water!”
I often ask my dog for his advice. For example, “Cooper, what am I going to do about this situation at work?”
“Hey baby puppy! It’s my baby puppy. You’re the cutest little doggy in the whoooooole world. You’re my little poopy face.”
While I’m rubbing his tummy I tell him that he needs to start pulling his weight and contributing to the finances, housework, and general life upkeep because he’s a fuzzy bottomed freeloading little bozo.
“Stop going barkey-bark. No one wants to hear that.”
I tell my dogs to stop fighting, to get their faces out of one another’s behinds and to stop trying to trip me. Sometimes they do as I ask. Sometimes they talk back to me.
Buddy passed away four months ago, but I still talk to him. I say good night. I tell him how good he is. I remind him that he was a handsome boy and how much I love him.
When I leave for work I always tell Kreplach that I love him.
When I leave the house, I always say, “You’re in charge!”
Is the fact that I talk to my Yorkie-poo a problem?
Does it make me anti-social? Does having a dog to confide in stop me from putting my profile on a dating website and finding somebody to talk with who understands the words “grandson” and “stiletto?”
Perhaps. Still, I don’t think that my talking to Captain is a problem.
If he ever starts to answer me? That’s when I’ll worry.
Roz Warren, is the author of two collections of library and book-related humor, Our Bodies, Our Shelves: A Collection of Library Humor, and Just Another Day At Your Local Public Library, both of which would be excellent gifts for your favorite librarian or bookish friend.)