I’ve become that lady.
The one who sits on her front steps, waiting for people to walk by, so I can charmingly plead … or beg … to pet their companion pups.
Yes, I’ve become the Crazy Dog Lady of Page Street.
Ever since sending our two gorgeous dachshunds over the Rainbow Bridge in the past year, (what a sweet phrase for such a sour event), I’ve missed the warmth of furry bodies cuddling into mine more than I can explain. My darling husband, Peter, as adorable as he is, is simply too big to sit on my lap, though he does love it when I scratch behind his ears.
But seriously, I’ve been in a peculiar mourning ever since putting 18-year-old Sally and then Cyrano to sleep, and no matter how convenient it is not to have to walk them, or soak up the pee of their aged incontinence, and worry about their health, I still yearn for them. Yes, I am getting more solid sleep throughout the night, but still, I miss those wet, sloppy dog kisses.
So I have become a bit of a pickup whore for whatever dogs cross my path. Their owners marvel at how much I do not mind when their dogs lick my face, into my nose, my ears, across my smiling lips, licking all the wistful grief off my sad visage. I welcome their moist kisses because I have been doggie-kiss deprived to an alarming degree.
I am grateful for all the stranger displays of affection, and feel I must give something back.
So for this 2017 holiday season, I am going to establish a Front Porch Doggie Holiday Treat Station. And it will be wondrous!
Here’s my plan:
Our stoop will be festooned with all the bright doggie string lights I can find — I am sure there are tons, in all manner of shapes and colors (let me know if you see any particularly dachshund-shaped ones) — and I’ll keep them warmly blazing night and day. There will be other ornaments, to do with all breeds, decorating our front door, and I am contemplating a Milk Bone wreath, interspersed with ribbons of natural rawhide. On the last day of Christmas, I shall sacrifice the edible wreath to all passing dogs. Come one, come all!
Sitting with my fresh cup of coffee and cream (my little Sally used to love a sip or two of my morning brew), I shall have with me on the porch a supply of warm apple cider, perhaps, and fresh water for the passing pups in gracious, holiday ceramic bowls. And a pile of small, sweet pet chews. I shall also bake them fresh and decorated cookies — no chocolate, of course, no raisins, just good doggie-friendly ingredients, and they will be delectable. Irresistible, even. That is, if their owners will allow me to give their dogs treats (maybe I should have some human cookies too. That might help the entire enterprise.)
Finally, there shall be presents!
Closer to Christmas Day, that’ll be me leaving the Pets Unlimited store nearby, with a large bag slung over my shoulder filled with all manner of toys. Yes, I will look like some demented, grey-haired Jewish Santa woman, but I will have a delirious smile on my face because I know how much my dog friends will enjoy ripping the festive paper off each toy I wrap, and once they get inside the cunning packages, they will squeak, and chime, and honk, and blast, jingle, screech, click, and make moo sounds as they spring off down the street. I will have done my job, returning the sweet favors of so many new acquaintances.
For as long as I’ve lived in this fair town, and away from the December snowy avenues of New York City, I’ve been grateful that San Francisco dogs don’t have piles of yellowing and dirty ice to walk through. Both the snow and the salt used to get rid of it are so painful for their little feet. One year, I remember all too well we purchased red rubber booties for Sally and Cyrano so we could parade them over the icy hills and dales of Upper Manhattan. Well, not only did they look ridiculous, but they hated the feel of the boots so much, and it looked like the small dogs were attempting to ice skate up Broadway, shaking their legs and toes behind them and out to the sides.
I won’t give any snow boots as gifts to my neighbor dogs.
Like any human kid, I imagine they’d be disappointed to rip open a wrapped gift and find anything to put on their feet — they want toys.
And, if the Crazy Dog Lady of Page Street has her way, they will have them.
Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and cozy Kwanzaa to all.
And to all a good woof!