• Jessica Vantiegham

The Mutt

5 Pounds of Bad Attitude and Good Looks

Much like giving birth to your baby, I remember everything about the day we went to pick up the mutt that would rule my world for over a decade and counting. My sister had grown jealous of my single, care-free life in Nashville and decided I needed a puppy. You know, something to put a solid halt to my booze filled nights out and gentlemen callers. LOL. That made me sound like a lady of the night. Not the case. Just a single girl in a big city. Judge away.

And like all stereotypical newborns…he cried...all night long...for a week...until I cried. Was this the end of my single gal life? Will this handful of fur with a huge mouth scare off every friend and family member that tried to visit me? Do puppy pounds still exist? Can you just leave him at the front door in a box or do you have to make an appointment so they can verify, in person, that you suck as a human being?

I decided to rough it out but I needed to name him. I had just finished Siddartha by Hermann Hesse for the fourth time and loved the name of the tree of enlightenment…Bodhi. I like that name…simple. Calming. Let’s go with that. And so the wailing furball became Bodhi. This is where I should mention that he is not enlightened or even just somewhat smart. He’s fairly dumb in all ways excluding manipulation…he’s a freakin’ artist in that particular trade. The only trick he knows is the word “cuddle” at which time he immediately flips on his back for you to rub his belly. Very one sided routine.

That being said...without a doubt, Bo was the best thing that happened to me. Legitimately. Yes, I love my man more than words. I would die for my frat boys (stepkids). I cherish my sister and her fam. My friends are my world. But this mutt…. he’s the Tits McGee (see other blog for reference).

Bodhi has taught me how to be responsible, on the daily, for another entity without killing it. He’s been my ride or die longer than any other male being in my life. He’s hung out with me in bed on bad days. Not barking one ruff but giving me a lil lick every now and then as a reminder to feed him in between commercial breaks. He gave me a reason to hang out in Petsmart without looking like a creepy dog napper. He fell in love with my husband before I even did and literally cries with excitement when our Frat Boys come home to visit. He’s a Home Depot mascot and a Starbucks pup cup junkie. And he’s always up for a nap. Is he your typical dog that can run around the block with you or sic on command? Nope. At best, he's a sporadic alarm system...barking at anyone who dares enter or exit thru the doors.

His age is starting to show now. He sometimes falls over when he potties because he loses his balance. He doesn’t hop high enough for his belly to clear the step to the back door and then gets lodged like a beached whale. His breath constantly smells like he just feasted on a rat that has been dead for weeks. He sometimes forgets why he was barking at all. It happens. He’s getting older. We all are. Every time he does something to remind us that he's loosing a lil of his spunk, he gets an extra hug or treat. Cuz, when that mutt kicks the bucket…my husband, kids, friends and sister better have a plan in place. It will be DEFCON 1 in the Vantiegham household. It will not be pretty.

I remember telling this sweet elderly lady once that Bodhi sure was cute but virtually useless as a dog. Her response summed it up so perfectly that I think about it often: “Oh, but I can see that he brings so much joy to you and everyone he meets. What better use could anyone possibly have?”

Yes ma’am. You are completely right. What better use could anyone possibly have?

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