An Old, Ugly, Cantankerous Mutt


On the day I retire,  I intend to stop by the animal shelter and walk out with the oldest, ugliest, most cantankerous mutt I can find.

I do not want an attractive dog. The very word attractive bothers me. It comes with too many expectations: like grooming,  food off the top shelf and staying indoors on muddy days; ugliness comes by itself.

As for congeniality, while it is good to have a friend, it is equally good to have a day off. It is hard enough to explain why I must go fishing alone to a spouse, why add a dog to the mix?

The same goes for lineage. Breeding is an affront to nature that both God and Darwin agree is bad. The best breeding is done for size, speed and strength, the worst is for fashion accessory. As a consequence, the hips of too many purebreds deteriorate prematurely, their teeth impact and their hair is a source of eye infections. All of these things happen because breeding is done to please something other than the dog.

Still, my motives for seeking an old, ugly, cantankerous mutt are beyond these things.
I want an old dog because I don’t want to scold a puppy for humping the house guests. Nor do I want to cultivate a relationship. I have been through all that. I want a mature dog, one who has been through all that too.

I want an ugly dog, who has no expectations. One who understands the practicalities of why I provide food, water and shelter. It must understand that in return for these things, neither love nor loyalty is required, only that he tolerates my bad habits and does not chew on my things.

I want a cantankerous mutt, one who is aware that our time will end and that when he is gone, I will find another old, ugly, cantankerous mutt to take his place and when that dog dies, I will find another until such time as those who love me will find for themselves another to fill the void of the old, ugly, cantankerous man who once occupied a place in their lives.

Author: Almost Iowa

8 thoughts on “An Old, Ugly, Cantankerous Mutt”

  1. Love this! And so true on the problems of breeding just for looks. I hate seeing bulldogs that can’t even breath due to their “cute, smooshie, faces,” etc. We adopted a canktaerous old dog once, and he never gave us a single reason to regret it.

    1. At first I wanted a bulldog. I liked their attitude then a forensic scientist I worked with showed me an x-ray of the way their jaws fit together. I was horrified. She then lectured me on Terriers, who were bred to murder things. That is what made me decide on a mutt.

      Scooter is definitely a mutt, it’s why I love him.

  2. I want a dog who looks deeply into my eyes and see that my soul sees his or her soul. Cantankerous wouldn’t work for me…it’s enough to deal with my own grouchy mate. But good luck with your retirement plans. Fun read.
    Jan Hersh

    1. You are onto something there, Jan. Pets do have a way of seeing into your soul. I suppose that is why we love them so much.

      At least for me, that is why cantankerous is the only thing that would work. Whatever is looking into my soul has got to have an attitude. 🙂

    1. Oh yeah, they do.

      When my wife tells me how cantankerous I am, I just blush, shuffle my feet and say, “Gosh, thanks”

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