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Valentine has a new boyfriend

They met by accident. She was summering in the catskills with her family and he was a local boy. Her parents had done everything they could to keep her away from him.

He’s dangerous! They said.

He’ll eat you for dinner!

***

The first time they met, she was in the garden, playing with her brother. Off to the side of the house she saw him — the one her parents had warned her about. In a heartbeat she was at the fence, baring her teeth and growling. He yawned, placed one paw gently on the fence between them, and wagged his tail.

The day afterwards, as soon as she’d finished her breakfast and ┬áhad her morning toilet, she ran out to the garden again. She was looking for him, she had to see him again, she couldn’t help herself.

And there he was! Tall and proud, broad chested and beautiful. Before her mother could call her back, she ran to the fence and leapt into the air, twirled about and landed, her yellow body a happy, belly-up curl on the grass. So this is love!

V and P 1

If you know dogs, then you’ll recognize what Valentine is doing in these photos as a “play-bow”. If you’re into yoga, a play-bow is the position that gave “downward-facing dog” it’s name. It’s basically dog-speak for, “Hi! Wanna play?”

Valentine is the best rat-dog in the world. She really, really is. I can’t imagine a more wonderful, perfect, yellow, rat-dog. But she is a little, yellow, trash-digging, ratty-assed, pound-dog with the attitude to match. When we met her she was practically hairless, stank of pee, had a missing toenail and a broken tooth. She was also super crazy, froth-at-the-mouth, dog aggressive.

Val Portrait

We have spent the last four-and-a-half years training her and socializing her and working with her and we’ve gotten her to a place where she’s usually ok with uber-submissive male dogs who are smaller than her. In the dog park she tries to start fights with any dog even slightly bigger than her. On-leash walks are terrible, every big dog she leaps at takes a year off my life. However, off-leash in any of our city’s beautiful parks (dogs are allowed in many NYC parks everyday from sunrise to 9:00 a.m.), she will generally ignore a bigger dog, as long as it keeps it’s distance from her. Any dog who approaches her from behind gets a faceful of teeth. Not a bite, just a snarling and swinging of the bared teeth.

V and P 2

So when Valentine invited Printer, a dog who is easily five times her size, to play, I was so happy I cried.

Then, since Malamutes are wolf-like dogs with incredibly high prey-drives, I called my friend, who’s dog Printer is, and asked if it would be ok to let him play with my bite-sized rat-like dog. And she said yes, they should be fine, and they were. They were absolutely wonderful.

V and P 3

You’ve come a long way, kid.

(P.S. We pack up our truck three weeks from today. Holy. Sh**.)


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  • Tara

    This is a beautiful story! (He really is very good-looking – she’s got good taste.)

  • ‘Cita

    She looks like she’s chomping on his front paw in the last shot – I know. Perspective.

  • So it’s….

    Puppy Love?