Embarassing Confessions of a Dogaholic

I am a dogaholic. It’s a chronic disorder characterized by dependence on and excessive obsession with dogs. Since 1987 my home has never had less than two dogs, and has sometimes had as many as six at a time. It begs the question: how many dogs are too many?  I decided long ago that as long as everybody has

me with Waldo

enough love, attention, food and vet care, the answer is: as many as my lifestyle and the square footage of my home can support. Sometimes that line gets a little bit blurred, but we manage.

Currently, there are five, and if my lifestyle and square footage would support it, there’d be about ten more. Those ten would probably be Jack Russells, because I don’t think there’s a funnier dog in the universe.

I love dogs. I love everything about them. Maybe even to the point of weirdness. (OK..definitely to the point of weirdness.)

You know that wet dog smell? Well, as long as the dog is clean, I kind of like that smell.

You know how some people won’t let their dog on the bed? Well, I don’t really feel right unless I have at least one dog on the bed with me. Preferably snuggled close. I don’t even mind sharing my pillow, as long as I’m sharing it with the right end of the dog. It feels so weird not sleeping with a dog on the bed, that one night I spent at my brother’s apartment, I actually asked him if I could borrow one of his dogs to sleep on my bed. I’ve been known to invite all five of our dogs onto my bed with me, and sleep very very soundly.

You know how some people are self-motivated to exercise? Well, I’m not. Luckily I have a big dog that forces me to walk him several times every day.  He literally will bark at me until I get my fat butt off the couch. I complain about the way he’s always nagging me, but the truth is that I’m grateful for his ambition.

Me and Lammy Lamb, sharing a secret.

You know how some people get grossed out because a dog licks them? Well, one of my dogs is an obsessive foot-licker, and since that’s the only foot massage I can get on any given day, it’s embarrassing to admit, but I don’t exactly discourage her when she’s licking my feet. It actually feels kind of great.

You know all those things your mom said to you when you were little? All the “Because I said so”s and the “Children are starving in China”s?  I say doggie versions of that stuff to my dogs. “What? You’re not gonna eat that? Don’t you know they EAT dogs in other countries?”  In fact, I talk to my dogs all the time; probably more than I talk to my spouse.

You know how some people tell their kids “Don’t kiss the dog!”?  Well, I kiss my dogs. I kiss their ears and their foreheads and their eyes and their muzzles and sometimes I even kiss their paws. It’s a little embarrassing, but Rocket Boy has such a cute mouth that sometimes I kiss him on his adorable little lips. And you know what? My dogs like to be kissed.

You know how some people can’t stand it when dogs bark? I don’t mind it so much, unless I’m trying to talk on the phone. Sometimes when they are barking, I actually try to whip them into a little more of a frenzy to see if I can get some howling going. Howling seems like the ultimate freedom to me. Plus, I like to tease them about whether or not they can make an “O” with their lips.

Every neighborhood I’ve ever lived in, I’ve known the

Four of the five.

dogs’ names before the peoples’ names. And now, when I think back to different times in my life, the dog names still come to mind: Gabriel, Dundy, MacGregor, Murphy, Cotton, Bandita, Freckles, Dawg, Lucy, Hershey, Foster, Dexter…but most of the humans’ names are much harder and sometimes downright impossible to excavate.

Dog-o-holism. Obsession. Addiction. Whatever you want to call it. I’m glad nobody has come up with a rehab for it.

About yelodoggie

Ariel C. Wulff is an author, artist and animal advocate. They have been involved in pet rescue for over twenty-five years. They have written two books about their true-life adventures living with an ever-changing house full of pets: Born Without a Tail, and Circling the Waggins, and a guide to animal advocacy using the Internet as a tool: How to Change the World in 30 Seconds". Wulff also wrote a pet column and book review column for the Examiner, and was a contributing editor for AnimalsVote.org. They attribute their love of animals to having been raised by Wulffs.
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11 Responses to Embarassing Confessions of a Dogaholic

  1. ouacstowohio says:

    Keep on writing and I shall keep on reading!! 🙂


  2. Judith says:

    I loved your post! Right out of my own life. I now have 7. Two rescued pits, two elderly dogs that I brought with me when my parents died within a year of each other, a rescued black lab who came to my house very pregnant and never left. We never did find out where she lived, and my standard poodle and little miniature poodle. So, I can identify with your antics. They sound like mine!


  3. nancy5vic says:

    Let me tell you, living with a non-dog-lover can be quite challenging! My spouse doesn’t even like the way a dog’s coat feels. Can you imagine? When I have a slow day, I could pet my dog for what seems like hours. Of course, it isn’t hours…but, what could be better? Maybe sitting outside with an ice cream cone while the pup licks the drippings…
    Just love your posts, cousin, they ALWAYS ring true.


  4. I’ve definitely got the feline version of this disease! LOL


  5. Wazeau says:

    Dare I admit I’m the same way but with cats and parrots! I afraid to adopt a dog because as you say, then I would be exercizing too, and I’m weird enough already.


  6. D says:

    We live parallel lives my friend. The best number of dogs for one household is…as many as you can handle without going crazy. My friend Tami and I spoke about this often, and the truth is for some it may be two and for someone else it may be twenty. It is whatever YOU can personally handle. There is no shame in saying, “I cannot handle one more dog and give the dog what he/she requires.” You have to do what is right for everyone. Oh, by the way, I’m saying this as a lead in to asking your readers to please consider fostering a pet in need. Volunteer at your local shelter, rescue group, or Dogs Deserve Better http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org. You give the dog a place to stay, love and food and they provided the vetting. Because of you another dog will be adopted (usually it is an average of 4 months fostering one dog) and freed from death in a pound, life in a cage, or in a pen.


  7. Gale says:

    Well, I don’t have but 2 dogs– the oldest is a 15 y/o male American Eskimo, and my recent adoption of a 3 y/o male Eskie/Pom. I can’t really care for any more than that because I’m disabled and on a fixed income. But, the one thing I do that most people don’t think about is finding a guardian for each of my dogs in case something happens to me. My veteranarian is guardian to my oldest Eskie. He agreed to it and I have Power of Attorney papers for him. One of the ladies who comes in to help me during the day (home health aide), has declared herself as guardian of the newest addition in the event something happens to me. I just feel like we do these kinds of things with our children in the event of an emergency, and I’m just as concerned about my “hairy children”, should I become unable to care for them. I really think it should become protocol for shelter adoptions to list an alternative caretaker of the animals being adopted out. It might even save a few from going to shelters when an owner becomes sick or dies? –Gale


  8. Gina V says:

    I love this! So true 🙂 We never had a dog before Whiskey. We got him a year and almost a half ago. Can you imagine being in your 30s and never having a dog? Well, that’s what happened to us. Now that he’s here I can hardly imagine how people can not love dogs the way I do. I think “everyone should have a dog! They’re the best things ever!!” He’s completely changed our lives. Thanks for writing this!!! I certainly understand the dog weirdness 🙂


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  10. hemp says:

    alone an estimated 5 million people–nearly 2 of the population–are bitten by dogs. These numbers however while alarming are not particularly shocking given that there are an estimated 65 million dogs in the U.S. What may be more surprising is that most dog bites are preventable if owners train and care for their dogs properly and if potential bite victims–that is to say nearly all of us–know how to behave around dogs.


  11. Pingback: Out to Lunch — Up on the Woof | Up on the Woof

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