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Swift: It's a hard walk life for this dog owner

Tammy Swift, columnist

One of the more bizarre phenomena of dog ownership is when dogs start to look like their owners. Of course that stocky, brown-eyed man with the stubborn chin owns a bulldog. Naturally, that fine-boned, high-maintenance-looking lady with the white, curly hair has a white toy poodle.

Although Kita looks nothing like me, I have heard that our temperaments are eerily alike. We both tend to fixate on things (she on bunnies; me on chocolate bunnies), we both can be a bit princessy and we both have bad knees. Neither one of us can get through the night without getting up for a drink of water and a bathroom break.

A few weeks ago, Kita saw a baby bunny duck under a nearby lilac bush. She ran a few feet, then stopped in mid-pursuit and emitted a little, old lady sigh.

That is exactly how I feel whenever I try to chase an ice cream truck.

But every once in awhile, you run into a real misfit — or maybe mismutt — couple, and you wonder how they got together.

Case in point: Last week, I was walking Kita when we spotted a gentleman walking a dog across the street. He's a regular guy: 40-ish, Vikings jersey, probably drives a Ford F-150.

The dog is an adorable little piece of cotton fluff — impeccably groomed and tipping the scales at maybe 5 pounds. She also is a pistol — stopping in her tracks to stare down any bypassers who dare to make eye contact and standing at attention to growl at poor, old Kita from across the street. Whenever she sees a robin or a squirrel, she practically rips off his arm. She is an Ultimate Fighting Champion inside an adorable 3-year-old ballerina's body.

The man is half-dragging her down the street because she is pulling on her leash constantly. It is the most joyless dog-walking I've ever seen. He looks absolutely miserable, kind of like a defeated husband who has been dispatched to CVS to buy feminine hygiene products for his wife.

I wonder why someone who seems to benefit so little from quality time with man's best friend would bother taking such good care of her. Why would he groom her to perfection, walk her and spoil her as if she's the Gwyneth Paltrow of the canine world?

And then it dawns on me: THAT is the sad march of obligation. That is not his dog. No. That has to be his significant other's dog.

When his wife or girlfriend mentioned getting a pet, he had probably hoped for something manly — like a German Shorthaired Pointer or a black Lab. Instead, they got Floofity McButters here and she has taken over the household. She probably sleeps on a satin pillow, stuffed with humanely harvested swan's down, in the middle of the marital bed.

And now here he is, in broad daylight, walking an angora rat, and silently praying that none of his buddies from his softball team see him.

Poor feller.

Sometimes, it's a dog eat man world.

Readers can reach columnist Tammy Swift at