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What kind of human is your pet?

Always Write

Darby Hinkley

If my dog were a human, he’d be a butler.

Milk Dud Hinkley is 9-and-a-half now, so he’s an old butler. A kind old gentleman who is eager to please and wants to make sure everyone is comfortable and safe.

The pooch has many personality traits, from a playful ball catcher to a mischievous skunk teaser (he’s been sprayed three times, so we are old-hat at the homemade anti-stench concoction).

But, most of all, he is a people pleaser. He loves his people, and he wants them to be happy. He’s half border collie, a quarter husky, and a quarter German shepherd. Looking up those breeds, you will find they are active, vocal (mainly husky), and smart.

But what Google can’t tell you is that each dog, despite their breed mixture, is unique.

This guy is special.

If he were a human, I’m pretty sure he’d be Presbyterian. Look, maybe he’s a Buddhist, but I’ve seen him kill snakes and rodents, so he’s a bad Buddhist if he is one. He is one bad Buddhist butler.

When people come to the door, his reaction is as follows: bark as though they are about to set the house on fire, stare at them while waiting for someone to open the door, then sniff the heck out of their pants while deciding if they are good or bad. If they are good (sorry, pizza guy and UPS dude, you don’t make the cut), his tail wags. If they are bad… well, we’ve been told he looks like a wolf, so, if they are bad, they will likely just leave the package on the doorstep and get back in their truck.

And the scratches on the inside of the doorframe persist.

Milk Dud’s personality is such that, if he could, he would bring you a perfectly chilled cucumber water, even if you just dropped by for a five-minute chat.

If he were a human, he would secretly smoke cigars. Expensive ones. But only when no one’s looking. He would never blow smoke in your face. No one would ever see him smoking, but you would just know. It would be his only vice.

When humans touch, Milk Dud barks. He doesn’t have a storied abusive history. He’s been well-loved in our home since he was a young pup, fresh from the litter at my mother-in-law’s house. I didn’t even want a dog. My husband did. But Milk Dud wanted me to want him.

So he came out a rusty brown and cream color, while all his brothers and sisters were gray and black. The second I saw him, just watching all the other dogs play, I knew. He was our dog. His name just came to me the instant I saw him and called, “Dibs!”

He was the observant, dare I say alpha male, who oversaw the goings-on of his hyper siblings. At naptime, all the other puppies just had to be touching him. They literally piled on him in a puppy heap. They could feel his strong, stable energy, and they wanted to be near it.

So, why does he howl when we hug? Well, he howls when people punch each other playfully, or wrestle, or anything like that, so we think he’s dead set against violence. (Point one for Team Buddha). But we can’t figure out the hug. Does he want to be in the hug? Is he jealous of our arms? I wish I had an answer, but some things will have to remain a mystery until doggy heaven. God must have a dog, right?

Well, we now know God at least has a cat.

Which brings me to the sad part. Our 16-and-a-half-year-old Russian blue, Lily, passed peacefully at home last week. She had a great life, albeit indoors, with a great friend, Milk Dud the butler.

I loved her dearly. She was my spazzy cat from the moment I saw her at Petco, running up and down the walls like a mental patient.

I have a thing for gray cats. Other cats are fine. But gray ones make my heart skip a beat. She was my furry weirdo. I feel like, in a way, she was my spirit animal.

She acted like a dog. But a diva, as she got older. She came when we called her. She loved eating popcorn, spaghetti, and yogurt. I mean, she was obsessed with tuna, but that’s a given for a cat.

If Lily were a human, she would have been a host on The Food Network. She was a foodie, but she cared about her figure, so she didn’t overeat. Although she did go through quite a “voluptuous” stage in years 5 through 10, but then we switched her to “healthy weight” food, which she begrudgingly downed, eventually.

Her favorite color was purple. I know because that’s my favorite color, and she “got” me. We understood each other — no words necessary. She liked her space, and I like mine. She would tell you if she wanted you to pet her, or if she’d rather you take a hike.

The butler is missing his foodie, and I am missing the meows. I miss how she used to jump into my lap while I was watching TV. I miss how she would pounce on the unopened box of Culver’s chicken tenders and rassle them out with her sharp little teeth. She was a determined fluffball, I’ll give her that. *Sigh*

So, here we are, one family member gone, trying to carry on. Yes, she was a cat. I know. She was my cat. She was in the car when I totaled it. We both walked away without a scratch. She led a long, healthy life, and I’m certain she’s eating popcorn now, watching the cooks in heaven make unleavened bread or whatever.

She’s probably chasing a chicken.

Pets weren’t meant to live as long as humans, and maybe there’s a reason for that. Maybe it reminds us to enjoy every moment and take that extra time to spend with the ones we love, even if it’s inconvenient. I wish I would have picked her up and loved on her that last morning before I rushed out the door. But, we never know. That’s why right now is the right time to show someone you love them, whether they are a butler, a foodie, or just a stranger on the street.

If you plan on stopping by, make sure you bring a cigar for my butler. I’ll make sure his tuxedo is pressed and fresh for your visit.

Darby Hinkley can be found searching puggle puppies on the interweb at 2:30 in the morning. If you need her, she will tell you.

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