I'm not a big dog person. I don't dislike dogs, necessarily, but I don't really seek them out either. This does not, however, prevent my entire neighborhood's crew of canis familiaris from seeking me out.
For example, there is a strange little mutt living across the street who bears a striking resemblance to a warthog. I do not know this dog's name, but I refer to him as "Nasty Warthog Dog (NWD)." NWD apparently keeps a vigilant watch on my front door, as he always seems to know when I'm heading out for a stroll. He'll race out into the street when he sees me emerge from my driveway pushing a stroller, then follow along behind me for a while, bumping the back of my legs with his wet snout. He then proceeds to spend the rest of our miles spent together wandering irresponsibly in front of oncoming traffic and nipping irritably at the heels of passing bicyclists. Nasty Dog instills in me a strong desire to acquire one of those three-sided triangular signs they post on the top of driver's ed vehicles, paint on it the words, "THIS RUDE LITTLE WARTHOG DOES NOT BELONG TO ME," and attach it to my head. I recently tried to photograph NWD for the purposes of this blog post, but every single time I pulled out my camera, he would turn tail and run.
Perhaps I should introduce to you to our neighbor's crazy dog, Dakota, an 8-year-old Noundland-Collie mix with the all the neediness and hyperactivity of an 8-month-old Dalmation. I've been babysitting Dakota this week while her owners attend a family reunion. And to be honest, I usually quite like her--when she stays at home. Unfortunately, she's realized that I'm her caretaker for the week and so has followed me to my house and parked herself outside my bedroom window. She curls up in the grass and pretends to sleep, but every time I so much as turn over in bed, she perks up, shoves her big soggy nose against the screen, and whimpers. Leaving the house means that I risk incurring multiple lickings to both myself and my child. A deflated lime-green volleyball has been relocated to front yard. Our visitors (and my dad) are now greeted by vigorous barking. Again, I would really like to acquire a sign absolving myself of responsibility for this uninvited visitor's bad behavior. It could say something like, "THIS DOG DOES NOT BELONG HERE. WE DID NOT ASK HER HERE. PLEASE DO NOT HOLD US RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY BARKING, JUMPING, OR OTHER MISCELLANEOUS ACTS OF WOLFISH ANTAGONISM DIRECTED TOWARD YOU."
And this is not to mention all of my friendly neighborhood dog acquaintances, like Duke and Daisy, the golden lab couple who lives on the corner and are currently "trying" to get pregnant; Shaggy White Dog, who will walk for miles without question; Retired Police Dog, who has a limp that will break your heart; and NWD's little friend, Dumb Dog, who always barks, no matter how often he has accompanied you on a pleasant morning stroll.