Are Diamonds Really a Girl’s Best Friend?

Dinah Chong Watkins avatar

by Dinah Chong Watkins |

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She wasn’t my first. That bit of history belonged to Victor.

Obsessed at the time with the suave and masterful Victor Newman character from the soap opera “The Young and the Restless,” I cuddled the floppy ball of fur that shared his name. Although he didn’t have any similar traits that Victor the TV star was known for — being ruthless, power hungry, and married eight times — I nevertheless bestowed upon him the actor’s name.

Victor was a good and faithful dog, but I left him with a boyfriend I had at the time so that I could go abroad to work. When I returned two years later, the dog was still there, but the boyfriend was not. 

Margo, born in the Midwestern U.S., and flown to Hong Kong, was a bouncy, take-charge corgi on the lookout for cattle to corral. Unfortunately, the closest she came were the Godzilla-sized cockroaches that skittered about the alleys of the tropical city-island.

Initially, my husband and I were “DINKWADs” — Dual Income, No Kids, With A Dog. Margo loved our little setup and the constant attention she received as “the baby.” Then, the real baby arrived, and Margo was demoted to “family pet.” This was decades before the “Dog Whisperer,” and at the time, dogs didn’t do depression. But something in Margo had changed. She went from frisky to grumbly, and like the senile retiree across the hall, downright cantankerous. 

Being a first-time mom, I was putting out fires every second. “He’s hiccuping!” “His diaper is leaking!” “He’s crying in an unfamiliar octave!” Poor Margo. She looked up at me with her biggest puppy dog eyes,  but all I could do was give her a micro-scratch while I dashed to the nursery, burp cloths in hand.

Then, the hammer came down. Actually it was more like a lightbulb popping on. Our son would break out into a rash whenever he played with the dog. The doctor confirmed his allergy, and there was no need for a coin flip — Margo had to go. But her journey was short, as she went next door to live with my friend who was in danger of becoming a “SINC” — Single Income with Nine Cats. 

It was 20 years later when I found my Baozi, which is Chinese for “dumpling.” I went specifically to get another corgi, but when I saw a corgi puppy’s watery eyes and lackluster stance, I knew it wouldn’t be around much longer. Instead, an overgrown hamster-like dog was sprinting and careening into every corner of the slickly tiled room, ecstatic to be free from her tiny metal cage. They told me she was a chow chow. The only thing I knew about chows was that Martha Stewart had an imperiously huge one.

“How big do they get?” I asked the owner.

“Not big, only 60 pounds,” the owner replied.

“Sixty pounds, eh? I can handle that,” I said confidently.

Lying in wait, my scleroderma laughed at my hubris.

dogs | Scleroderma News | Dinah's orange-headed chow chow, Baozi, sits and smiles at the camera.

Baozi, a chow chow, is one of the reasons dogs have been an important part of the storyline of Dinah’s life. (Photo by Dinah Chong Watkins)

If you combined an aristocratic king from a Disney cartoon, a dog, a cat, a gray wolf, and a pubescent tween, you’d get a chow. Intelligent, aloof, and studiously clean (OK, not so tweeny), a chow is a one-person dog that maddeningly knows what you’re telling it, but is too cool to do what you’re telling it to do (so very tweeny).

As I progressively lost more fine motor skills in my fingers and constantly began to drop items, I thought to myself, “Why can’t Baozi be my service dog?”

The first dog trainer I called hung up as soon as I told him I had a chow. The second was more optimistic but insisted I buy the six-month, full-board package, with a six-month weekly follow-up. When I told her I only needed my dog to pick up things like dropped credit cards, she laughed and hung up. The third dog trainer, a broad man with a swarthy mustache, asked me to bring the dog in. Three months later, Baozi picked up items on command, and by “command,” I mean I first had to show her the treat. It’s a fair exchange.

It’s been touted that “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.” But diamonds are slippery, pokey, and small (unless you’re a Kardashian). Plus, wearing them in the wrong place at the wrong time can lead to your being relieved of them — and the finger they were stuck on. A dog, on the other hand, doesn’t care what you look like, what afflicts you, whether you’ve made the rent, or whether you feel you deserve to be loved. Our pets are blinded by love. 

So, is a diamond really a girl’s best friend? Only if that turns out to be the dog’s name. 


Note: Scleroderma News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Scleroderma News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to scleroderma.


Sheri Olshan avatar

Sheri Olshan

Good article! Dogs are a girl's (and everyone's) best friend. Can't live without one. I have a 10-week old mini Australian Sheperd/Poodle mix puppy giving me great joy (and smart!). Thank you.


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