Ever since he was little, my golden retriever Happy has never seemed to like girl dogs as much as human beings. Hap will inevitably approach someone walking their female pooch, nod hello to the dog and then jump up on, kiss and endear himself to their owner. It's deeply disturbing the way he fawns on people. It's like being the owner of a canine Eddie Haskell.
Clearly, getting Happy neutered three years ago had something to do with his rather unsettling priorities. Ever since that surgery, Happy's been sexually confused. He hasn't walked with as much manly confidence and strut, nor is he interested when I put on a Danzig CD. Worse, he recently seemed entranced by an unusual song on the car radio. You don't know what it's like when your dog gets weepy during "I'm Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman."
So imagine my surprise when we were recently playing at Scarsdale's Colonial Acres Park and Happy seemed to fall in love. With a female dog! The same thing occurred a week later with another "lady" pooch at Rye Beach. How did my retriever morph from shy introvert into...George Clooney?
It may have helped that the females at both locations were also golden retrievers. These beautiful creatures tend to gravitate toward equally beautiful creatures, ignoring the more offbeat mutts despite their soul and creativity...just like some sort of dog version of a John Hughes movie. In fact, once a dachshund tried to come on to Happy. Hap looked at her with soul-shattering condescension and snickered. I hear she's in therapy now.
In Scarsdale, there was no such class warfare. Becky, a two-year-old Golden, came on the playground and my dog applied his trademark subtlety. In other words, he ran over to her, smiled winningly and got her in a hold called a "German Suplex" before slamming her down. I made a mental note as I watched this move: "That's the last time I let Happy watch any more Ultimate Fighting Championships," I thought.
In any case, Becky was a good sport about it and totally went with Happy's takedown, mock slaps and punches -- like she was his partner in a display of apache dancing. She continued to lay in the sand. The two dogs licked each other's faces and sniffed one anothers' behinds. It was all I could do not to break into "Ah! Sweet Mystery Of Life."
I thought this might have been an isolated incident, and that even though Hap's essential private parts had been surgically removed, he was just experiencing what doctors refer to as "phantom pain."
However, my golden retriever had a romantic interlude with another member of his Aryan race at Rye Beach a week later. This female -- actually named Brunhilde -- ran past Happy, winked and kept going right into the Sound. Happy ran after her and jumped in. This was really something to behold, especially considering that my dog's Aquaphobia rivals that of Howard Hughes. And don't get me started on the similarity of their toenails!
The two retrievers frolicked a bit and came out covered in flotsam. Brunhilde was covered in seaweed; Happy had a cigar in his mouth. They shook themselves off, soaking their eight human observers, and then began to wrestle in the sand. I can't say it was terribly romantic. Happy took this girl down with a double-reverse piledriver. Brunhilde, however, seemed to think it was hilarious.
So, where does this leave us? I've gone from having a studious, monk-like dog who shunned amour to a canine whose exploits could get him thrown out of the Playboy Mansion. Happy, unless you're a heartbreaker, you will have to decide between these two women. Even if they live in two separate towns, word gets around. And then where will you be? Of course, you can always throw caution to the wind and add a third dog. Maybe you'll fix the problem by compounding it.
And while you're at it, Hap? Can I ask you a little favor? Please take care of the guy who feeds you by seeing whether or not one of these dogs has an owner for me.