When Dogs Go a Ramblin'
Current mood: argumentative
A facsimile of Mandy, the Ugliest Dog Alive
As I have stated many times in the past, I am not a big animal-person. I enjoy petting a loyal hound as much as the next guy, or watching the fish make their endless way around the 10-gallon aquarium, but the shine pretty much wore off the nickel as far as owning and maintaining pets around the time I discovered girls and dating and music and baseball and other things that would make much better use of my time than picking up scat that I had not personally put somewhere it wasn’t supposed to be.
Regardless, I am the owner of the ugliest dog alive, a sprightly mix of Chihuahua and poodle that came out with a wiry, pig-hair that covers most of its body. It is small, it is sneaky and it doesn’t respond to commands unless there is some sort of treat in return. I offered to take the animal from my sister, who had raised the dog from the time it was a pup and in the interim had picked up a Rottweiler and a Doberman, which the little dog – we’ll call her Mandy ( I did not name the animal, as I have stated before, had it been left up to me, I would have named it “Hagrid”) – grew weary of in short order. Mandy began pissing where she shouldn’t and turned into a crabby curmudgeon around the house. I felt a kinship with the dog, given that I am of similar temperament, and since I had taken over stewardship of my two daughters, thought it would be a welcomed addition to our household and I would not be responsible for its upkeep – that’s what the daughters were for.
That being said, when my daughters mended fences with their mother three years later and went back to live with her, I was left with the ugly little dog. Apparently, Mom had two large dogs which would eat Mandy in short order given the opportunity. So, I was stuck with the beast and we have struck a comfortable relationship. I call her, she doesn’t come. I feed her, she goes outside to do her business. Everyone is happy.
So it was surprising last week when I let her out to do her morning business and she disappeared. I whistled to no response – not surprising, and I drove around the neighborhood for a half-hour before I had to leave for work and the dog was nowhere to be found. I assumed that she had been hit by a car or devoured by coyotes and went on my way to work. Two days later, on a random drive around my neighborhood – I was not looking for the dog, for your information – I often drive around my neighborhood in 100+ degree heat with no air conditioning. I find it builds character.
There she was. Wandering the street in the sun, tongue out, a defiant spring in her step. I pulled over to the side of the street and opened my door. “Mandy! Get in the car, dammit!” She trotted over and hopped in under my legs and up onto the passenger seat as if we had just come from the park. “And where in the hell have you been?" I shouted. She held up her paw. “I will not talk to you about this,” she answered, giving me every bit as much attitude as any teenager – she must have been watching.
“I have a right to know,” I yelled. She looked out the window, sniffing the air as I drove. “I am too tired for this conversation,” she said. And that’s the last she has spoken. She refuses to talk to me now – she will howl now and again if there are treats involved, but that’s it. That night, she threw up some God-awful mess and shat on my kitchen floor, but then living on the streets as a canine hobo will do that to a dog’s constitution, I suppose. I had to clean it up the next morning. Apparently, she wasn’t going to help out around the house, either. I nearly gagged while cleaning up the mess. She looked at me with what appeared to be a grin on her mangy face as I barely contained my own stomach, but I withered her with a stare.
Things have returned mostly to normal. I call her, she doesn’t come. She saves her poop and whatever else for the out of doors and we keep to ourselves. The dog is too prideful to admit she was wrong in running away and I will not take total responsibilities for her actions. But I am there if she wants to apologize and she is welcome to help out around the house once in awhile. Until then, we agree to disagree.
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