When Rufus emptied out the Very Nice Dress Shop, the other human and I agreed on one thing. Few dogs could have committed such a social faux pax and not been shouted at or chased away.
In his 10 and 1/2 years, Rufus has gotten away with murder because he's a goodlooking dog.
Friends sometimes tell me stories about how their dogs get chased away by people in parks, for being too close. These are off-leash areas of dog-friendly parks. Why would anyone who's not comfortable with dogs being close, be in an off-leash area of a dog-friendly park? Well, that's an interesting question, but it's not what I'm writing about today.
Rufus has NEVER had a problem like that. Seriously. NEVER.
He's gone into shops that dogs shouldn't go into. Begged for sausages from picnickers and the catch of the day from fishermen. He's wandered among squealing children. Been bad [if you know what I mean] in front of crowded bus stops and busy cafes. People might be taken aback. But they never scold.
If anything, humans of all sizes and ages are attracted to him like hungry bees to a pot of fat furry honey and will do anything to entice him over for a pat, a cuddle, or a picture. Even in his current deteriorated condition, Rufus makes tired strangers on the street smile, and inspires lots of awww.
Before Rufus's diet became a chip and beer-free zone, the other human often got asked by his single men friends to bring Rufus along to the pub. Why? Because he is THE Chick Magnet Of All Time. I suspect the other human has himself enjoyed this attention many times over the years.
About 2 months ago, writing as Georgia of course, I sent a needy email to that fabulous site DrawtheDog begging for a cartoon that would make her world famous. Just a few days later, they responded that they had indeed selected a picture to draw for the day! With great excitement, I clicked on the link and what did I see?
Out of more than 80 possible stories and 1000 pictures of Georgia, they had picked a picture of her sidekick, looking silly, nose woffling at the camera. I was devastated. On Georgia's behalf of course.
But I shouldn't have been surprised. When we first got Georgia, I thought her the ugliest thing ever [as did many of my friends], and my eyes would gravitate helplessly towards the unpigmented membrane in her left eye.
To compensate, we bought her girly collars. I tied colourful Senhor Bonfim ribbons to them. Added a pretty princess tag. Threaded fresh flowers through the lot. People still thought she was a tough boy, and quite sad-looking too.
A few days ago, I was walking her down Darling Street when a man approached us. "Hey doggie, " he said tentatively, "nice doggie. She's quite old? 5 or 6?" he asked, by way of introduction.
"No," I replied, "she's just 2. Still a baby."
"Really? She looks old." he said, before walking briskly away.
Georgia is the kind of dog that gets chased away from toddlers, shops and picnickers. Even though she's 100% friendlier than Rufus with people, she will never be woo-ed, wow-ed or tolerated, the way Rufus is. She will always be the ugly step-sister.
Personally, I like ugly dogs. I like dogs that look like serial killers. I like dogs whose noses or ears are too big or too small for their heads. I like dogs that look like their mamas might have had an unplanned good time with the neighbourhood casanova. I like dogs that don't look like they've been bred, powdered and puffed to within an inch of their lives.
Most of all, I like my once-ugly dog Georgia Little Pea, who is fast becoming The Undisputed Most Gorgeous Dog In The World. And PLEASE, let's not argue about it because I know it's true.
"But what about that horrible unpigmented eye?" I can hear you protest.
To which I can only reply, glaring at you through my rose-tinted glasses, "WHAT unpigmented eye?"