Wednesday, December 28, 2011


To anyone who’s seen the movie Wedding Crashers, the phrase “Stage 5 Clinger” may evoke images of a redhead with an irritating laugh who desperately throws herself at single men.  But I’m here to argue that as far as human-canine relationships go, a clingy dog is not such a bad thing.

Lately, it’s as if Izzy senses that her time as our “only child” is coming to an end.  And she’s right—only three months to go until Baby G arrives!  If dogs can sense that a storm is coming or that danger is nearby, surely they should be able to pick up on changes in the mother somewhere along the 9-month journey of pregnancy, whether it’s her growing belly or the scent of increased hormones (I have no idea if hormones have a scent, but if they do, dogs would be able to smell them, right?).  At any rate, I believe Izzy has picked up on something because she’s turned into a Stage 5 Clinger.

Loyalty is a trademark characteristic of all dogs, but greyhounds are known for getting fiercely attached to their human companions.  Izzy has always been a typical grey in this way—sticking close to our sides at the dog park and often following us from room to room as we go about our daily business at home.  But lately, Izzy spends most of our nights together imitating Velcro—the really sticky kind.  The fact that she doesn’t wear a collar around the house increases the eeriness of this behavior; she turns into Shadow Dog who silently appears by our side as we chop an onion in the kitchen, fold laundry in the bedroom, eat dinner at the table.  To reference another movie here, she reminds me of the creepy butler in Mr. Deeds who simply appears in each scene and says things like, “I am very, very sneaky,” in a thick Transylvanian accent.  Except that when Izzy does it, it’s adorable.  Whether her ears are sweetly tucked back in submission or perked up in curiosity, it’s always clear that she just can’t get enough of her people.
In a few short months, all of our lives, including Izzy’s, will change in an irreversible way.  There’s no doubt in my mind that our canine companion has figured this out and is trying to make the most of our days together—the “way things were.”  Thankfully, this hasn’t translated into annoying antics that drive us crazy.  For Izzy, it has simply meant quietly demonstrating her unconditional love for us on a daily basis.  I’m sure I can’t fathom the kind of love we’re about to have for our baby, but I’m also sure that this love won’t always be reciprocated (especially if he/she is anything like me during my teenage years!).  In those moments, I’m sure it will be nice to have a Stage 5 Clinger around, validating the worth of our existence... even if it is in the form of a dog.

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