Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dog is not the answer

...and now for something completely different!

People deal with stress in different ways. I get scared, which pisses me off, and then I attack whatever is pissing me off, and violently destroy the crap out of it, render it into tiny little quivering peeing bloody shreds, which I then set on fire and stomp on and call bad names. That's me.

My husband retreats immediately to the top of some remote inner Himalaya from where he'll issue infrequent communiques in response to whatever faint cries happen to reach him, form letters which invariably read 'I don't know', 'nothing', and 'no I didn't'. That's him.

This disparity in coping methods combined with a year of incredible personal upheaval finally resulted in me locking myself in my bedroom for two solid days, during which I did nothing but sob uncontrollably and smoke menthol cigarettes.

In the middle of the afternoon of the third day, as I was lying on the bed thinking about how truly vile menthol cigarettes are and wondering why I was smoking them, I heard his car door slam out in the driveway.

Then I heard a series of excited yips.

Say what?

Oh no.

Aw fuck.


Please God. Please God tell me that isn't a dog.



The bedroom door opened and in ran a dog.

"Guess what? " The Biker announced cheerfully.


Now, 'I got YOU a dog' is bullshit for 'In utter disregard for whatever the underlying cause of this present episode might be, I decided to use it as an opportunity to go get a dog from the pound without your input because I want a dog, and so I'm going to make like it's a sweet cuddly attempt at making up; and in the rapture of the moment, overcome by the mesmerizing cuteness rays emanating from the dog, you'll buy this, and everything will be great.'

I sat there on the bed in utter disbelief. I looked from one to the other, feeling my whole inner being just shrug and give up.

Fine. We have a dog.


Now to be honest, I really wanted to like Maxwell. Maxwell was a good boy and could have been a great boy given an experienced trainer. Experienced trainer, unfortunately, does not even remotely describe anyone who lives at this address. Still, he was a cute little guy, a mutt cross between a rat terrier and a shih tzu, and was as happy and good natured as the day was long.

He was also completely un-housebroken, and, as we were to find out, completely un-house-breakable.

He had a long white high-maintenance coat made of Fiberglas and static electricity that tangled itself into thousands of hard little knots that worked their way into his skin. He was a yapper. He was a climber. He was a humper. He was an eater of carpets and houseplants and shoes and upholstery and the corners of walls and furniture and books and mail.

He carried toilet paper around the house.

He climbed out of the windows.

He climbed into the dryer.

He drug my bras out of the dirty wash and out into the yard. And rolled on them. And got tangled up in them. And then wore them.

Until you looked out the window and realized your dog had been outside wearing a bra for God only knows how long, and ran out to get him, only he wriggled out from underneath the fence and ran off into the middle of the soccer field.

Wearing a bra.

If the lid on the toilet were down he would use it as a step in order to climb up onto the vanity where he'd eat soap. When the lid was up, he fell into the toilet trying to use it as a step to get up onto the vanity so he could eat soap.

His idea of going on a car ride meant to ride quietly in your lap, which is a total lie. Max's idea of a car ride was climbing on top of your head while you were going 75mph down the freeway. Sometimes it meant weaving himself through the steering wheel. It also meant leaping out any windows he found open, and sometimes we found ourselves driving down the road with half a dog dangling out of the side of the car. He would suddenly dive over the back of the seat and land on the side of your face and neck, claws extended, and have to be forcibly removed. Not that he wasn't being safely restrained; he was! I swear to God! Right up until he....wasn't, somehow. And he certainly wasn't scared. He was having the time of his life! He was just being a puppy.

A puppy spawned by Hell.

Since I'm a stay-at-home wife, it fell to me to 'train' him. Dad could go to work each day and come home and either ignore or enjoy doggies' cute antics per his whim. I had the responsibility of attempting to civilize an animal that you literally could not turn your attention away from for a single moment. I now have something of an inkling of what it must be like to raise a hyperactive child. You simply could not have anything but your fullest attention on this animal one hundred percent of the time or he was trying to open drawers, climb into the stove, pulling books off the shelves, or drinking coffee.

Yes. Drinking coffee. He preferred it black.

Cute puppy Maxwell was a non-stop Maxwell. The high speed mayhem and destruction caused by a caffeinated Maxwell was worthy of Sam Peckinpah . But yeah...somewhere along the line before he came to us he'd developed a taste for coffee. At first it was kind of cute. He would sit on the kitchen floor in the morning and stare at the coffee maker and whine. "You aren't getting any, buddy," I'd say. "It'll stunt your growth!"

"Oh yeah, chubby?" he'd grin. "Just set that cup down where I can get at it."

And as soon as your attention was diverted there he'd be with his whole head jammed in the cup, sucking it down like a little bilge pump. I'd chase him around with a rag, wipe off his steaming, coffee-sodden face, and feel him beginning to vibrate as I held him in my arms. One of the very first things I learned about Max was to to keep my coffee mug inaccessible. I was finding full cups for a week after we got rid of him, stashed on top of the entertainment center, the cabinets and the refrigerator.

The novelty of Maxwells' antics soon wore thin when his destructive campaign moved from general household items to things that belonged to the Biker. When he pulled up long strands of carpet and ate them, that was him 'just being a puppy'. It was a case of 'You shouldn't have left those lying around' when Maxwell ate my glasses. Chewing shoes was funny when they were my shoes. It rapidly became not so funny when they were the Bikers' 250.00 Red Wing work boots. Or his favorite running shoes. Or his socks. Or his pillow. Or...

Maxwell could jump like a little kangaroo. It was amazing. If you've ever seen a Jack Russel terrier leaping six feet straight up over and over and over again as though it had a spring in its butt you have an idea of what I mean.

Max liked to jump up, catch the drawstring of the Bikers' pajama pants in his teeth and give it a tug. He'd come out of nowhere, leap, catch the string between his teeth and the Biker would let out a whoop, by which time Max was a speck in the distance.

Tugging on the string quickly became 'giving the string a good healthy yank and pulling the pajama pants halfway down the Bikers' ass'. And that was hilarious....right up until that fateful day that Maxwell...missed. And nipped the wrong...drawstring.

But the big turning point came when we caught Maxwell humping the baby.

This perplexed the baby and made everyone else fairly uncomfortable. Everyone but Maxwell, that is. No, you'd lift him off the baby for the 500th time and he'd keep right on going, humpityhumpityhumpityhumpityhumpity, humpity, humpityhumpity.....humpity.......hump........what?

So it was that the Biker finally came to agree that he'd made a spectacularly bad decision, and posted Maxwell on Craigslist.

A seller quickly responded, and Maxwell and all his accouterments were gone two days later. I felt kind of dishonest taking their 200.00, truthfully, but somehow I found it within me to do so.

And you know what I did with that 200.00?
I took that 200.00 and went out and bought STUPID SHIT.

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