Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Catulence and Dog Nation

I always said when I was younger that if I ever got out of that animal-hating, penny-pinching, cleanliness-obsessed house where I was raised, I would have a whole HOUSEFUL of animals when I grew up. Well, I'm all grown up, and I do have a house full of animalia...and a new appreciation for why my mother always resisted my efforts to populate the house with every stray thing that wandered up.

Typical morning: I get up and start getting ready to exercise, almost stepping in a hairball puke pile on the way to the bathroom. Now anybody who has dogs knows that this is not really a problem. You call the pile to the attention of one or both of them and, HOOVER, problem solved. Except that they aren't having any part of this particular pile, probably because The Bug (our girl cat) always makes it a point to find the one narrow strip of carpet in the house and puke all over it, rather than the nice, easily cleaned hardwood that covers 99% of the floor. So far, I'm taking it in stride. I clean it up, get my tennis shoes and running stuff on, go downstairs, and find that the cats have gone off their litter. Little SPCA veterans that they are, they steadfastly resist any effort to refine their tastes to a more gucci (read, less disgusting to the primary pooper scooper--me) version of litter and can only be coaxed to pee and crap in a litter box filled with the most vilely cheap and dust contaminating stuff ever known to clog an air conditioning filter. They have also recently adopted a policy of refusing to drink after the dogs, preferring instead to alternately drink from the tub, toilet or any glass that is left uncovered. Let's just say, for example, that I forget and leave the bathroom door closed. Catulence, as the two cats are collectively known, has no qualms about breaking a glass to get to the inch of water left at the bottom. But I digress. Now that I have my running stuff on, the girl half of Dog Nation, as the dogs are collectively known, thinks she's going on a walk, so she's apoplectic. She's thrashing around like she's lost all sense of muscle control and spatial perception. The boy dog, whose given name is Tucker but who we call Dwayne Grubb, couldn't care less about going for a walk or anything else that involves a leash. So I thrust Harper, the girl dog out the door long enough to put his electronic transmitter collar on him before I saddle Harper up with her harness for a run. I'm just hitting my stride when I hear the clicking of toenails behind me. I should stop here and explain why Tucker is also known as Dwayne Grubb. It's because he's an old country good-ole-boy dog, who looks like he ought to be wearing a grimy John Deere cap and slugging a Budweiser while simultaneously working over a plug of Red Man. In short, he's a good fellow, the kind that if he were human, would throw his shoulder out a la Tim McGraw trying to win you a teddy bear at the fair, but he ain't the sharpest tool in the shed. He will not ever be called a pretty dog. The best way to describe him is he's kind of a dog centaur: he has a torso that is at least as long as his legs and it's all the same width from his chest to his neck, all the way up to his preternaturally large dog head. So he's clicking along behind me, unnaturally large head swaying dody-do, to and fro. And he doesn't have any interest in going back to the yard, especially since he's made his break, and I dont have a leash to use on him. Finally I manage to corral him by his transmitter collar and drag him back to the yard, along with Harper, who is pissed because she was short-changed on her run. By this point, I am late in my morning schedule, and I haven't even had a run, although I HAVE had a workout of sorts. Fast forward to the part of the morning "routine" where I leave.

Now, Dwayne Grubb spent the first 7 months of his life in a 10 x 10 kennel so when he became a house dog, it wasn't just country come to town, it was country come to a whole other country. Ole Dwayne has gotten used to the lap of luxury and no longer feels the call of the wild (or the outside). To the tune of, once he hears me making motions to leave, he trots his happy butt upstairs and lies down on the dog bed. No amount of coaxing, cajoling or threatening will get him up and out the front door. So I end up picking his 55 pound ass up and hauling it down the stairs and outside via the side door. Then I quickly grab my stuff, cursing because I'm late, open up the front door, and there he is. If I'm lucky and quick, I make it out before he scoots in past me.

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