I just noticed that I have been bitching up a storm as of late. So in effort to write something on a more positive note, I’m going to go all Hallmark on your ass and write about something that always makes me smile… my dog.

This is Salome although, she’ll answer to any one of her million nicknames like: stinky, punkin’ pie, little face, baby girl, slobber-monster and puppy dawg. She is a 125 pounds of slobbering hell. Enemy to squirrels, cat burglars, and chihuahuas everywhere. She is my girl. She is my love. And I like her better than I like most people.

Salome is close to her 11th birthday. Somewhat unheard of for her breed where the average shelf life is about 7 to 9 years. But she’s still hell on wheels, so for that, I am grateful.

She is the most kind, most loving, most hilarious, and criminally minded person I have ever known. She does everything on her terms and this is not due to lack of training. In fact, I have paid countless money on her training. At her size, with a 1500 lbs. of pressure in her jaws, she’s too big, strong and scary not to obey. Plus, in her younger days, she used to jump fences like a gazelle. You’ve never seen anything so scary until you’ve seen 125 pounds of animal flying over a gate to greet you when you get home.

Her exploits are many: she bit the finger off a guy trying to break into my house when she was a 1 (quite literally saving my life), jumped out of a two and half story window when she was 5 (the people of that town still talk about the “flying dog on High Street”), and used to go round for round with a bratty miniature horse on an island we used to live on, kicks to the head and all. Salome has probably cost me upwards of $10,000 in vet bills in her lifetime.

Until recently, she was eating 80 pounds of dog food a month, but survived a nearly fatal case of bloat when she was 8 and now is on a special diet for all eternity. A very expensive diet.

And when I say criminally minded, I do mean criminal. I remember buying her a jumble puzzle when she was two. This is a contraption where you place a treat in it, turn it once or twice, and the dog knocks it around to get the treat out. It is supposed to amuse them. So, I place the treat in the puzzle, turn it a few times, hand it to the dog, she turns it once, twice, presto…treat! I do it again. She repeats her success with easy effort. I do it third time, shaking the living hell out of this thing, hand it to the dog and she immediately crushes  it in her jaws, picks out the treat, and walks away.  

I often thought about placing her in a good military school, but I didn’t want to break her spirit. 

Salome’s in her twilight now. She has a good schedule: she sleeps, she slobbers, she eats, she slobbers some more, repeat. She has less patience for the young and ill-mannered dogs we have living in the nieghborhood and while she looks old and gray, trust me, break into my house and you will discover the meaning of “home security system”.

She reads me entirely. Yesterday, when I was bed-ridden for the entire day with a migraine, she pulled her bed across the room next to mine, propped her face up on the matress, and snored me to sleep.

My puppy.