Yes, I know I’m married. But I just couldn’t resist. I mean, you see a guy in a movie and something about seeing him on the big screen, bandying with a hot movie star makes him irresistable. Even to me, a woman who takes her wedding vows seriously.
I knew when I watched him swept away that I was swept away by him. I had to sleep with him. I just had to.
I had no idea when we rented The Proposal that there would be an American Eskimo puppy as a major plot device. There’s been some argument on the web as to whether the dog(s) were Samoyed or Eskies. As a lifelong haver-of-Eskies I say, trust me. Those were American Eskimo Puppies. I know Eskies like I know the sound of my mother’s footfall. Besides, there was an article in People Magazine that confirmed it. The role of “Kevin” was played by four different American Eskimo dogs.
I should be delighted that my beloved pet, usually one of the more little-known breeds these days, has acheived a bit of recognition. Before his brother a Bernese Mountain Dog went away to college*, everywhere we went people would make over Casey and ignore Quinn. As though the magnificence of the one eclipsed the other.
But last night as I googled “What Kind Of Dog Was In The Proposal” I saw scads of people on various ask-a-question sites drooling over the total cuteness–it’s real, folks–of the American Eskimo and insisting that they must.have.one.now. I tell you , my blood ran cold. Because these dogs already have a habit of getting abandoned. As cute as they are when they are first-born, as majestic as they are when they are older…they have issues.
—Most of them go through an Awkward Stage. Like pretty girls in movies who are rejected as nerds for the first half until some jock dates them on a bet and forces them to go through a makeover, Eskies can spend a chunk of their life in what we call The Nerdy Larry stage. They’re all skinny angles, short hair and flat out nerdiness. I found more than one person disappointed that their three-month-old Eskie Puppy didn’t look like the pictures on the web. Well, he won’t. Not until he’s about three or four years old, most likely.
—Most of them are very smart. Yes, this can be a good thing. If you are prepared for it. But it also means things that most people don’t expect. They get easily bored and must have toys or people to occupy them. They learn to open doors. They catch on to English very fast, and eventually learn to spell. Most life-long Eskie havers I’ve known have to invent new words for “treat” and “outside” and “ride” lest they let something slip and have their insistent pet pester them endlessly. In many ways having an Eskie is more like having a pre-verbal toddler than having a dog. Except…
—They Are Very Vocal. American Eskimos are excellent watchdogs. This means they will bark at any and everything. You just have to learn to accept that kids and cars passing your house will raise an alarm of barking, mewling and “eskie speech”–an interesting mix of vocalisations that sound for all the world like if you give it another bit of time your dog will say something profound.
—They Need Their People. Eskies bond with their pack and take guarding that pack very seriously. They don’t do well when left alone all day and are simply not bred for being outside dogs. While they enjoy spending time outside (as mine is doing right now, surveying his kingdom) they have to have great quantities of time indoors with you. Which brings me to the other big point….
—They blow their coats. Eskies have low dander, which makes them excellent companions for those allergic to dogs. But they actually have two coats of fur. And several times a year that undercoat blows. This is different than shedding–something Eskies also do every day. Coat-blowing makes shedding look like a bit of a laugh. It’s piles of thick white hair coming out in fluffy chunks that tumbleweed around your house. You can keep it under control by combing twice a day with an Undercoat Rake. But that is a job. Fortunately…
—They can be incredibly vain. They love to be combed, brushed, made over. They love to be “decorated”. Mine loves to pose for pictures. Seriously. But if you take them to a groomers to have their fur cut short they will spend days under the bed. They are embarrassed at having their bad hair days.
I’m extremely fond of this breed of dog. My first dog was an Eskie. I’ll probably always have an Eskie, Lord willing. But I don’t want to see any more of them bought on whims because of their puppy cuteness in pet stores or blockbuster rom-coms, only to be abandoned to kill shelters. So if you’d love to love an Eskie, even with all this Specialness, go for it. Otherwise just buy a copy of the DVD and rewind the Kevin parts. You’ll be better off.
*It’s easier for me to deal with the death of my dogs if I instead just say they’re off at college. This is the new thing we do around here. As nutty as it sounds it helps with the pain. And it’s a heck of a lot less smarmy and creepy than that Rainbow Bridge business.