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"Look at you - you're a pageant, you're everything that I've imagined …"

While you may view picking out the correct dog for yourself as easy, she says she only wants a small dog. Without some guiding criteria, you may end up walking the Snuggle Bear in a bedazzled collar and you will feel as humiliated in front of the neighbors as you would if they caught you slipping on a pair of cotton Hello Kitty panties through your front window.

The following is a list of criteria that will allow you to keep your masculinity while winning her over.

1. A dog must not be yappy. Nothing is more hellish than a dog that loses its mind every time it hears something, whether it's a knock at the door, a leaf blowing in the breeze or just plain wide-eyed consciousness. Yappy dogs are best suited for environments devoid of any noise - for instance, on a space station hundreds of miles from earth. Additionally, a dog that quivers and needlessly pees out of fright is asking to be released into the wild where it will finally be found by those things that it has every reason to be scared of.

2. A likeable dog must not get shit stuck in its fur. Skid stains are repugnant, even more so when the skid-stained has to wear it full-time until somebody with opposable thumbs and scissors decides that the matted fecal matter is to blame for the constant boot-scooting.

3. A dog must be able to look its owner straight in the eyes. The bug-eyed look is best on chickens. A good dog is not a chicken - at least not in this country.

4. The dog must be reasonably smart. Dogs that chew on electrical cords don't last long for good reason.

5. A respectable dog must be short-haired so as to eliminate constant shedding but must also be really uncomfortable wearing a sweater. Nobody wants a dog that's going to be an absolute nancy-pants about cold weather. A respectable dog will understand that you, as its owner, don't like to be chilly either and may come to resent the dog for having to bundle up to go out into the freezing cold for walks and anything that would make those frigid moments more comfortable is counter-productive. In fact, a well-trained dog understands that if it's held just outside the front door by the scruff of its neck that it should fire out dirty business as though every meal from that moment forward was dependent on it. No short-haired dog gets to dally in the cold unless it has demonstrated the ability to make waffles first thing in the morning. As a side-note on coat length and shedding, dogs that supposedly don't shed are ideal, yet no dog is truly hypo-allergenic, unless that dog is a pillow.

6. Nothing "tinkerbell" sized. Anything "tinkerbell" sized had better come with fairy dust and the ability to grant wishes.

7. It is important that the dog still has some wild trait in it that will compel it to chase after and confront other animals, regardless of how overmatched the dog is. In this respect, a dog should carry itself with pride and it should be reflected in the appearance of the dog. Most handsome in this regard is the fu manchu moustache worn by the Scottish terriers.

8. The correct dog must fit through the recently installed dog door. Consequently, a pair of calipers will be needed to determine the correct head size. Also, a dog that cannot figure out how to work the dog door will, in all likelihood, never catch a rabbit either. A dog is man's best friend, not an aloof acquaintance - that's what a cat is. (Surprisingly, a cat can catch a rabbit so long as the rabbit is very young. It's easy to identify that moment because nothing in this world is more disconcerting than listening to a recently caught rabbit being mauled.) But a dog that can't catch a rabbit cannot be trusted.

-William Cadillac Donovan

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Mike Doughty



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