Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Dog Days of Summer

I hope everyone stops by Michael Offutt's blog to wish him congrats on being offered a contract from a publisher. It's kinda big deal. So I offer him up my best wishes. 


My wife was away this past weekend. It was just me, my teenaged son, and a few dogs. I naively thought that would mean a weekend full of storytelling genius was about to unfold before me. What it ended up being was a weekend coddling a teeny little dog that hasn’t been away from my wife for more than a couple hours since we owned it. That dog is very needy. It whimpered, whined, cried, and mostly tried to sit on my lap, or crawl down my shirt, for the few days my wife wasn’t around. Wow.

I realized that while both my dogs are pretty cool, there is a down side. My big girl, Lucy, is in a lot of ways, the best dog I’ve ever had.  Two things about her make her higher maintenance than I am comfortable with.

She lays down for like, 10 seconds...
...and she gets up and leaves this behind.
1)      Her fur: This dog produces more hair than is possible, period. It can’t be true. That doggy fur is long, like hair, and gets wound into the carpet and has managed to ruin two vacuum cleaners, and one wire brush that I started using to try to get that stuff out of the carpet with. I have to do something daily or it will get out of hand. Anyone who thinks I just need to brush her more is wrong, brushing makes it worse. Why? Because if I don’t brush her, her hair will get matted. Matted hair means less stuff falling out all the time. Actually, I’ve tried both ways and it doesn’t matter. I brush her out for an hour and I have enough hair to stuff a pillow. The next morning when I wake up and equal amount of hair will be in my carpet.
2)      Her slobber: Ever see Turner and Hooch? My breed was a cross between something (I forget) and a Saint Bernard. I get all the slobber that comes with that. She’ll come into the house and start shaking those jowls and huge wads of mucus like slobber will go everywhere – the TV, the Laptop, the Couch, the Stove, anything left on the counter, the walls, and of course, on any person. I’ve gotten accustomed to wiping everything down after she comes into a room. The smell of cooking food makes it a thousand times worse.

Those are pretty big things, I cleaned the floors of the house twice this weekend, and cleaned slobber off of everything as well. It won’t matter, I guarantee you that after she’s been in the house for more than a couple of hours that everything will be covered in slobbery hair. I’m so tired of it. Ugh.

Then we move to the little one, that thing has a whole suite of emotional disorders, mostly tied to his need to always be around my wife. He’s actually a playful, friendly little thing. Not really given to much barking or growling. He just always needs to be on someone’s lap, or chest, shoulders, whatever. If you’re in a chair, sitting up, he will jump between you and the backrest and find a way to make himself comfortable. WTF? Why would a dog do that? It’s weird. It’s like the irony police have sentenced me to be punished for saying the main reason dogs are so much better than cats is because of their love of attention and social interaction. Yea, but this dog is like an emotional black hole, just sucking up all the joy you have and still wanting more. I’m so tired. Here’s the thing though… that isn’t the worst part.

1)      He isn’t potty trained. This dog seems uncommonly smart to me. I don’t know how it can be, its head isn’t any bigger than a large nut, I’m not sure how much brain one could fit inside that little skull.  That thing knows that no one wants it to take a dump in the hallway, in the kitchen, in the living room, the closet, or anywhere else. But it still does. The worst part. He spends so much time wearing you out by always getting up in your face, that as soon as he leaves you think, “thank god, I can take a breath”. What happens of course, is that he’s pissed in the corner, and has taken a dump on the pair of socks I took off 5 minutes ago.  After 15 seconds he’s back and I’m thinking, no way in hell that dog could possibly have gone to the bathroom, it’s only been a few seconds. Trust me, it’s too late.
I could totally crap here and everyone would think he did it.
2)      Related to the above point, he does it on purpose. I’m sure of it. I said before he’s smart. He also is lazy, like a little kid that can’t be bothered to go potty because if he craps himself he knows his mother will just clean him up. He doesn’t care. My wife has done all this stuff that’s supposed to make dogs want to go outside, sprays, pads, um, treats, whatever. That damn thing just doesn’t care.

I took the little one over to my mother’s house on Saturday, I said, ‘I only need you to keep him for a few minutes, I’m just going to get a bite to eat, and I’m afraid he’s suicidal and don’t want to leave him alone’. My mother laughed and assured me she could handle him.

She called me a few minutes after I left and said, ‘your dog crapped on my carpet’.

Of course he did. That dog uses crap the way most dogs use pee. It’s like a marker for his territory or something. I claim this land as my own! I will prove it by crapping all over it. Dumb dog.

The result of these two together? A carpet that looks like it’s been salvaged from the dump. I’ve got crap that I find from one dog that has drool and hair all over it from the other. It’s like they combine their powers to ruin the house. We have to keep those pet stain removers stashed in almost every room of the house. These pets, without the missus around to take up a big portion of the baggage that comes with them, are very stressful. It’s like having a couple of toddlers that just screw everything up if you so much as turn you head to cough.

Geez, I should probably end this rant now. I do love the things, but after this weekend I’m not sure I can say I think it’s worth it. I need a vacation from my dogs.


Rogue Mutt said...

This is why I'm glad I don't have pets anymore. They're so much work. Though I'd love to have a real St. Bernard...or a bulldog of course. Though both are really expensive for a purebred.

Madeline Bartos said...

I'm a cat person all the way, but I don't mind dogs. It sounds like you got stuck with the crazy ones though!

Ellie Garratt said...

OMG. Now that was one hell of a weekend. Fur, slobber, and a whining dog. Oh, dear.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Might I suggest fish? Or a pet rock?
You didn't mention chewing, which was my childhood dog's trick. Ate the legs off a coffee table once. At my 45 record collection as well.

Laila Knight said...

LMAO. I think you're just stressing the poor animal who misses mommie. Speak to it as if it were a baby...that's something my husband does not understand. My dogs just look at him like if he has something on his face when he talks. Doggies like pretty sounds. (Buy yourself a Dyson Vac. too. It works well for my shelties' fur...and they last forever.) :)

Andrew said...

I used to have those two dogs. But the big one was black, and the little one was white. But without all the crap. I did teach mine to go outside. Let's not talk about the backyard, though.

Rusty Webb said...

Rogue - If I lived alone, I don't think I would choose to own a pet. In fact, after having something like 7 dogs die when I was between the ages of 12 and 16 I decided the heartache was too much to handle and didn't get another one until a couple of years ago.

Madeline - I think cats are way lower maintenance than dogs, but they're also way sneakier. I don't trust them.

Ellie - It was tough, you should hear about the things I left out. I barely covered the half of it.

Alex - Fish are no good, those things are easier to kill than plants. I've never managed to keep one alive more than a week. As for rocks, well, I don't want to make myself look too much of a jerk, but I managed to kill my pet rock when I was a kid too. I really shouldn't have any responsibilities.

Laila - I did all the baby talk, I'm not mean to their faces, just behind their backs. We'll have to get another vacuum soon, that wire brush is ruined and it's all I got left besides my shop vac. I'll see how the dyson's are. I won't get my hopes up though.

Andrew - We rescued the pooper, my wife says if they aren't house trained young it can be really hard. She hasn't given up yet, but it is way harder than it was for Lucy, our big dog. At least her issues aren't really her fault.

Michael Offutt, Author said...

I own no pets. I'm allergic to them. However, this sounds like a nightmare. You have my sympathies. Thank you for the shout out :)

Trisha said...

Your doggies are cute, however dogs are too much work for me. Hehe

Danette said...

Chihuahua's are always like that-- they will crap in your house and will NOT go outside for their toilet training. I had one years ago. He was cute but I could not live with an animal that always pooped/peed in the house. He had to go. And I also learned to choose dogs that were less high maintenance where the fur was concerned. Doberman Pincers are actually great dogs. Usually not terribly high maintenance and... no drooling! Also, despite their reputation they are very loveable and friendly. I don't have a dog right now but if I ever get one again it will definitely be an outside dog with shortish hair. Or at least a mostly outside dog. BTWL Glad you mentioned Michael's good news! I had just stopped by his blog but he'd already posted several posted and I didn't scroll down (I've been away for several days).

Rusty Webb said...

No problem Michael - glad to share the good news.

Trisha - Well, they're too much work for me too, but I still got 'em.

Danette - I'm about dogged out when it comes to acquiring more. But I'll keep them in mind should I go insane at some point and decided to get more.

Nancy said...

Your picture and caption really did make me laugh out loud, something I needed to do. Thanks