As of this morning I have only 28 more hours until my sister and her family return from “Pioneer Trek” in which members of the LDS faith dress up as Mormon Pioneers to pay homage to early members of the church who traversed hundreds if not thousands of miles into the Salt Lake Valley in the 1800s. They literally drag wagons and carry amenities on their backs for weeks at a time with no break. Hell of a way to spend a summer vacation if you ask me.
This year “Pioneer Trek” is taking place in Wyoming where a large part of the maternal side of my family resides. Big shout out to the George’s and all five male cousins whose first names start with the letter B.
Y’all remember Bo, right? Of course you do, he is my sister’s Beagle, so please do not let this innocent picture of him 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 Bo’s demeanor 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. Ew to the fucking ew.
When she dropped him off on Sunday night we enrolled him immediately in Camp Armstrong, a strict 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 transform Chuck from the Judd Nelson character in The Breakfast Club to the Jesus character in the Bible.
If there were a Rick Moranis character on speed in The Breakfast Club, that’d be Bo.
We’ve been sleeping on the futon in the basement because Bo is sleeping with us, and he snores loudly and garbles German 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 ROOO ROOO ROOOOing at 2:30 AM the first night and running up and down the basement stairs to warn us about an 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 perfectly rational idea at the time. In fact, it still does.
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.
How many times in the last few days have I mumbled to myself, “The horror. The horror.” Boy, do I understand the heart of Colonel Kurtz.
We are constantly saying, “No, Bo. No.” Guess what Leta’s first real words are? Words she knows the meaning of, words she repeats ad nauseam. And guess which one of those words she likes better? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not the name of the less attractive brother in “The Dukes of Hazzard.”
Last night after Leta refused to finish her dinner with a long, surprisingly Southern sounding, “Noooooooooo,” — she can chew a vowel like nobody’s business — I suggested that we start saying other things to Bo, like, “Please, Bo.” Or, “Bo loves 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 a chewed vowel, “Noooooooo.” And “DIT! DIT!” 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 Bo’s 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 has been at 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, man, I love those precious moments in the morning when I let them both out for their morning wee and Bo enacts my wrath on all the neighbors whose dogs live outside and bark all day long: The 7 AM ROOO ROOO ROOOO alarm.