Love your pet: Chelsea gives love sparingly

Editor’s note: Send a story about your pet to or to The Cabinet Press, 54 School St., Milford, NH 03055.

My dog Chelsea dislikes the vacuum, the ironing board, fireworks, rain, squirrels, my mother, my father, my father-in-law, my neighbor, my friend Bob, my friend Rob, the postman, the post woman, the UPS driver, and the guy canvassing for the Sierra Club. My dog hates you, too.

Yes, you.

Oh, you’re good with animals? You watched every episode of “The Dog Whisperer”? You used to rescue pit bulls from underground dog fighting rings run by steroid-addicted ex-football players, and all those dogs loved you? My dog hates you.

Chelsea is a demon in dog form. She is a sea monster without fins. A dire-wolf with stubby legs. Cerberus with one head.

You will never win her over. She will never be your friend. She will never love you. And yet, we love her.

Chelsea loves my husband, three of my friends, a golden retriever named Shulgin (RIP), and me.

Chelsea loves to pretend she’s a 40-pound blanket and drape herself across me on the couch. She loves to wait outside the bathroom when I’m showering. She loves to try to climb trees to try to catch squirrels. She loves to eat hummus on crackers and to try to eat bees. She loves to finish the cat’s breakfast and beg my husband for cheese. She loves to snore under the coffee table and lick my toes.

But I repeat: she doesn’t love you. She will see you on the street, wag her tail, whine, and beg for you to pet her.

But remember, she is a demon in dog form. Her flirty dog-grin is a mask. Put out your hand to pet and you may not get it back.

But we love her.

I love Chelsea because she has taught me how to say no: “No, you can’t pet my dog.” “No she’s not friendly.”

I have made many small children cry by telling them “no.” They don’t understand that the cute grey terrier is really a terror.

She is a terror, because she is terrified. All the things she hates, she hates because she is afraid of them. Someone caused her to be afraid of most people, loud noises, sudden movements, and unpredictable situations. So we keep her safe by keeping her away from these things.

We keep her safe because we love her: despite her demon soul and gap-toothed werewolf smile.

We love her, because someone else didn’t. We love her because around us she isn’t a demon, she’s just a dog who loves to have her belly rubbed and her ears scratched.

We love her, because she loves us.

Sara Cleveland lives in Portsmouth with Chelsea, and with her husband, Jason Brown, and Chianti, their cat.