English bulldogs have the best sense of humor imaginable. They are antidepressants on four legs (well, until you get the vet bill). My first dog — I have only owned 3 — was an English bulldog named Bix. People say that my mother named him yet I swear I named him after cornetist Bix Beiderbecke (b. 1903) who I was listening to a lot of at the time.
Poor Bix Beiderbecke! A brilliant musician, he wanted his parents to approve of his vocation and to be proud. But his parents were stubborn Germans and after they died Bix cleaned out their place and found all of his records that he had given his parents over they years unopened in a closet. It broke his heart and he drank himself to death.
I was able to afford Bix the bulldog because I won a jackpot from a Reno, Nevada slot machine. I had rules: I could start out playing nickel or dime machines (now it is the ubiquitous penny machines) and if I won on those I could move up to quarters, then dollar machines. I won over three grand our first day in Reno and cashed in my jackpot and swam and read books the rest of the visit. I’m good that way.
For fifteen years I had wanted a bulldog but could not afford one nor did I have a lifestyle that could give it the time, love and attention it needed. I had Bix for 14 great years, ever since he was a pup, which is very old for a bulldog! (The picture above is not Bix, it is of a dog I follow on Instagram named Bella.)
Anyway, so my friend who committed suicide lately left all of his friends individually more than that Reno jackpot. When I got the letter from his bank letting me know this I thought, now I can get another bulldog and I will name it after my late friend!
But it is all so complicated these days. I have two small rescue dogs and a third would put me over the edge in every way. Dogs are a luxury and very expensive and I am an artist who lives below the poverty level they say. Morally I would feel horrible buying a fresh dog when there are so many dogs in shelters who need homes. (Although, rescues can be crazy and they come with mysterious pasts.) Plus, buying English bulldogs encourages more to be bred and they are so…manufactured! Their job of killing bulls has been obsolete for centuries yet they keep getting made (and need to be born cesarean due to their large heads). Recently there was an article on the BBC site about the necessity of breeding bulldogs with other breeds in order to save them as their origins come from such a small pool of dogs worldwide that they are becoming less and less healthy.
What is an English bulldog freak to do? For the present I follow about 50 bulldog accounts on Instagram and click nightly on the hearts beneath their pictures. I ESPECIALLY love Clayton, Lolie and Bella!
I think this calls for a Bix Beiderbecke song!