Angel Doodle is not a good girl. She likes it that way. The little caramel colored pittie mix doesn't even pretend to be good.
"You are not a good girl!" Lamar will scold her as she hides in the basket of shame, tearing up whatever her latest conquest is. Sometimes it's socks. This particular morning, it was Cole's carved slingshot.
She also ate holes in one of Lamar's fleece pullovers in the same morning. We are not sure why, but she did.
My leopard print fuzzy bedroom slippers also are missing their soles thanks to the Doodle.
"Who's a good girl? Who's my good girl?" Lamar will say. I know he's talking either to Ava the German Shepherd or Pumpkin the Border collie. Angel Doodle does not care about being a good girl.
"You need to praise the Doodle," I will tell him.
Lamar ignores my admonishment. Maybe he could tell her she tore up Cole's flip flops in record time or that he has never seen a dog stick their whole body in the trash can quite like she does. Surely being told she is not a good girl daily is detrimental to her doggie self-esteem.
"I tell her she is a pretty girl," Lamar said. "She is a pretty little chunky monkey."
Angel knows she is a pretty girl too. We have caught her sitting on the end of the bed, admiring herself in the dresser mirror. She did that for about 30 minutes one day, turning her head side to side as she fully appraised her cuteness.
"She is a sweet girl," I added. "I think she is the sweetest dog I have ever had."
She is. Angel Doodle doesn't have the first mean bone in her body. If anything, the pittie mix is the peacemaker and mediator between Ava and Pumpkin.
Usually, Pumpkin is the instigator, trying to assert her alphaness, growling at Ava, who could really care less. But Angel gets in between them, showering puppy kisses on both, stopping the argument before it even gets started.
The only time she has ever growled is when we attempt to move her over when she is sound asleep in the middle of the bed. Yes, she sleeps with us every night. She is still the "baby" and thinks she is supposed to be a co-sleeper. But if you move her out of her spot -which is lengthwise across the middle of the bed where no one else can sleep - she will sleep growl at you to express her dislike.
"I don't know what's worse," Cole will say, "that growl that sounds far worse than it is, or the two-minute stare she gives you afterwards. You just know she's gonna eat a shoe the next morning."
Angel has even taken up my late Venus' job of watching over Cole. I took a photo of the two of them the other morning, the dog's arms wrapped around Cole and sent it to Mama.
She texted back, "Is Cole OK? Check on him."
I told her he was fine and sleeping.
An hour later, when Lamar went to wake him, Doodle stood over him, protecting her charge, pushing Lamar away. Turned out, Cole was having chills with a low grade fever. The doodle knew and wouldn't leave his side.
"She is a good girl," Mama said, trying to defend the pup. "She is. She just has a different approach than the other two."
"She's not a good girl, Mama nor does she aspire to be," I replied. "She's two out of three - she's pretty and sweet but she is not a good girl."
"Y'all are going to give that dog a complex," Mama said.
I doubt that.
Angel usually seems to enjoy life more than any dog I have ever seen. While Pumpkin gets her whiskers twisted at the shenanigans of the younger two's rough housing and often feels obligated to do the right thing because she is the responsible one. I can understand and relate to how Pumpkin feels sometimes. I wish I could let loose and dig a hole big enough to stick myself in like the Doodle does. But I have to be serious and the upholder of decorum.
Angel is a free spirit, running to our neighbor's house to see what they are up to. She likes to visit with their dogs, too. They are evidently conferring about the best way to catch a squirrel and holding conferences about the deer that love to hang out on the hill between our homes.
She will shamelessly jump up to steal food off the counter while I make dinner, running with her bounty to her basket of shame to eat it.
"I still think she is a good girl," Mama will protest. She's mistaken, I will tell her.
"She's not, Mama. But you know what? She gets treats, she steals food, and she tears up just about everything we don't put up on a high shelf. Her pack loves her, even when Pumpkin gets annoyed with her, she loves her and Ava's her best friend. She gets loved on constantly - I kiss that dog's forehead until my lips are chapped. So why should she be a good girl? She's the antithesis of a good girl and life is pretty ding-dang sweet for the Doodle."
Mama had to agree.
Angel Doodle had found her sweet spot. She wasn't a good girl. She was a naughty, misbehaving little dog. And that had far more perks than being good.
Sudie Crouch is an award winning humor columnist and author of the recently e-published novel, "The Dahlman Files: A Tony Dahlman Paranormal Mystery."