Monday, March 13, 2006

agitatos and girlbogs

I always wonder what third world citizens must think of the way Americans treat their pets. We own dogs, and while we are not disgusting in our dog ownership-no outfits, no oojy cuteums voices-we are kind of stupid when it comes to them. For one thing, they eat WAY better than us, at least if you look at cost percentages. And this we spend on animals who lick their own asses.
We must be doing something right, though...we seem to have had the evil dogs forever. First came Jett. She was to be my husbands' dog. She was followed several years later by Opie, who is supposedly my dog. The truth of the matter is both animals exert equal satanic dominion over our household, friends and guests. And, uh, we actually bought Opie for Jett. We didn't want her to feel lonely. Yeah, its pathetic.
Both dogs have nicknames. Jett is the Girlbog, because she is a girl, and like bogs, poo is inevitable. Opie is the Spud, a.k.a. AgiTato, because he is in some mysterious way very much like a potato.* He does not walk; neither does he amble or stroll. He tatoes. Stubbing along in a perfect state of zen mind, head lifted, eyes closed, completely enraptured by some divine odor, oblivious to everything in his path, unhurried, unworried...this is Opie, passant, tatoing.
Jett grew up into a diva of the first water. Opie was already full grown when we got him. Despite being older, male-er and stronger, he is completely happy to let Jett have the run of things.
This is not passivity, however, even though he allows himself to be grabbed mid whiz by Jett and humped-it's complete and utter indifference. He will let Jett-or any dog, for that matter-hump away on the south end of him as though he were one of those nickel horsie ride at the grocery store. Dog X might even work itself into doggie paroxsysme (that's Fronsh, y'all), panting and grinning and drooling and losing its footing, tossing it's head like a ponygirl...meanwhile Opie will be blinking sleepily, chewing his toe.
Jett is a dogs' dog; there is nothing cute about her. The poor thing is caught in a terrible dillemma, though, because for all her instincts she is no bigger than a rat terrier and the fact simply hasn't registered. If you go to pick her up she'll go all stiff and awkwardly twist around exactly the way a large dog does when you try and lift it; kind of ridiculous in an animal no larger than a loaf of bread. She won't sit on your lap for the same reason-she is a BIG dog, not a baby lap dog. She digs dens. She points birds. I once had to pull her away by the collar from a muskrat lodge she was desparately, even compulsively, trying to pull apart...a pile of logs and limbs the size of a city bus. The oddest behaviour is her fascination with white rocks. She would spot one while she was wading and completely submerge, head and all, open her eyes, then crawl across the bottom army-man style until she was able to grab the rock in her mouth. Then she'd stand, trot back to shore and put it on the ground. Lather, Rinse, Repeat. She'd leave a conical pile of round white baseball sized rocks next to every body of water we visited. Is she a breed example of the rare submarine baseball hound? Like Area 54, Stonehenge and much of the Catholic religion, it is a mystery.
My husband is Opies' manservant. I am a convenient source of warm flub when the heater goes off. Opie is Opie. The rest of the world exists only per its relative utility vis a vis Opie. He is a benevolent despot, but a demanding one nonetheless; he wants what he wants, but when his wants are satisfied, why then the rest of the world may proceed. He will be picked up and put on the bed. No matter the bed is scarcely more than futon height from the floor, more than simple for him to waddle up on despite his stubby legs. No, he will be lifted. If you choose to ignore him, he will voice his displeasure and generally Agitate. He does this by repeatedly flumping his butt on the floor and sighing heavily in disgust. He will nose. He will bump. And he will make a sound in his throat I have never heard another dog make.
Imagine you sing bass. Now imagine you also have a terrible case of bronchitis, and that during the past day you have eaten a large amount of elderly beans and that they're reeeeeping and buuu-orpping around in your gut. Now-the sound you might make if someone slowly sat down on your stomach-THAT is the sound Opie makes when something displeases him. OO UHHHrrrrr MMM rr MM. RRoo nnn? MMoooo rrrr.
Neither dog has aged badly. Of course where once they were entirely black they now have white points, and they spend lots more time sleeping, but other than that they are still exactly the same. This must be hybrid vigor or something they're putting in cat food that my dogs are reaping the secondhand benefit of; either way. Both of them are doggie Methuselahs and neither one is showing it in ill health, deafness or blindness and for that I am so grateful. They get so much enjoyment out of the things in their world that its heartwarming to be able to provide them with a comfortable version of dog retirement. Rotton smelly dogs.

* opie even has his own emblem, *, an asterix. If you see this sigil shining on the clouds some uneasy, dismal night, stay indoors. the Dark Tato is abroad.


  1. So, is the Dark Tato like the Dark Knight? And Opie is Robin... I'm gonna stop now...
    Your dogs sound like fun. I've never been much of a dog person myself. My Uncle has these great lollopy German gray monsters. Bleh. Half a drain and they'd be dangerous.

  2. dogs. they're dumb. they emit aromas. but you just can't help lovin' 'em.

  3. Anonymous9:52 AM

    They sound darling, and I love them both.

  4. You make the best descriptions!
    He tatoes!

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