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Last week, as I walked Inkling, a woman leaned out her front door and yelled at us. “Keep your bark ass shit machine off my lawn!” she hollered. I shared the story on Instagram, receiving a good deal of sympathy… But honestly it perplexed me more than it upset me. Inkling wasn’t barking or shitting, and she was happily trotting on the sidewalk, not on the lady’s lawn. The whole thing made me chuckle, but something about it stuck with me.
It stuck with me enough that I turned the insult into stickers to raise money for animal shelters in need.
But why did it stick with me?
Finally it hit me.
My dog IS a Bark Ass Shit Machine.
It’s true. She’s a prolific pooper, and though she seldom barks while out on our walks, heaven forbid we watch a movie with another dog in it. Or that she sees her reflection in a glass door. She’ll bark at that all night.
I spend most of my time with Inkling. She’s my best friend. And she’s absolutely a Bark Ass Shit Machine. Because she’s 100% a dog.
We try to spend as much time as possible training her, trying to help her fit into human society so that she can go to breweries, parks, and to hardware stores with us. She loves doing these things, but beneath the training and the cute bandannas, she shares DNA with wolves.
What makes a dog special and wonderful isn’t a pedigree or breeding. It isn’t appearance or special tricks. It’s companionship without pretension. The joy of a dog isn’t that they’re “like children” or “our babies.”
It’s that they are, undeniably, dogs.
Sometimes dogs bark. They shed, and chew on things. And they poop. Because they’re just dogs.
And we love them because they’re dogs. They have a boundless freedom and joy that defies human limitations or judgment, and when treated with love and kindness, they share that with us. Dogs don’t understand vanity or arrogance, and seldom take themselves too seriously. They maintain complete honesty in their emotions, and urge us to do likewise. Dogs encourage us to be better — to strive to become the people that they believe we are. We can’t ever completely understand our dogs, but that’s okay. It doesn’t keep us from loving them, or them from loving us.
So yeah, my dog is a Bark Ass Shit Machine.
But she’s MY Bark Ass Shit Machine. And that’s just fine by me.