1. SWEET-AS-A-STUFFED-ANIMAL FACE: I mean, seriously. Look at those eyes and those brows … And that shiny button nose!! I could just eat her right up. I know, Maggie has an obnoxious dog mom. Whatever!
2. A WEIRD MOUTH: She has what we like to refer to as a snaggle tooth, that pokes out ever so often when you move the hair out of the way (or when she’s lying on her back). She also has weird, leather-like black lips (often also hidden by her plethora of hair. This is where the name “black lipped beauty queen” is derived, hahaha) …
3. THE “BACKSIDE”: She came to us with a “nubbin”, not a tail … And it’s the size of a small potato with a life of its own. It’s like a second creature. Sometimes we talk to make it move, or … When really bored and faced with temptation during long car trips, the below happens.
4. SPINDLES (LEGS): Maggie has these spindly legs that look so fragile compared to her torso and, truth be told, I’m obsessed with her grinch-like back legs because they look like a mix between The Grinch and a large rabbit. I’m also in love with her paws; they smell kind of like day old popcorn. Seriously!! And they levitate at odd times when there is a really interesting smell (i.e. she often lifts one paw and it hangs in midair until she is ready to move forward on her walk).
5. BED FACE (RATHER THAN BED HEAD): Her post-nap face is always a little different, depending on several factors (e.g. sleeping position, wet or dry, length of nap, etc.). It never fails to be entertaining, watching her rise and being privy to her often lopsided, bad face-hair awakenings.
6. SMELL: Maggie doesn’t have that “dog” smell, and even when wet it is very mild. I believe this is because mini schnauzers don’t shed (yay!) For this reason, and because I’m crazy, I love to smell the top of her head … There’s this one spot. It’s perfect. I’m weird.
7. HUMAN-LIKE POSTURING: Not much explanation needed here. Maggie sits like a person when she isn’t walking or lying or curled in a ball. She likes to have her belly scratched as well, but definitely tends to sit upright, next to us on the couch, or in bed during conversations, or TV time.
8. MY FRIEND, MY CONFIDANTE: As you can see, she is a fantastic listener. She is equipped with many important “I’m showing you I’m listening” skills – for example, empathetic head tilt, unwavering eye contact, sometimes even a supportive paw on hand touch. You can’t teach these skills; she’s a born counsellor! She knows all of my secrets and as far as I am aware, hasn’t told a soul. Or she’s told all her dog park friendies and I’m now an embarrassment. Either way, I’ll keep sharing with her and she will continue to make my work from home days that much less lonely!
9. DEFLATION: I’ll never get tired of listening to her little lungs deflate, letting out air (like a long sigh) every time she is getting relaxed. Like a balloon quietly emptying, it’s quiet and consistent. I get a sense of comfort in hearing that noise …
10. FORT TIME: So, I’m really mature. Ryan and I like to invite Maggie into the “fort” by lifting up the bed covers and having her jump in. She then stretches herself out or curls up, and falls asleep. Sometimes with her head so far under the duvet that I’ve had to check if she is breathing when we all wake up again! By check, I mean poke her several times and squeeze her paws until she lifts her bed face and turns to me with a grumpy but unconditionally loving glare.
Oh, and lately … Maggie’s become as intrigued and in love with herself as we seem to be. She sits quietly and stares at herself in my office mirror:
Our dog, Maggie, is part of our family – not just a pet – as any dog parent would understand. She is really a partner, friend, “little person” – but she is also an animal, a creature … With her own likes, dislikes and personality. It becomes clear that your dog is so much more than a “purchase” or fulfillment of that childhood dream of having or “owning” a pup. Just like (I would hope) the novelty of having a child never “wears off” – nor does the novelty of having a dog. The relationship is ever-changing as the two, three (or more) of you grow and change together. When you invest in a dog, with money and time and love, you are doing so much more than indulging a desire to be a “pet owner” … you are building a family.
EDIT: By the way, Maggie’s nicknames at present are (she is just turning two on Feb 14, 2014 so I imagine there will be many more to come over the years): Maggie-bear, Maggie-boo, Noodle, Noodle-bear, Schnoodle-noodle, Boozle, Boozle-bear, Sweet Pea, Little Runt, Weirdo, Black-lipped beauty queen, Leather lips, Snaggle-tooth, Magaroo, Boo-boo. In summary: Poor, poor, Maggie …