Bad dogs are the best dogs. My dog Rosie is bad to the bone (at least in her mind) and despite this, our bond has grown immensely since I adopted her five years ago.

Rosie loves puffing her chest out and barking at other dogs. At cats. At chickens. At squirrels. At people with weird hairdos. And she gets immense satisfaction from this activity. Is it distracting when she suddenly barks ferociously into my ear while I’m driving because she sees a roadrunner? Why, yes it is. How about when we’re walking and she doesn’t like the cut of another dog’s jib so she lunges? Well, that’s quite frustrating.

The thing is, even with all her bravado, she’s actually a mama’s girl. After a lunge or a bark, she hides behind me and her big sis Daisy. She sleeps next to my head every night. She nudges my leg with her nose as she follows me around the house (OK, this is actually a pushy behavior and only slightly cute). In fact, she’s nestled up against my leg as we speak.

I used to get frustrated when the “bad dog” would come out. But now I just correct her (although occasionally I can’t help but laugh). Bad to the bone may be her middle name, but she’s still my sweetheart.

Here is a poem I wrote in honor of Rosie:

My dog is a jerk, but I love her so; 

She barks at people she doesn’t know; 

She chases kitties and eats their poo;

She chases birds and bunnies too; 

She wakes me up throughout the night; 

She barks at every dog in sight; 

She eats the food right off our plates; 

The dog next door she truly hates; 

My dog is a jerk, but I love her so; 

She picks me up when I’m feeling low; 

She licks my face and makes me glad; 

She’s the best dog a girl ever had.

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