What happens when a child finds the love of her life? Monique Rogers draws a life lesson out of her addiction to small white dogs.
Obsessions come in all shapes and intensities. They can vary from squandermania: an irrational desire to waste money; to islomania: described as having an intense interest in islands. When I was 11 years old I became obsessed with little white balls of fluff.
While suffering from maltesomania I experienced side effects such as long-winded monologues on how cute Maltese dogs are and squealing at the sight of any Maltese I encountered. I thought they were the cutest things since my teddy bear, Jemma.
More commonly known as the Maltese, these little white balls of fluff caught my attention from the moment I first laid eyes on one. My cousin had a Maltese called Cosmopolitan, Cosmo for short (named after the magazine, not the drink).
Cosmo loved to play hide-and-seek.
Unfortunately for me, he also enjoyed a celebratory jump after finding a playmate.
So during my first meeting with a Maltese I had the dubious honour of being decked by a dog.
Not long after this I began pestering my parents about buying a Maltese.
I became a professional at listing all the benefits of owning our very own little white ball of fluff.
First, I reasoned, a dog of this size is a very economical addition to the household, considering it’s smaller in volume than what a larger dog eats in a single day.
Second, I would be able to hug the fluff without hyperventilating and losing clear liquid through my nose. You see, Maltese are one of the few dogs that have wool instead of hair, thus solving the fears of the hay-fever afflicted. The idea of a non-shedding dog was music to my mother’s ears.
Third, we could buy a female and start a breeding program. This would, of course, rake in loads of cash considering that Maltese puppies cost a bit more then the Heinz 57 variety from the RSPCA.
I even used photos to further my case, pointing out their cute little faces and big black eyes.
This continued for what seemed years.
Then, one month later, a trip to the dentist gave me hope. The dental secretary’s Maltese was pregnant and she told us she was going to be selling the puppies. I got so excited that as soon as we stepped out of the dentist’s door I pleaded once again with my dad. This time I got a smile and “I’ll talk to your mum.” Later that afternoon my parents told me they would get me a Maltese puppy. I was overjoyed and expressed my joy as best I could with my still-numb mouth—straining to achieve a smile worthy of such an occasion.
In the following months my obsession with the white fluffy balls grew as I determined to be an expert in everything fluffy. After days of intense searching I found what I was looking for—a thick, hardback book devoted to everything a future Maltese owner, like myself, needed to know. As I pondered the pages I imagined what my own little female puppy would be like; the ribbons I would tie in her hair and the puppies I could breed.
Finally came the day of the birth of the Maltese puppies. The litter of four were all males. I was slightly devastated after discovering that my dream wouldn’t be fulfilled. My puppy would be a boy, not a girl, and even after being promised the pick of the litter my enthusiasm only slightly lifted.
Then I saw him. He was a perfect little ball of white fluff, small enough to fit in my hand. I fell in love and my passion was rekindled.
Although I have since outgrown my maltesomania, I often wonder why it is that obsessions make the trivial seem larger than life, often causing us to lose interest in more important matters. Perhaps it’s a reflection of our heart’s desire to love and be loved.