Aidan is a pug. His face is wide and furrowed and something about the set of his jaw makes Aidan have the most pouty, disapproving expression I have ever seen on a dog, although that could be because he is a sensitive, frequently offended chap and so often truly is pouting disapprovingly.
Aidan's past is shrouded in mystery. My mother-in-law found him at a gas station in L.A. or some other such spot that a pug has no business being without an attendant. From his skittish behavior, clinginess, and racism, Davey has speculated that Aidan was probably treated badly by his first owner, the one who let him go to gas stations alone, and that the person was probably Latino. Aidan hates people that shade of tan. If you have toasty bron skin and dark hair watch out for Aidan, because he will bark at you from a safe distance. Sometimes he'll chase you if he feels he has the upper hand, which he never does. He's barely any bigger than my cat and he gets scared easily. I don't know where he gets these bursts of bravery, but I think it depends on whether or not Davey is outside with him because he knows Davey will snatch him from danger's arms if his victim decides to punt him across the yard in retaliation for his abuse.
Aidan's racist barking shouldn't be funny to me because it's bad behavior, but it really cracks me up. You see, Aidan has been wearing a sweater lately because it's been cold and it turns out Aidan really loves being dressed in outfits. He seems to feel more confident when he has clothes on, and he likes to show himself off when he's wearing something new. This sweater is the only non-holiday themed outfit he has, so it's the one he wears every day. It's orange and white striped with a skull and crossbones appliqued on the back. He looks like a children's-television-style bully when he wears it. This is why I think it's so hilarious when he runs outside and stands at the alert, his curly tail coiled tightly against his butt and his floppy ears perked, barking at the neighbors. He looks like a fat little pug sausage, but he really thinks he's being intimidating. You can tell by the way he runs back inside after Davey goes to yell at him to stop barking and come inside that he's very proud of himself for scaring away the Mexicans. Racist dog.
The first time I ever met Aidan he hated me. Davey and I had just gotten engaged and he took me to meet his parents for the first time. Aidan was at his Mom's house that day, and after it became clear to him that I was indeed there with Davey and was probably not going to leave, he started giving me the stink eye. I was going to pay for my nerve. How dare I come into his house and steal attention from him! How dare I!
"Hi, Aidan," I said, trying to be friendly. He sat on his haunches and scowled at me, refusing even to sniff my ugly, man-stealing hand. I stood back up.
"He doesn't like you," laughed Davey, pleased that yet another rivalry for his affection was brewing, this time between different species.
"He's going to eventually," I said grimly, following Davey into the bathroom where he was about to shave his face. Aidan, not about to lose a chance to show me who was Davey's favorite, came with us. He plopped to a seat next to the bath tub, his hind legs pointing off in the same direction in a casual pose designed to show me that this was something he watched Davey do all the time and that he was about to use this opportunity to cut me down. He stared at me, contempt shooting at me out of his bug eyes like laser beams. It was scathing. Then he looked at Davey, raising his chin to the ceiling in disapproval. "This bitch?" he seemed to say, looking back over at me judgementally.
"Hi, Aidan," I said.
He turned back to Davey, disgusted. "Seriously. This bitch?"
"I know, she's stupid isn't she, Prince Aidan?" Davey cooed. "You're so much better than her."
I rolled my eyes.
It didn't take Aidan long to decide I was okay. He soon discovered that when Davey wasn't paying enough attention to Aidan, I was a useful pawn in his rudimentary mind games. Davey would shove Aidan off of his lap so he could devote more attention to Starcraft II and Aidan, incensed, would trot over to me. He would place himself under my arm, staring at Davey disdainfully all the while. We spent a lot of time together in this fashion, both of us on the bed killing time while Davey played his games. I would read his Nana's gossip magazines and absentmindedly stroke Aidan's roly poly back while he snorted and farted.
At some point during all of this, Aidan realized that I'm fantastic. I had begun to expect it, but I wasn't sure until pre-Thanksgiving at Davey's Nana's house. Davey and I had intended on arriving together, but one of my friends was crying over a guy so I had her come over to my apartment instead so I could soothe her for a while before meeting Davey at dinner. When I arrived, my teary-eyed friend* in tow, Aidan melted at the sight of me, like a pat of butter on a warm day. I crouched down to greet him. He threw himself against my legs.
"What's up, buddy?" I asked, scratching behind his ears. He gazed at me wetly, his eyebrows knit together pathetically. His expression said it all. "There's all these people in my house," he pouted, "and I don't know any of them and I want them to go away and I don't know where Davey is but I know who you are and... and... I love yooooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuuuuuu."
"Buck up," I said, scratching around his collar.
"Don't leave me," he begged, trying to get onto my lap.
"Oh, Aidan," I sighed, settling myself on the ground so he could sit on me. He pressed himself comfortably against my bosom and closed his eyes, snorting and farting all the while.
*She didn't need to cry. She found herself in possession of a nice new boyfriend by Christmas, one who thinks she poops diamonds and vomits emeralds. She is much happier now.