Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dogs and Relationships.

I don't have kids so I don't know for certain (nor, for the record, am I the "Dog Mom" type), but sometimes I wonder if having a dog is kind of like raising children. You have to give them a routine, make sure they're well-disciplined, feed and clean up after them, take them to wherever they need to go, and play with them.

When there's two owners, you have to make sure that you're both on the same page to give it consistency. But I think (as with kids) there are a lot of "Don't tell Mom" moments.

For example, I'm petrified of letting Alice off the leash outside of our apartment (with the exception of the Dog Park). Occasionally I'll let her off and let her run around the back of our building if it's closed to cars, or walk free if we're taking out the garbage. The entire time, though, I'm convinced something will happen to her—even though she's three feet away, a neighbor could steal her, she could get picked up by a giant bird and taken away, or a car will magically appear out of thin air, careen through our courtyard, and hit her. I don't care if it's irrational! It could happen.

The Human Male, on the other hand, is far more relaxed with her. Sure, he calls her back when she's run too far ahead, but he lets her walk on the hill behind our house without a leash and has taught her to jump up the five-foot wall to get there. What if she falls off and hurts herself?! What if the giant bird that couldn't catch her when I had her out on her leash comes and swoops her up as she's jumping?

We each have certain tasks we're more apt to do for her. I tend to make sure her food and water dishes are full, that she has an endless supply of toys in her basket, cover her with blankets when she might be cold, and give her people treats. The Human male tends to take her out when it's cold, give her baths, puts her in her crate when we're leaving, corrals her under the sheets at night, sits on the couch with her, and throws her tennis balls.

With this fairly clear division of labor, I'm quick to assume that if something happens that can be linked to one of these activities, it's clearly that person's fault.

Fast forward to this morning, around 7:30A. I'm not dressed, the Human Male's just gotten up, Alice hasn't been out, her Kong's not made, and we're due to catch an 8A bus. I walk into our office and find that Alice has done her business in there. And not a little bit, but a huge, disgusting mess that spanned an obscene amount of the room. I was livid. She was great about not going in the house until a couple of weeks ago, right around the time when it got cold-- and, coincidentally, right around the time that the Human Male started taking her out by himself.

I said some quick choice words to both the Human Male and Alice (the Male getting far worse—Alice clearly knew she did something wrong and didn't need to be additionally punished), and the next half-hour was a busy mess of trying to clean it up, get Alice situated, get dressed, and hurry across the ice field to the bus.

Once on the bus, the Human Male and I had time to talk and discuss what may have caused Alice's accident. The Human Male, knowing full well that it's his job to take her out and make sure she's emptied while it's below 60 degrees and sunny, immediately assumes it was the piece of orange he gave her last night. I immediately accept that's what happened. Obviously it was the orange he gave her that made her erupt.

That's when I remember something.

Yesterday I went to the store and got some prunes. Yeessss, I'm the one person under the age of 70 that loves prunes. Mock all you want, I think they're really good. The store only had orange essenced ones (i.e., prunes infused with orange flavor), which sounded strange but I really wanted prunes, so I decided to try them out.

I had a couple after dinner last night, and Alice, per usual, followed me into the kitchen and did her begging routine when I was in the cabinets, stretching her greedy paws up my legs and giving me her big, gooey eyes. And, per usual, I decided to give her a little taste of what I was eating to see if she'd actually eat it (it can go either way-- such as with the pita). She happily snapped up the bitsy piece I gave her and trotted off to go sit on the couch. I thought nothing of it and went about the evening.


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