Brooke was out of town this past weekend, which can only mean two things: 1. I got a chance to catch up on my Craigslist erotic massage meetings (too soon?), and 2. Puppy went full Sling Blade on me. I get that he’s just an animal, and that in his primitive brain there are conditions for survival, one of which being the presence of the woman who saved him from being dropped on his head more than just that one time, but Puppy is peculiar when it comes to routine. Meaning he treats change like a hypochondriac treats an itch, i.e. Holy fuck, we’re all gonna die.
[Side Note: Sorry to have to tell you this way, honey, but if you wants kids we’re going to need at least three more family members. Like on site. At all times. Maybe how the Indians do it, where their huts are all connected through an uncomplicated system of sticks and tarps. The point is, if Puppy is a two-person job I imagine little Smith (that’s our choice for a boy’s name because we want him to be a spy), will need at least four caretakers, one of whom whose sole responsibility will be to convince him that when daddy pets him behind the ear it’s only because that’s the only sign of affection he is comfortable with.]
Compounding Puppy’s fear of change, the weather has recently started doing that Miami summer thing where it rains like God is purging the earth of useless organic food stands for at least an hour a day, coinciding precisely with the time of day Puppy likes to refer to as IF I HAD PANTS I’D BE CRAPPING THEM. Not that he runs around the apartment in a helpless tizzy; he just sits at attention, staring at me with this look on his face that says, “Ahem dipshit, are you going to do anything about that?”
Which is no big deal, so long as you’re secure in your humanity and can look a dog in his dog eye and understand that this is an animal whose emotional state is determined by things like the presence of rawhide and smelling new people’s pants. And he won’t remember this in five minutes anyhow.
Leaving the house though, that’s when things get tricky. It’s like separation anxiety on HGH. In Puppy’s mind every time you leave when it’s raining outside it’s because you know that this is it – the world is ending and you can only take so much (your wallet, keys and a coupon for Target) and clearly Puppy will be left to fend for himself during the end of days. The panic in his eyes is unmistakable. The overwhelming burden of self sufficiency is just too much; he can’t even reach the dog food.
My bright idea then is to desensitize him to the outside world right after it stops raining, as though the dewy grass and puddle-laden sidewalks are all grizzly crime scenes. “Open your eyes! Look into the heart of the damp beast! It’s wet . . . but you’re still alive!”
I also purposely try to cross paths with as many other dogs as possible to show Puppy that they all survived the thunder, too. For this we go to the Pet Meeting Field, where there’s always a contingent of pet owners mingling. Everyone takes their dogs off the leash and lets them run and play freely, like a laundry detergent commercial. Puppy seems half hearted about this: On the one hand, playing takes SO MUCH energy and there are like NO couches nearby. But on the other hand, those dogs all have hind quarters which are perfect for humping, especially the ones on the boys, leading to awkward moments like this:
(Me and an attractive woman are watching the dogs play. Puppy starts humping her dog in the face.)
Me: “Puppy! Stop that! Come on, that’s not polite.” (Then to her) “Yeah, he loves the ladies.”
Her: “Mine’s a boy.”
Me: (sadly) “Yeah, he loves them, too.”
(Ed. Note: I heard on NPR that the reason boy dogs hump other boy dogs is to establish a position of dominance, so if you think about it Puppy’s really just punching with his cock.)
I also take him with my when I run errands, but he is entirely unhelpful.
After that, we come back inside and of course the thunder stars up again in the distance and of course Puppy follows me everywhere with that look on his face.
The thing is, I think Puppy is actually smarter than he makes himself out to be. Dumb is just his cover, like everyone thought Jessica Simpson was doing before it turned out that she was actually just dumb. I know this because every so often Puppy slips up, like the guy on the episode of “The Brady Bunch” when Mrs. Brady got into a car accident and the victim faked a neck injury, only to be foiled in court when Mr. Brady threw his briefcase on the floor and the victim, in an attempt to see what the commotion was, twisted his neck – with no apparent pain! The same thing (more or less) happens with Puppy. Let’s just say that for a dog who once sat outside my parents house for three hours because he couldn’t figure out the doggie door, he sure as hell figured out how to nose his way into the bathroom when the thunder started. And not just that, but he came and sat at my feet looking at me (so awkward). But I couldn’t kick him out, because then I would hear him sniffing at the bottom of the closed door, which is a very unnerving thing to hear when you’re trying to go to the bathroom. Eventually I decided the best I could do was let him in, but teach him to sit facing away from me while I went.
Thankfully, Brooke is home now.