Although I took the Wal-Mart Vow*, it never occurred to me that I’d need to take a similar oath about a small dog, particularly since I’ve always disdained them. I like what I call “real” dogs, such as German Shepherds and Retrievers.
Although I’ve seen a number of small dogs during my Big Adventure, I’m able to identify only two breeds: Chihuahuas and Pugs. When I was a young girl, a neighbor in Chicago had a Chihuahua who barked his stupid head off when we kids passed going to and coming from school. It was around this time I formulated the theory that although they function socially, women with Chihuahuas are odder than your average bear. My belief was borne out recently when a woman in a group I camped with took her four (!) Chihuahuas out for a walk.
I’m also familiar with toy poodles but they, too, come with baggage. My girlfriend’s mother had one. The dog belonged to and was beloved by not my girlfriend, not her family, but by her mother. At age 12 I understood that her mother paid far more attention to the dog than to my friend and, in fact, her mother seemed to love the dog more than her. How can I possibly get a poodle with such memories?
Pam, pardon my prejudice, but I just don’t like the look of Pugs. If a lot of recommendations start coming in for Pugs, I suppose I could buy one, but I could live with myself only if I named it “Butt Ugly.”
I see a number of advantages to having a small dog. First and foremost is the companionship. I wish I could resist becoming the stereotypical single woman RV’er with a small dog, but hey – a few years ago I gave into being the old lady with two cats. One unanticipated side effect was that I had to upsize from a twin bed to a double bed. There simply wasn’t enough room for the two of them and me. BTW, the reason I got two cats was so they could keep each company while I was at work. Turns out they spent that time napping. Which a single cat could have done alone and at half the price of upkeep. Oh well. Live and learn – something I’m doing a lot of these days.
Back to good reasons for a dog: Taking a dog for a walk would encourage (translation: force) me to meet my neighbors, all of whom would be out walking their dogs around the same time. When I’m driving or working, having a dog means taking more breaks. As for a dog inhibiting my time away from the RV to explore, it wouldn’t really matter since I plan to go with others I’ve met from walking the dog and they, too, would be on the same schedule.
Perhaps the most convincing reason for getting a small dog was presented to me quite inadvertently by a widow I met through LOW-NOR (Loners on Wheels – Northern California chapter). She considered herself the last person who would ever get a little dog. Having met her, I would agree. Nevertheless, get a little dog she did. It was apparent she was happy with her decision and she urged me to succumb.
So here’s where I need your help. I know nothing about small dogs. I would greatly appreciate any recommendations you may have. Sharing such a small space with an animal, my criteria are that it doesn’t shed excessively (I’m thinking about our German Shepherd, Skippy, here); won’t leave the RV smelling excessively of dog (Skippy here again, on a wet day); and can go without grooming.
And here’s a new vow: I will never dress this little dog – no exceptions, not even Halloween – nor will I carry it in a purse.
* The Wal-Mart Vow is to never spend a night in the store’s parking lot.