A Prairie Homo Companion: To Be More Like A Dog

A Prairie Homo Companion is a regular column that celebrates the Canadian prairies, canola fields and big skies, and the paradoxes of being a fine-ass lady prairie homo.

Header by Rory Midhani

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Early last week I was sitting and crying not necessarily because I was sad, but because I had so much work to do and I didn’t know how I was going to get it all done. All of my feelings of being overwhelmed needed somewhere to go and so I sat and I cried, softly, thinking no one would hear. I was wrong though. My dog heard me, and she came running up to me as I sat on my bed, her tail wagging excitedly, a chew-toy in her mouth. She jumped up — paws on my knees, pushing the chew-toy in my face as if to say, “Don’t cry. Play! How could you feel overwhelmed when there’re so many fun things to do in the world? So much to chew.”

COPYRIGHT MALAIKA ALEBA

COPYRIGHT MALAIKA ALEBA

This is a post about dogs, because this prairie homo wouldn’t be who she is today if it weren’t for dogs. It’s a well-known fact that cat-lover is synonymous for lesbian. I mean, pussy and cat can mean the same thing and queers girls love both; but I think there’s enough on the internet about the strange and wonderful connection between lady homos, boi homos, bi homos, and their feline obsessions. Remember that time I wrote about lady-loving-lady writers and the dogs who’ve inspired them? Well, I’m not finished with writing about dogs for the internet. I don’t think I ever will be. Virginia Woolf said that no woman can ever write enough. I wholeheartedly agree, and would like to add on that a woman can never write enough about her dog. I’m sure Woof would agree with me as well — after all, she did write a whole novel from a dog’s perspective.

PRAIRIE HOMO DOG COPYRIGHT MALAIKA ALEBA

PRAIRIE HOMO DOG
COPYRIGHT MALAIKA ALEBA

Dogs are very important to a prairie homo. Sometimes it can be hard to find other lady-loving-prairie-ladies who share your taste in books, are fantastic cooks, enjoy political debates, are addicted to CBC, are adventurous and edgy but not so adventurous and edgy it scares you, will teach you how to cross-country ski, speak a language other than the one you do so you can learn new words, are full of serenity to counteract your anxiety, are able to connect with you on all the levels, enjoy your quirky sense of humour, and are willing to dance badly with you in the kitchen (I have certain requirements, you know). Or maybe all of those perfect-for-you women are out there, but you want to stay inside because it’s cold, or it’s too hot and staying in to read Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal while eating ice cream and then French bread soaked in olive oil while drinking wine is your activity of choice because while you know you can drink that wine just as well as any alcoholic vineyard owner, flirting with women in crowded spaces (or even one-on-one) is not an activity on which you’d write an advice column. Your dog doesn’t care that you’re an anti-social drunk bookworm. She just tries to get in on the French bread and olive oil situation, and even when you tell her, “No! My food!” she stares at you with adoring eyes as if staying at home to eat and read is the best activity and you’re the best human for partaking in it.

I once had a very environmentally conscious roommate who insisted on keeping the heat turned incredibly low even in the middle of the winter. I spent a lot of time typing, then pausing to rub my hands together, or typing while wearing gloves, and my bed had about 7 blankets under which I shivered. My roommate suggested putting a water bottle in the bed, like they did back in the day before they used heat made from oil obtained by digging up the boreal forest, poisoning the rivers, and mutating the fish. “Y-y-yesss?” I agreed, and a water bottle did help, but you know what is even better? A woman obviously, but let’s not forget dogs! I admit, I am one of those people who lets her dog sleep in her bed, and if you think that’s gross or something, we’re probably not going to get along. The thing is, there have been many-a-night when my dog’s body heat is responsible for keeping me warm and asleep, as opposed to shivering and awake.

COPYRIGHT MALAIKA ALEBA

COPYRIGHT MALAIKA ALEBA

It’s finally warm now. I don’t need my dog as a heater, but last week, as I sat and cried, and she pushed her chew-toy into my face, I came to an important realization: I need to channel my inner dog. Sometimes it’s not enough to love dogs; it helps to kinda be like them too. Now, I’m not going to start saying hello by sniffing butts and pulling dead squirrels out from the ravine with my teeth, but I can appreciate the fact that however overwhelmed I may be feeling, there are still games of chew toy tug-of-war to be had. There are so many ways to play; so many fun things to do. When my dog gets mad, she’ll express herself in a healthy way by barking, but then she’ll let it go and either sleep or run in a circle and chase her tail. Nothing miserable is worth holding onto in her world because it only takes away from all the fun times to be had. Life is good. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to continue reading Why Be Happy When You Could be Normal? while my dog snores at my feet.

Malaika likes books, drinking tea, long conversations, dinner parties, making funny faces, bike rides, and dogs. Originally from Edmonton, she now lives in Montreal where she edits, runs, and writes about the Alberta Tar Sands for The Media Co-op. You can follow her on twitter @Malaika_Aleba.

Malaika has written 84 articles for us.

21 Comments

  1. I’m sorry to all the queers out there, but dogs are So. Much. Better. than cats. And that’s coming from someone who has two cats (rescues, no shelters here and six months later still trying to find them a home!).

    And now I really, really, really miss my dog. Thanks a lot, Malaika. :p

    But why does your dog’s ear look green in the first picture, out of curiosity?

  2. Your dog is so unbelievably adorable — and I don’t even like dogs! (Mildly traumatic experiences with dogs growing up… they kinda scare me now, just a tiny bit.)

    My life goal is to channel my inner cat and nap all day every day.

  3. Dogs are more than a blanket. But dogs are better as blankets.

    I want my dog to look at me right now and say ‘it’s all ok’… But you can’t take your dog to Uni or away from its human mother.

    • I am sorry going to have to be the ‘people’ in that situation of yours. I don’t get that connection with Cats. – I didn’t grown up with cats or dogs as my pets, but I would go around to friends houses a lot and their cats would somehow make there way towards me and sit down. – I really did not like that at all.
      I guess though cats can ‘love’. But they will never love me, because I wont love them.

  4. This made me miss my childhood dog so much! Ahhh! I’m in the planning stages of getting a Westie. I never want kids of my own, so I put my energy into making sure I will have a flexible work schedule and good home for my future dog. She will have a mohawk and be a badass puppy.

    • In my dream future, I have a bunch of kids, a bunch of dogs, an in-home library filled to maximum capacity with books, and obviously a spouse who loves all the dogs, the kids, the books, and me.

      I’m a little embarrassed for having admitted that to the internet :-O

  5. This is awesome.

    “When my dog gets mad, she’ll express herself in a healthy way by barking, but then she’ll let it go and either sleep or run in a circle and chase her tail. Nothing miserable is worth holding onto in her world because it only takes away from all the fun times to be had.”

    SO true! My girlfriend and I acquired two puppies about two months ago and we’ve learned so much. Not only about them, but about ourselves.

  6. oh this makes me have a lot of feelings!my dog could always cheer me up and I slept way better when she was in my bed, even when she was like idk catching rabbits in her dreams and going crazy in her sleep.I miss that so much

  7. As a child, when I would cry, my dog would bring me her toys one at a time and dump them in my lap. I’d toss them to the side and ignore her. Off she’d go only to return with yet another toy. After the fourth or fifth time I couldn’t help but laugh. The next time I’d get upset she would start with that last toy that seemed to make me laugh. Like in her mind, it was the purple squeeky frog that cheered me up. Can’t imagine my life without my dogs!

  8. “Nothing miserable is worth holding onto in her world because it only takes away from all the fun times to be had.”

    So completely true, and absolutely perfect.

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