The Six Words You Should Never Say Out Loud (Unless You Want People to Hate You)

There are many six-word strings that will make you the scourge of the earth in my mind. Some examples:

But, the six words you should NEVER … EVER … NEVER say, unless you want people to think you are a numero uno cold-hearted bitch (which I am; I just don’t want people to think I am) are:

I am not a dog person.

For my entire life, I’ve loved — and had — dogs. I would say “owned,” but people who have dogs are crazy about saying you “own” a dog. So: I’ve had dogs. Since age five? I guess as long as I’ve lived in the suburbs. Long enough that we used to say we OWNED a dog.

Here is a list of all my dogs and a short story about each one:

PUDDY: First childhood dog. Bit my 3 year-old brother in the neck. Lucky he didn’t kill my brother. End of first dog story. And, if this isn’t already obvious, end of Puddy.

Max is third from the left.

MAX: Four year-old Golden Retriever, adopted in 1972 from our neighbor Mr. Forsythe, who was getting divorced and couldn’t take care of a dog solo. Max was awesome and sweet, unless he was fighting with another neighbor’s dog — Barney — then he was a hot asshole. Max lived at a time when you went to the grocery store, bought his food, he got fat and then died at age twelve, which — in my opinion — IS PLENTY OF YEARS TO HAVE A DOG.

LOUIE: The first in a series of crazy ass father fucking dogs I’ve adopted. Louie (whose first family named him after Lou Duva, the famous Rhode Island boxing coach) was also the unwanted dog of divorce and came to me when I was newly graduated from college and owned a pickup truck. I wanted nothing more as a young adult than to have a dog, drive it around in my truck and take it swimming in the ocean in Rhode Island and hiking in Vermont. This is what happened when I took Louie swimming: he would sit on the beach while I swam and BARK AT ME THE ENTIRE TIME BECAUSE HE WAS SO NEUROTIC AND COULDN’T BE SEPARATED BUT ALSO WOULD NOT GET IN THE WATER (even though he could swim).

When I’d take him hiking, he would run away, find a porcupine, attack it, come back with quills stuck all over his face and then I would take him to the vet, have him anesthetized, have the quills pulled out and then I’d charge ONE GAGILLION DOLLARS to my first-ever credit card. I paid so much for quill removal that – on the seventh? Eighth? time — I just took the pliers, pulled out the quills and risked Louie’s bite. Why didn’t I just keep him on a leash when we hiked? Because I was a stupid twenty-three year old AND I THOUGHT HE WAS A DOG.

Oh yeah, he also killed a duck, a cat [1], a pigeon and a ground hog.

323696_10150545381322915_754706720_oAUSSIE: Crazy, neurotic adopted Australian Shepherd who came up to Vermont after spending eight months in a pound in West Virginia. The first thing I said when I saw her was: Ewwww … she’s so mangy! I thought mangy was just an expression. But Aussie actually had mange. Which meant she was practically bald and — from the get go — cost one gagillion dollars at the vet.

Aussie and Louie were buddies and they were with us when each of our children were born. Aussie was equally crazy, barked constantly, but so smart and incredibly sweet. If I was sleeping on a couch, she would wrap herself up in my legs and sleep with me. She never lunged or growled if I moved on top of her. (I forgot to tell you that about crazy Louie.)

At this time of dog ownership, buying super market food was frowned upon and we were buying expensive bags of dog food at a local farm feed store (Vermont!). Expensive dog food should have been a warning sign that the pet apocalypse was coming and that multiple aisles of big box stores would be dedicated to just dog food, including food made by the dad in Eight is Enough. In the end, I was feeding Aussie white rice and chicken, which she could barely eat. Her kidneys were failing and we had her euthanized. We’ve missed that dog ever since and have forgotten all of her crazy.

She did not kill any animals.

ROCKIE: The first time we met him, he rolled over on his back and exposed his tummy for petting. So sweet! Within 3 weeks, he pummeled and scratched — or possibly bit — a child who was playing football in our yard. NOTE: never adopt a dog on the side of a highway, because you’ll never be able to give the pet back, even if you are told you can.

A rare, non-biting moment.

Rockie constantly carried our shoes in his mouth and deposited them around the house. This was cute. For a little while. Then it was just a pain in the ass trying to hide the shoes and/or find the single one he’d taken. It took me 3+ months to find the right $1,000,0000,000,000,000.00 bag of food he could eat without barfing or getting diarrhea. He ultimately bit the mailman, the furniture repair guy, launched himself aggressively, on-leash, at multiple people while we were walking and revealed himself to be — yet another — crazy ass father fucking male dog.  We euthanized him so that he wouldn’t kill someone.


Now, if I were to suggest a pattern, it would be that adopted dogs have screwed up backgrounds and you take your chances. Also: adopted dogs require some discipline, which you are bad at when you are twenty-three and all you’ve ever had was a fat Golden Retriever. And, finally, adopted dogs that have been in THREE different homes HAVE BEEN IN THREE DIFFERENT HOMES FOR A REASON.

Many of our dogs have been referred to as “Velcro [tm] dogs.” burrsIf you are not familiar with the origins of Velcro, fun fact: the inventor was inspired by burrs that stick to your clothing when you brush up against them while walking. Burrs, as you may know, do not stick to your socks and then transfer onto another person’s sweatshirt. No, those things stick to you and only you and basically follow you everywhere you go AND THAT INCLUDES THE BATHROOM.

I can just hear you asking me, Why didn’t you just close and lock the bathroom door? Because then the dog would whine and wake up my napping kids and/or scratch the bathroom door until the paint peeled. That is not relaxing and everyone knows that you need to be RELAXED IN ORDER TO PEE.

In addition to being The Person the Dogs Followed Everywhere, I also bought all of those TEN GAGILLION DOLLAR bags of food, noted dates of purchase so I could predict the next food delivery date, bought and cooked the bland diet when the dogs got sick, bought the stuff to clean the throw up, brought the dogs to the vet for annual check-ups (another TEN GAGILLION, GAGILLION DOLLARS), brought the dogs to the vet Whenever Something Went Wrong, brushed the dogs, washed the dogs, washed the dog’s ears, bought the dogs’ beds (in the 1970s, dogs had a rug or a tile/wood floor AND THEY LIKED IT), bought leashes/collars/town tags, had the car that dogs would ride in, finagled various blankets/towels that could be placed over parts of the car to keep car from getting muddy (which never worked because it wasn’t a FITTED car seat cover OR — for that matter — the custom-sized “fence” that goes in your station wagon to keep the dog way in back ((I had an old Volvo and the air conditioning had failed; air conditioner failure is actually a FEATURE of owning an old Volvo. So — you cannot imprison the dog in the way back lest it die of HEAT STROKE))), cleaned the mud out of the car when the wet dogs went in it (okay, so I more “wiped” it than “cleaned” it; I only really cleaned my car – very thoroughly — once a year; but — as you can see — I’ve been pretty busy TAKING CARE OF THE FUCKING DOGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

If you do the math, I’ve had two GREAT dogs out of a total of five, and — one of those two — was cared for by my parents. So, really, that makes ONE great dog as an adult, which gives me a success rate of 20%. It was probably around the time I did the math that I finally realized that I was not a dog person.

Before we continue, please note that I am NOT a Cat Person. That is just going a little too far. Plus, I have a bad genetic history in this regard, so it is very important that I AVOID CATS.

Now, would you spend all that money and time doing all those things for a twenty percent dog success rate? Yes? Okay, what if your most recent dog was practically the Serial Killer of dogs? Still yes? Then — CONGRATULATIONS! — you are a Dog Person. Apparently, everyone else in MY family is a Dog Person, because they have decided to get a puppy (against my will).

Yes, my family has decided (did I mention this was against my will?) to buy a puppy and not a chill, dumb dog puppy (I see you, Yellow Lab!), but a hyper-breed puppy. How do I know the breed is hyper? BECAUSE WE’VE HAD TWO OF THEM AND THAT BREED ALONE RESULTED IN A 50% SUCCESS RATE.

I have explained to the family what responsibility I will take for the new dog and that is called zero, zilch, none, no way, no how.

The children have sworn to take care of Spazilla. I will be home with her (a her is my one requirement. No more male assholes) most of the day and I know the family is banking on me bonding — slash — caving and then taking responsibility for some (ALL) of its care.


This is a piglet we saw at a children’s petting zoo. It was 100% the cutest baby animal I have ever seen. But I don’t go around calling myself a Pig Person.

[1] I brought Louie home one weekend, only to be woken by my mom screaming, TOM IS DEAD! TOM IS DEAD! Yes, my dog killed one of my mom’s cats. Well, at least that was one less cat to fly less cat to fly to England.

7 thoughts on “The Six Words You Should Never Say Out Loud (Unless You Want People to Hate You)

    1. Hello! This will seem COMPLETELY random, but I was on my blog noticing that I had some unapproved comments and saw YOURS for the first time since you made it. I haven’t written in over a year, so thanks for the note and apologies for not seeing it sooner!

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