Every dog has its own person. A dog may find comfort in anyone in a household, but there is always someone special to whom he is attracted. When my family welcomed Artie, our precious Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy, eight years ago, we were hoping that his special person would be my little brother. But this was not the case. Instead, Artie decided to hold on to my father, and over time his grip only tightened, much to my father’s horror.
My father is basically the human incarnation of Donkey Kong. He’s kind of a super villain – not that he’s a terrible person, but he has that aura around him that screams, “Don’t mess with me.” During the day he is a judge and at night he goes to his Jiu-Jitsu class and fights other men. He’s a macho guy. He’s Vegeta from Dragon Ball. He can be intimidating when you don’t know him (sometimes he’s even intimidating when you know him).
The guy loves animals, but a cute little dog with a heart pattern on its forehead doesn’t quite go with its aesthetic. One of our other dogs, a smart, standard male poodle, left Papa’s side when Artie passed by. The poodle clearly found Artie annoying and immature. To be honest he still is and my dad will tell you that he gets on my nerves.
Keyword: tell. He doesn’t necessarily show that.
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And yet there is this weird-looking dog who follows his every move.
He will tell you that he doesn’t want Artie to follow him. He will tell you that his loud snoring, loud breathing, and attachment are getting on his nerves. What he will show you, however, is that Artie is his little boy.
My father loves to ride his recumbent bike. He likes adding new parts to his bike, and a few years ago he added something really special to the back: a little red stroller. At the time, no one in our family was under fifteen. This was a really strange purchase to an outsider. It wasn’t for a human, however; it was for Artie.
After work, my extremely introverted father likes to have private time where nobody can disturb him. You’d think he’d want Artie to stay home while he enjoys the rest of his day, right? Not correct! When the weather is nice, Artie accompanies him every time he rides his bike. In addition, my father will take a photo of him or ask my mother to record a video.
For a while, we weren’t sure why Artie liked my father so much. After all, he’s not a very loving guy. It is Artie and you would think he would be attracted to someone who would return his affection. Unfortunately, I am living proof that this is not true. My mom assumed he was obsessed with my dad because he wanted confirmation from him.
I think that’s because he’s the alpha male in the house.
When we introduced Artie to our family, my brother was around nine years old. Artie had to consider him a littermate, not his protector. And Artie was deaf from birth. When I saw that my father was strong, courageous, and clearly responsible, he probably gave him the incentive to become his deputy. Besides, nobody hands out goodies like my father does.
The man keeps complaining to us that we’re not doing enough for Artie. He wants us to do exactly what he does for him because he thinks it’s normal. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never heard of someone who gets up early in the morning to bake chicken breasts for their dog before he goes to work.
Artie is a bit chunky – our vet actually said Artie was a bit of a pork – but that doesn’t stop my dad from feeding the guy better than he feeds himself. Every night before bed he grabs three or four dog treats and drops them on the bedroom floor. Artie puts them all in his mouth and then eats them on the bed, much to my mother’s horror. It’s insane.
Papa keeps saying he’s looking forward to a dog-free house, but I’m not so sure. I think it will be a shocking adjustment for him. Artie has followed his every move and has for the past eight years. When he’s not home, Artie spends his time looking out the window so he can see his car. My dad would never admit how much he likes Artie because it would ruin his personality, but I think her bond is strong enough to power anything.