It's official. If my regular bouts of crankiness haven't yet earned me the karmic award of returning to earth as a larvae, I'm coming back as a golden retriever.
"What a beautiful dog!"
No doubt about that. Leggy, lanky and blond, she might give any Sports Illustrated Model a run for her money if it weren't for an overabundance of hair.
"What a lovely face-it looks like she's smiling."
She is the canine Cameron Diaz with an ear to ear elastic grin. By the way, you'd be smiling too if you had someone at the ready to pick up your poop with a Ziploc bag.
"Her fur is so soft; you must spend an awful lot of time brushing her."
That's right- I am Rapunzel's lady-in-waiting with a brush surgically incised to my hand. No matt would even consider forming in my presence; burrs run screaming at the mention of my name.
Truth be told, Grace is pretty much a wash and wear gal. Aside from her monthly after-bath brushing and a hindquarter trim to avoid the unsightly "saggy butt" look, she's on her own.
"She's so well behaved"
Admittedly, at times Gracie makes me look like the dog whisperer's prize pupil. She is sweet, affectionate and well practiced in focusing her attention on a new acquaintance. By accident or by design, she conceals the counter-surfing juggernaut who would happily snatch a donut out of the hand of a sleeping old man.
"Look-she really likes me!"
Please pardon the roar of bursting bubbles, but she likes everyone. She couldn't care less if the hand stroking her head is attached to King Kong, Godzilla, or the Son of Sam.
"You're so lucky to have her."
Wisecracking cynicism aside, I know I am. No one on the planet will ever be so happy to see me when I come home. She rarely turns down an invitation and always pays her way in good will. Who can blame me for giving in to jealousy? Compliments are showered upon her and she can accept a public body massage without fear of sexual harrassment. The moment is hers as she grabs it and hangs on for a good time ride.
Trust me- next time around, I'm going to be on the other side of the leash.
Photo: Gracie chills out after enduring hardcore petting sessions during her hike to the falls at Bash Bish Falls State Park in southwestern Massachusetts.
Originally from Pennsylvania, I graduated from Penn State University with a degree in printmaking. And so I waitressed-first in my hometown and then at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. I now live in upstate New York with my husband and dog, play bluegrass music and work on my photography skills. I also spend inordinate amounts of time in the gym to ward off middle age as it nips me in the behind.