You might have noticed that I have a dog. Her name is Gracie, she's a brindle colored greyhound, and she's eight years old.
Don't get me wrong here--I like my dog, but I'm definitely not the type to gush about an animal. Hell, I don't even gush about my husband or my kid. I leave the really yummy emotional stuff for the finer things in life--like Slurpees, and fudge, and car-wash coupons.
Gracie gets walked anywhere between three and six miles a day, she eats all-natural-premium dog food, and I do whatever I can to keep her alive--so I'm a good dog owner. I don't however, feed her from the table, dress her up in princess costumes, and it's never even occurred to me to refer to her as my "child" or "baby" or even as my "fur-baby." So I guess I'm not a lovey-dovey dog owner.
She's my dog, she lies around breathing, and that's all there is to it.
Today, as I walked Gracie around the park, I ran into a mom who I recognize from the neighborhood. I really should know her name, but I don't--that's how close we are. She was pushing a stroller containing her toddler daughter and walking a chocolate lab. She saw me, I saw her, and we waved to each other from a distance.
We approached one another, and I said something to her like, "Hi! How are you guys today?!" as I made a goofy face at the little girl.
She seemed to be in a really good mood and replied, "We're so great! It's Carly's second birthday today!"
So of course, I pretended to be excited, smiled at the baby and said, "Wow! Happy birthday Carly! You're such a big girl."
I looked up at the mother and was met with a serious, straight face. "Um," she said, "That's Kate. This is Carly." as she pointed to the lab, who was vigorously sniffing my dog's rectal opening.
"Great," I said. Trying my very hardest to act as though I cared about someone else's dog's birthday. "Are you guys doing anything special?"
Wow. Were they ever. She went on to tell me about rawhide bones, a squeaky toy that resembled a t-bone steak, a custom designed dog cake, bone-shaped balloons and wait...that's not all...a birthday party with Carly's brother who *gasp* happens to live in the neighborhood.
As I listened to the drawn-out story of discovering Carly's long lost litter mate, it occurred to me that Gracie's birthday is also in November. So as we talked, I flipped back my dog's ear and deciphered the blurry old tattoo that all racing greyhounds have.
Sure enough, there it was: 11-15-99. Gracie's birthday was yesterday, and I completely forgot about it. There was no party, no presents, no cocktails--not even an unneutered male stripper!
I can tell that Gracie's more than upset about my ridiculously insensitive oversight. She's barely gotten out of bed today, and she's been giving me the silent treatment all morning long.