He had me at “Arooooowwwwwwwwwwowwwowwwowww!”
As if one high-maintenance canine wasn’t enough . . . I let another one slip into the house.
But it wasn’t my fault, I tell you. First of all, I grew up on a farm where we took in all sorts of wayward animals. Dogs, cats, raccoons, hamsters, rabbits, parakeets, injured robins, even a dove named Ross Perot. (I’m guessing we had the only bird on the planet bearing that name.) So really, it’s in my blood to take in strays.
Secondly, the dog suckered me with his eyes. Huge dark eyes that look deep — deep down into your soul. Honestly, he takes the phrase “puppy dog eyes” to an entirely new level. I’m beginning to think he may possess hypnotic abilities.
So here we are, nearly 3 weeks in with two crazy dogs. The stray, AKA “Toby,” spends most of his time in his kennel because he can’t seem to quite grasp the concept of house-training. As soon as I open the door to his crate, the urine starts flying. Literally. He’s one of those submissive pee-ers, of course. Heaven forbid we become involved with an animal who has full control of his bodily functions. If he rolls to his back, you know to just take cover. Make the mistake of actually petting him and you’d better hope you’re wearing a poncho and rain boots.
At least urine’s sterile, I keep telling myself.
Oh, and I haven’t mentioned his size. Since he’s been with us, he’s doubled in size. If he were red as well, I’d swear that he was one of Clifford’s illegitimate offspring. Here is his 4-month-old paw compared to my 38-year-old paw.
Since Toby has to spend most of his time in his crate — and is a pulsating bundle of puppy energy wrapped in fur — you can probably guess that he doesn’t take to being enclosed so well.
Or at all.
Last night at nearly 1:00 a.m. I swore that BOTH dogs were howling and barking downstairs. But when I went to investigate and try to somehow convince them to give in to imprisonment, I realized that it was only Toby. How he manages to howl AND bark AT THE SAME TIME is beyond me.
Perhaps there is an appearance on Letterman in our future.
Or Jerry Springer.
Twice I’ve nearly taken Toby to the Animal Rescue League. I have no doubt he’d get adopted. Really, he’s a sweetheart of a puppy if you have the time and patience to get through this teething, peeing, pooping and howling stage.
I’m haunted by both Toby’s ancient eyes and the fact that I’m the one who “killed” our last dog, as I’m constantly reminded. Never mind that Larry was 11, blind and incontinent with what we suspected was cancer or bladder disease. Or that I had to take the hour-long “dead man walking” drive with Larry by myself. Or that I cried for weeks afterward and will likely still seek therapy for it when I’m in the nursing home.
To the kids, it seems I killed Larry.
And now there’s Toby. And even though I’m not suggesting we put him to sleep, but instead find him a loving home — I still manage to get filled with guilt.
And get the job of cleaning up the little fragrant gifts that Toby leaves for us when he gets loose in the house.
It so doesn’t seem fair, does it?
So, who’s looking for a puppy?