Thursday, 23 February 2017

Me and My Dog, Two Peas in a Pod

I can’t ignore it any longer. Me and my dog, we’re two peas in a pod. I am Olive. Olive is me.

It’s a well-known phenomenon that people and their dogs often look alike. There have been studies done. Real, live, sensible studies with proper funding. And, of course, there have been articles written, photos snapped. Just take a quick click HERE.

Are you back? Have you had a little look at yourself and your own dog, side-by-side in the bathroom mirror? Any surprises?

Thirty years ago, I was on a student exchange in the USA when I met the owner-dog look-alike of the century. The woman’s name was Hilary. (Not really. I’ve changed her name for privacy reasons.) The dog’s name was Meatball. (Really! I can’t bring myself to change his name for privacy reasons. It suited him perfectly!)

Let me just say, right here and now, that Hilary was a lovely woman - kind, warm, creative and hospitable. The fact that she was not attractive in a conventional way is no reflection upon her inner beauty or her sterling qualities as a hostess. It is merely to illustrate my point. Hilary was short and hefty of build. Her skin was very fair and her almost-white hair was closely cropped. Her eyes, large and friendly, sat wide apart and protruded a little.

No sooner had I arrived  and been warmly welcomed, than Hilary hollered at the top of her lungs, ‘MEATBALL!  MEATBALL! COME ON IN AND MEET OUR GUEST, MEATBALL!’

And Meatball came.

Meatball was a white bull terrier - short and hefty of build, with large, friendly, wide-set eyes that protruded a little.

I looked from Meatball to Hilary.

I looked from Hilary to Meatball.

I patted Meatball and decided to close my gaping mouth and keep my astonishment to myself. 

However, I digress. Because, in the case of me and Olive being two peas in a pod, I am not talking about looks. Olive is little and black and as skinny as a bean pole. I’m  tall and fair and - as my husband puts it so kindly - big-boned. I’d be chuffed if my appearance was more like that of my dog. It’d be fun to see my ribs beneath my skin … to have a trim, taut stomach that curved inwards rather than outwards … to have glutes so firm you could bounce a squash ball off them. But that’s Olive, not me. My physique is more Labrador than whippet. 

What I’m talking about is personality. Olive and I have become so much alike that it scares me ...and sort of thrills me! It's complicated.

First of all, Olive is not a morning dog. I have never been a morning dog - er,  person. I am a sit-up-late-at-night-then-sleep-until-mid-morning-person.  Olive gets it. She digs the late rise. So much so that, nowadays, she snuggles down into the blankets long after I’m up. On the rare occasions that my schedule demands an early morning rise, Olive is not amused. She stares down her nose at me with enormous contempt then goes back to sleep. 
'Leave me alooooone! It's too early!'

And then there’s the dark. Olive is freaked by it. I’m scared of the dark, too. And Olive fuels my fear. She regularly wakes at 1.30 am, slinks into the hallway, raises her hackles and snarls into the black unknown. I, of course, believe that my worst fears have materialised. There’s an intruder! This time there really truly is! Just look at the way the dog’s behaving!  Needless to say, Olive’s nightly routine does nothing to quell my fear of the dark.

Olive loves swimming. I love swimming. As long as the air’s warm. Our last whippet hated water but Olive will take a dip as long as there’s not a shower head or shampoo involved. We both adore the beach! 
Post-swim soggy doggy.

Olive and me, loving the beach together.

Olive loves it when friends visit. I also love my friends to visit. I walk out onto the veranda to greet my guests, voice high-pitched and loud, arms stretched out for a hug. Olive runs around in circles and does an excited little tinkle on their feet. It’s not quite the same thing, I know, but there is shared joy in spending time with the special people in our lives.

Exercise does not come naturally to Olive. What can I say, but ditto? I make myself go for a walk and lift weights every day, but it’s an effort. And now I am burdened with owning a dog who would rather slouch on the couch than sniff the footpaths and lampposts of the neighbourhood. 
Dogs are meant to inspire you to walk! Whippets are supposed to be runners! Not mini-me. 

Some days I have to drag Olive outside.  Some days she comes willingly, but then, two blocks along, she nudges my leg and gives me that look that means, ‘Enough. It's too hot. Let’s go home and have a treat.’ And sometimes, I’m ashamed to say, we do!
And so there you have it. Olive and me - two peas in a pod. We are the friendly, light-loving lounge lizards of the owner-dog world.

How are you and your dog alike?

Oh my goodness! I was just about to post this when I realised how similar my nose is to Olive's - long and thin!!!! I'm Whippet Woman!


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