LEARNING TO LOVE: DOGS

It’s come to my attention, probably far too late in my little life, that I am slightly judgemental and full of hatred. It’s never bothered me so much, but honestly, I am far too self-obsessed to have such an ugly flaw latching onto my aura. And look, this hasn’t been an overnight thing either. Looking back (particularly to year  11 when I was a Grade A hormonal bitch), there were warning signs.

I hated my home economics teacher with every fibre of my being, and as a result it became my favourite class. I hated the boy I got with at sloppy weekend parties, I hated doing anything involving maths and big hills, and I definitely still hated the guy who called me a loser at Splash Water Park just because I couldn’t take my goggles off on land (they were prescription, I have horrible eyesight). Yes – hatred fills me up, and easily so. I make snap judgements of people I barely know, activities I don’t give a chance, and heck, even animals. 

To combat this behavioural blemish , I have decided to embark on a journey of pushing myself beyond my limits to reach some sort of self-discovery emotional triumph, yada yada. Welcome to Learning to Love, with me – Maddy Morwood. 

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In this week’s Learning to Love, the theme is dogs. Yes, I am going to learn to love dogs. If you know me well, you’ll know that  this has been brewing for some time (last week, my brother called me psychotic, although, in my defense, he used to despise poodles). If you don’t; please don’t hate me. I know dogs are like the world’s national treasure or whatever, but c’mon. They’re no horses. 

For years now, the struggle  to form the emotional connection to dogs that apparently everyone else seems to have has tormented me. I can’t swipe through a single Tinder profile without spotting a dog pic (seriously, that is not going to impress me Peter xx), and don’t even get me started on New Farm fucking Park – it’s Area 51 but instead of aliens, it’s purebred dogs. 

It’s a relief to finally air out years of repressed confusion — like a good fart at the end of a date. I. just. don’t. love. dogs. 

Like a lot of things in my life, I think this whole dog thing stems from my childhood (we won’t dig too deep into this, for both our benefits). I campaigned for a dog (who would obviously be named Poppy) for years, and was always met with an “eh, we don’t have a fence.” But, one day, my parents surprised me with  rescue guinea pigs (weird flex guys, apparently they’d found them in a gutter – I know, red flag). They already came with names – Roger and Scoobie – and I loved them to pieces. The dogless hole in my heart had been filled, and I was loving life. Poppy was a distant memory. 

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. I soon noticed some beef had arisen between Roger and Scoobie. Ever the mediator (anyone who knows me as a stubborn shit now – fuck off this is my story) I tried to resolve the rift in their friendship with  some harmless garden play, but 11-year-old me could smell a rat. Then, the unthinkable happened. Roger bit off Scoobie’s ear, and he died. Yes, you read that correctly. He was dead within the hour. Roger followed a week later. I think it was the guilt that took him. After that, I swore off pets. Fuck guinea pigs. If an animal that small can be that malicious, imagine what a dog could do.

That was that. I wasn’t going to let anyone in, especially dogs. And I was quite content with this – until recently, when I got to thinking about this column, and how much of a bitch I’ve become. Mallrat’s latest  release, Charlie, didn’t help.

She sings about how Charlie, her faithful canine companion, waits in the rain for her to get home. All of a sudden I was sad. I don’t have a dog waiting in the rain for me to get home. Heck, I walked home from the train station in the dark last week expecting a search party, only to find my brother and friend sitting on my couch, eating a spinach and feta pull-apart completely unbothered that I almost died on the streets of Mitchelton. But maybe if I had a Charlie of my own and I loved it and it loved me back, I would have someone waiting in the rain for me. 

I couldn’t help but wonder… am I the real animal? Because if I am, I don’t want to be. I want a dog, and I want to call it Poppy, and I want to love her and take her for walks through New Farm fucking Park with other dedicated dog mums. So, here we are. I tried really hard to like dogs this week – for young me, for present me, and for all my friends who definitely hate this side of me. 

Dog things I’ve done this week:

  • Went on a park run with Peggy, my friend’s dog who scares me a little bit. 

Dedication to dog: 2/10. Very little. I actually ran ahead.
Respect to dog: 9/10. Peggy was awesome on the park run, can really hold her own (from what I could see as I passed her). 
Love to dog: 8/10. I do love this weird dog, even though my friend and her entire family thinks I don’t. My love grew for Peggy throughout this run as her owner is moving to Ireland and it slowly dawned on me that Peggy is the closest thing left behind in Brisbane of her. 

  • Hung out with a dog at a 21st.

Dedication to dog: 6/10. My initial efforts were sincere, but I quickly got distracted by all the free wine. 
Respect to dog: 7/10. This dog really wasn’t anything amazing. I never understand why girls go nuts when they see dogs at parties. 
Love to dog: 7/10. Hmm. This dog was disappointing. I wasn’t giving it much, and it wasn’t giving much back. Props to it, in fairness. 

  • I went to a friends house, at NEW FARM, and interacted with her dogs. 

Dedication to dog: 8.5/10. She actually has two dogs, one of which has autism, and I petted them both for ages.
Respect to dog: 9/10. These dogs lead the best life, and are very well behaved. Even the one with autism. 
Love to dog: 9/10. I will admit I get around these dogs. The girl that owns them is probably one of the best people I’ve met, so I’m not surprised. 

  • I re-watched the Derry Girls episode about a dog twice

Dedication to dog: 1/10. This was a last ditch effort. Conveniently I was already watching the season again, so. Don’t be impressed. 
Respect to dog: 10/10. I have massive respect for this dog. It peed on that statue and made God cry.
Love to dog: 2/10. Although I think it’s cool, I have zero emotional attachment to Erin’s dog. I couldn’t touch it. 

THE FINAL REVIEW:

“I think I’m learning to love dogs…”

☆☆☆☆ 15 August 2019. Maddy Morwood. 
This week has taught me a lot about dogs. Just like people, some are better than others. Some shit on you. Some make you feel welcome in their home. Some have autism. But also just like people, they should all be given a chance to impress you. 

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