By my calculations I have only 28 more hours until my sister and her family return from playing Mormon Pioneers in Wyoming to rescue me from this:
Don’t let that picture deceive you. He is one little shit. I used to lament the fact that Chuck acts more like a cat than a dog, but if my sister’s dog, Bo, is any indication as to what a dog is supposed to act like then I may actually be more of a cat person. For me that’s like suddenly realizing I’m a Republican.
When she dropped him off on Sunday night we enrolled him immediately in Camp Armstrong, a boot camp for dogs that resembles the first half of Full Metal Jacket with a little less blood. We’d forgotten that it took four straight months of hard core training to change Chuck from the Judd Nelson character in Breakfast Club (I stole that from Jon) to the Jesus character in the Bible. If there were a Rick Moranis character on speed in Breakfast Club, that’d be Bo.
We’ve been sleeping on the futon in the basement because Bo, who is sleeping with us, snores loudly and talks in his sleep. I let him know in no uncertain terms that if he ever woke up my baby from a nap or in the middle of the night that I would sew a set of balls back into his empty scrotum so that I could cut them out again myself. This threat didn’t stop him from ROOOO, ROOOOing at 2:30 AM the first night and running up and down the basement stairs to warn us about the imaginary burglar. Jon sleepily mumbled something about how we could kill him and maybe my sister wouldn’t remember that she ever had a dog. It sounded like a good idea at the time.
Bo likes to run away — blocks and blocks away, blocks that I have traversed barefoot three times now — and jump on countertops and PICK PICK PICK at Chuck until Chuck becomes less the Jesus character in the Bible and more of the Marlon Brando character in Apocalypse Now. We are constantly saying, “No, Bo. No.” Guess what Leta’s first real words are? Words she knows the meaning of, words SHE WON’T STOP SAYING OVER AND OVER AGAIN. And guess which one of those words she likes better? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not the name of the cuter brother in “The Dukes of Hazzard.”
Karma for ever saying that my child wouldn’t be one of those kids: REALIZED.
Last night after refusing to finish her dinner with a long, surprisingly Southern sounding, “Noooooooooo,” I suggested that we start saying other things to Bo, like, “PLEASE, Bo, PLEASE,” or “I love you, Mama, Bo, I love you, Mama.” She’s also learned how to say sit, except she says, “DIT!” and she loves to order both dogs around. My days are now filled with, “Noooooooo,” and “DIT! DIT!” and by last night both Jon and I found ourselves screaming, “CHUCK IS ALREADY DITTING, LETA. DOP DELLING HIM DO DIT.”
Perhaps the most annoying part of his exaggerated dog behavior is the fact that I feel like I’m leading a marching band around my house. Bo follows me everywhere. Chuck only follows me around if I’m carrying something edible, so he thinks Bo is following me because Bo knows about something edible that he doesn’t know about. Thus, Chuck follows me everywhere, and both are always vying for the best position, nipping at each other’s ears or biting the other’s back legs. Leta thinks this is hilarious, so she follows us, too. Every time I have used the bathroom this week I’ve had three pairs of eyes looking at my bare bottom, four if Jon’s been home.
And then, of course, there are those special holiday card and wall calendar moments when he crawls up into my lap and rests his head on my shoulder or the way he chews his food like a delicate pink princess. And those quiet moments in the morning when I let them both out for their morning wee and Bo enacts my wrath on all those neighbors whose dogs live outside and bark all day long and in the middle of the night: The 7 AM ROOOO! Alarm.