Remember that dog food jingle, “My Dog’s Better Than Your Dog?” I bring it up because my dog Jackie, a.k.a. Food Issues, is indeed better than your dog and, before you get huffy, I’ll happily prove it.

Not only is Jackie cute, clever and very well-behaved, he also came up with a 12-point plan to reduce the effects of global warming. Be honest. Does your dog even care about global warming? Admittedly I’m slightly exaggerating about the 12-point plan (Jackie can only count to one), but the rest is absolutely true, except maybe for the well-behaved part.

Visitors to my house claim Jackie nips, but it’s not so much a nip as a mouth hug. And who doesn’t want a hug? Yes, sometimes Jackie’s “hugs” leave marks and require a tetanus shot, but I tell people to consider it a memento of his deep infection, I mean…affection.

The first time I saw the best-dog-in-the-world, he was in a cage at PetSmart and the sign outside said, “Food issues.” When a handler let him out, my future dog placed both paws on my shoulders and sent me a telepathic message that clearly said, “Release me from my bondage, Human.” David, my husband, was flirting with a sweet but obviously inferior puppy and I said, “We have a new dog. His name is Food Issues.”

David tried to argue his case for the other animal, but I wouldn’t be swayed. I frequently tell this story to remind my dog who loves him the most in the family.

Food Issues proved to be a clunky name so we re-named him Jackie. And yes, when it comes to food, he’s far more discerning than the average canine. For instance, most dogs will happily gobble up any old cheese. Jackie, on the other hand, will first sniff the cheese to determine if its handcrafted or aged. His favorite is triple-creme Brie, but he will settle for double creme if that’s all you have.

Jackie can be slightly temperamental, but that’s only because he served six months of hard pound time. The experience was so traumatizing my husband and I never say the word “pound” around him. We’ve purchased a metric scale so we can freely discuss our weight in terms of kilograms instead of you-know-whats. We also never eat a certain type of cake or read work by a poet named Ezra. Minor inconveniences for the world’s best dog.

Did I mention that Jackie never slobbers? He considers it undignified. Also when it’s time to do “his business,” he prefers to go on Park Avenue, which is one of Augusta’s most upscale streets. Naturally we pick up after him and he insists we use monogrammed disposal bags.

Still unconvinced about Jackie’s best-dog status? Stop by for a visit and see for yourself. Jackie, himself, will greet you at the door and, if you’re very lucky, you might even get a mouth hug. No worries if he breaks the skin. At our house we buy disinfectant spray in bulk.

This article appears in the June-July 2016 issue of Augusta Magazine.

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