By Heather Rolph
Adelaide Anna Beatrice Gaw is a bit of a diva. She is in love with a boy named Greg who lives in her apartment, although she might also have a small crush on the dog who lives downstairs. She adores carrots and hates squirrels, and her biggest fear is missing out, on anything.
Adelaide was named after Adelaide, New Zealand, and although she has many nicknames people mostly call her Addie. She is social, and demanding, and although she knows how to be sweet, many of the people closest to her have called her a bitch on more than one occasion. She likes to cuddle when she gets nervous and licks people even after they push her away. Sometimes, she pees on the floor.
We met several years ago, when I was a first-year at Colorado College and Addie was the excitable dog at my roommate’s parents’ house. Now, Addie is a certified emotional support animal for her owner, Anna, and we’ve lived together on and off over the past few years. I’m suspicious about small dogs, but the important thing to remember about Addie is that she’s not a dog; she’s a person who just happens to be small and furry. As Anna says: “Addie owns the apartment.”
Addie was born on July 25, in California, although she has spent most of her life in Colorado. Measured one way, Addie is seven years old; measured another way, she is approximately 44. Either way, she loves college; she has never had so much attention from so many people in her life. Whenever she meets someone new, or sees someone she saw five minutes ago and has been missing desperately ever since, she likes to jump up on her hind legs and paw beseechingly at any body part she can reach. She is very acrobatic, especially when it comes to food on kitchen counters. Her guilty pleasure is the trash can.
A person-friend of Addie’s, someone who once spent hours in philosophical discussion with her and swears she responded intelligently, recently wrote: “The first thing to keep in mind is that Addie’s star sign is Cancer. Addie displays the emotional tumult, sensitivity (i.e., volatile bitchiness), and severe mood swings of a typical Cancer. Of course, she also displays the associated positives: a certain warmness to those she knows well, empathy, and taking relationships seriously on an emotional level. As an Aries, though, I often find her unduly inhibited when it comes to making rational decisions and too often given over to the whims of her hot-and-cold will (without any serious direction). She is, in other words, emotionally bold but not ambitious.”
At a little over a foot tall and weighing less than 20 pounds, Addie is only a little bigger than a teddy bear and fits perfectly into a lap or a pillow. Somehow, she also takes up most of a twin bed. She doesn’t like to think of herself as a little dog, though, because Addie has control issues. She masks her fear of bigger dogs by staring menacingly at them and growling, always at a distance. She doesn’t like it when they growl back. Although Addie doesn’t really care about her looks, she is at her best in between haircuts. Part miniature poodle, part Australian shepherd, and fuzzy all over, Addie has soft gray hair, floppy ears that tend toward matted, tender brown eyes, and a small beard that is rarely wet. People have called her photogenic.
In many ways, Addie is a frivolous drama queen. She knows she is the center of everyone’s lives and demands the appropriate attention. When things aren’t going her way, she cocks her head and makes a sort of growling purr; if this doesn’t elicit a response, she yaps for attention until her wishes have been satisfied. Her owner uses the word “manipulative.”
But the playful, cuddly demeanor belies a serious side. When she remembers about her emotional support duties she takes them seriously. “She literally licks away my tears,” her owner says, and at her best Addie is a cheerfully supportive, unexpectedly patient friend who gets dejected on her own and likes nothing better than making her people happy.
One of her favorite places is in the lap of a person in an armchair by a window that looks out over the CC sports fields towards Pikes Peak. She often sits there, relaxed but alert — a smallish, hairy dog surveying her domain with soulful eyes and a slightly ridiculous beard, one leg draped artfully over the armchair like a model.