Fur The Love / by Dana Bergstrom

When we first got Lil’ Ray at 9 weeks old, nearly everyone said that he looked like a Jack Russell Terrier.

Although I managed to remain calm each time it was mentioned,

inside my brain,

I was blowing a fucking gasket.

Ya see, for my entire life I've had friends and neighbors with terriers and that entire time I've known that I would never, ever, EVER live with one.

I feel funny saying this and if you're one of my friends or neighbors with a terrier, please, hear me out.

I've enjoyed dog-sitting gigs and spending time with your adorable and hilarious pups, but I have certain ideas about what I want in a long-term, committed relationship.

Heck, I wouldn't choose a husband who wasn't cuddly or raced in the opposite direction every time I called his name while he's enjoying the freedom of the outdoors.

In my experience, terriers aren’t that snuggly and when they get focused on something, they rarely listen. They’re quirky and funny but ya gotta keep ‘em leashed or mostly confined at all times or something completely insane is gonna happen.

They’ll dig escape routes and run away laughing as you try to catch them.

They’ll pee on innocent people suntanning at the beach.

They’ll loudly bark at whoever walks in the house for 30 minutes straight.

These are things I want to avoid.

This also goes to show that I’m a doggy racist.

I make unhelpful, sweeping assumptions about individual dogs based on breed tendencies, ya know, just like a regular human racist.

With Ray, we totally thought we were getting some kind of herding dog mix, but then my doggy racism kicked in and I got nervous when everybody started making RAY IS A FREEKIN' TERRIER comments.

If this was true, it would be a pretty great cosmic joke.

Welp.

As it turns out, Ray's a highly selective listener; he’s wildly anxious about anything new; he's territorial in the most hostile way; he’s less than thrilled about cuddling or being handled unless flat-out exhausted; he barks like mad at everyone and everything when he's outside; and if there's anything interesting underground he's voracious digger.

So we did a DNA test to see exactly what kind of beast we're living with.

The instructions stated we were to collect cells between the gum and teeth for 15 seconds with the two DNA cheek swabs provided in the kit.

Of course, feral, Lil' Ray naturally assumed we were trying to kill him with these new, q-tippy-like things and he kicked, screamed and brutally attacked them with a fierceness bordering on lunacy.  

Each one was in his mouth for less than one second before he mauled our fingers and then the swab, before spitting them out on our dog hair covered carpet. Then while putting the samples in the box to mail, I accidentally sneezed on 'em.

Gaaaaaaaahhhhh!

Well...at least they'll get somebody’s DNA.

I was sure the lab would tell us we didn’t get enough of Ray's cells

OR

they’d say that we have some kind of human-canine mutant breed and WE’D HAVE TO SURRENDER OURSELVES TO THE GOVERNMENT FOR HORRIBLE INVASIVE TESTING, JUST LIKE THEY DID TO E.T.!!!!

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

I WON’T GOOOOOOOOOO!

And, GOOD LUCK catching Crazy Ray, YA DIRTY FEDS!

Anyway, since it was gonna take 2-3 weeks before we got the results, which seemed like forever, and I didn’t want to spend the entire time fretting, I opted to come to terms with the fact that I could be living with a terrier.

The first positive step towards accepting my new life was coming across this Boston Terrier sweatshirt at the thrift store.

I laughed the second I saw it and immediately knew it'd help me embrace the idea of rooming with a terrier for the next 15 or so years.

I love it and it's super cute and I will wear it and be happy no matter what the test results say!

Weird shirts are now one of my favorite things.

I got this sweatshirt after Pauly and I were called Righteous Partiers.

It cheers me up every time I put it on.

Anyway, I now have loads of ridiculous, thrift store tops.

I don't even speak French!

So...back to Ray.

We got his test results and it turns out he’s mostly a mix of herding type dogs but he does have 25% of mixed breeds that are unknown.

Which means he could totally have terrier in him.

And ya know what?

I’m cool with that because the very instant I laid eyes on Ray and held him in my arms, I knew this dog was gonna be all about UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.

Not his unconditional love of me, but mine of him.

So here I am, in my strange shirts, releasing resistance to all things terrier and letting go of my doggy racism.

I’m gonna learn whatever our wild and feisty, tiny guru plans to teach me about loving unconditionally.

And that’s why I’m here on planet Earth anyway…

fur the LOVE!