Some say I’m overindulgent with my dog. I can hear a collective “no kidding” whisper through the Tri-State right now.

Once, I mentioned my dogs drink filtered water and the friend with whom I was lunching said, “Of course they do.”

Not that delicious, expensive Fiji water, just tap water I’ve put through a filtering pitcher.

I know they don’t know the difference, but I do.

I don’t know why anyone is surprised when someone spoils a dog. That’s what they’re there for.

My dog deserved to be spoiled. He’d been living on the streets with no steady source of food or love and no shelter and no health care for months before he came to live with me. All the dogs I’ve had have been spoiled, according to some, but in different ways. For example, Ruby and Hilda were big old short-haired girls, each weighing at least 65 pounds. Each had a sweater to wear when they went out in the winter. I thought they needed an extra layer of protection from the weather, considering they had short hair.

Ruby’s sweater made her so nervous, she wouldn’t leave the porch. She just

stood there shaking, smiling and wagging her tail. That was her nervous look.

Hilda, however, enjoyed wearing clothing — especially hats. She took off running through the neighborhood in her sweater. When she returned, the sweater had so many picked places I imagined the other neighborhood dogs bullying her for wearing clothes. It’s more likely she just snagged in on some bushes.

When I first got Freddie, my current dog, I was excited to put clothing on him. He doesn’t need the extra layer of protection (unless he has a fresh haircut), but he’s smaller than any dog I’ve had, so I figured he’d be easier to dress.

I hadn’t thought about the fact he’d been running wild most of his life. Not only did he fight me when I dressed him, he stood frozen, like a statue, when he was fully clothed. Was he confused? Angry? Simply uncomfortable? I don’t know, but he clearly didn’t like it.

He also wasn’t crazy about wearing a collar, but that’s mandatory. He must have a “handle,” as one friend said, and he must have a tag with his name and phone number on it in case he finds a way outside and reverts to his formerly feral self.

I found a collar that was perfect for him: a spiked and studded black leather number that coordinated with his snaggle tooth perfectly.

When I put it on him, he was paralyzed as if I had put a T-shirt on him. I knew he would have to get used to wearing a collar, so after talking to him for a while and making no progress, I grabbed one of his beloved toys and threw it. He snapped right out of his trance and chased the ball, forgetting about the collar. He’s been fine with his collar ever since.

He’s more mature now, so I got him a new collar, swapping the studs and spikes for a nice little bow tie.

I do indulge my dog. I don’t make him wear clothes.

(606) 326-2661 | lward@dailyindependent.com

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