Relay: Pretty Boy

My dog, Brodie, is as soft and cuddly as any bunny rabbit

Since my children are grown and moved out of the house, the Easter Bunny will not be visiting this year. But that’s okay because my dog, Brodie, is as soft and cuddly as any bunny rabbit. When he stands on his hind legs, as he tends to do when he’s feeling nosey, and looks out our front window to see what’s going on in the neighborhood, he’s as tall as the real Easter Bunny that visited the Montauk Firehouse on Sunday.

I’ve had many dogs and have loved them all dearly. But Brodie is an outstanding dog, as close to being human as any animal I’ve come across. Sometimes when he looks at me it appears as if he has something to say. I tell him, don’t you dare start talking to me because I’d have a heart attack, and there would be one less person for him to love, and he needs love, constantly, every day, all day long. It’s exhausting sometimes. If he were to talk, he would probably ask if we could go outside and play ball, his favorite pastime.

After my other dog, Jack the Whack, died I was offered a free puppy from a large litter of puppies that were being sold for over $1,000 each. I didn’t plan to get a dog so soon after Jack died because he was such a handful, hence the name Jack the Whack, which a neighbor came up with. I thought, stupidly in hindsight, that I’d just take a look.

When I entered the room the puppies were in, this little guy pushed past the others and ran to me with a smile on his face. When I picked him up he immediately snuggled into my neck, making him irresistible. Of course I chose him and haven’t for one minute regretted my decision.

Brodie is a goldendoodle, more golden than doodle. He’s got big, expressive brown eyes and long blond hair that falls off in clumps all over my house — his only fault. People often mistake him for a girl and say, “She’s so pretty.” He doesn’t care; as long as he’s the center of attention you can call him anything you want.

He was 12 weeks old when we brought him home. His brilliance amazed us. He immediately knew his place in the pecking order and that I was the queen of the castle, really a small ranch-style home. But my husband became his best buddy. He knows when it’s Peter’s day off from work and stays by his side all day, giving me a break from the constant need for attention, like a toddler.

And when Peter has to go somewhere on a day off and cannot take Brodie, pretty boy sits with his nose to the door waiting for his return. I can tell when my husband’s almost home from work because Brodie picks up the sound of his van well before it turns onto our block, and he gets all excited.

Whenever he can, he takes Brodie with him in the van. Brodie and I are both blond so people often think it’s me sitting in the passenger seat. Until, that is, they realize that my nose couldn’t have grown that much since the last time they saw me.

His understanding of the human vocabulary is impressive. After a long day of writing and cleaning up the house, I try to take an hour’s break and ice my bad knee before the dinner routine begins. I tell Brodie it’s quiet time and he goes right to his bed. When I say it’s dinnertime, he goes to the kitchen. “No bed,” he gets off my bed.

A few weeks ago I was sick with a respiratory infection and had a reaction to the cough syrup the doctor prescribed. It really scared me, but what scared me more was that Brodie knew something wasn’t right and sat close to me, all noble-like, looking straight ahead but giving me constant side-eye to make sure I was okay. He looked ready to give me mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

He’s a gentle giant, my boy. Neighbors have a little pug and they’ve told us how gentle Brodie is when they meet outside and play. Since he’s a male and the pug’s a female, I think he’s just contemplating how he could play with her doggie-style, if you get my drift.

My husband thinks Brodie needs a playmate, and I mean that in every sense of the word. I always wanted to breed dogs, and if there’s ever been a dog whose genes should be shared it’s this guy. Please don’t write letters saying I’m irresponsible to breed a dog when there are so many shelter dogs available, and they are wonderful dogs, but some people, especially those with children, want a specific breed and golden retrievers often rank high on the lists of best family dogs.

So once I recover from knee surgery, scheduled in two weeks, Brodie might be getting a playmate bunny, and I might be getting a heavier workload. But if it takes some of his constant need for attention off me, it’ll be well worth it. He’ll make a wonderful, loving father and receive the undying love he requires from his offspring.

Janis Hewitt is a senior writer for The Star.