Four more paws on the hardwood

On Saturday night we agreed to take my sister’s beagle, Bo, while she and her family went on some sort of vacation for the next four days. Bo is generally a well-behaved house guest, at least when he’s not jumping onto the kitchen table in the middle of dinner, but the last time he was here he weighed about 80 pounds less than he does now, and that weight gain is so profound that he looks very much like a seal that has escaped its aquarium. That weight gain is also causing him to snore loudly in his sleep. Giant, rumbling snores that start in his toes and thunder up through his gelatinous belly out into the midnight hours with the beauty and fragrance of a moldy underarm.

Leta does not like Bo. Or I guess I should say, Leta does not like dogs, Bo especially. I do not understand this because both Jon and I love dogs so enthusiastically that you’d think she’d absorb that feeling through osmosis. She would love because we love. But this is not the case at all, and when we brought him home on Saturday night she sat in the backseat of the truck screaming, “OUCH! OUCH! OUCH!” every time Bo turned his head to look at her. Which I believe is a symptom of a debilitating disease known as Being Three Years Old.

Even though I haven’t slept a single minute in the last three days, I still love having Bo around because he acts like a dog so much more than Chuck does. He follows me around all day long, from room to room, his gut mopping the floors behind me. He sleeps (and snores) on my side of the bed and waits for me to settle into the couch or a chair before he chooses where to sit around me, his massive weight leaning against my arm or leg. Chuck is willing to be near me, he just doesn’t want to touch me, whereas Bo would very much like to wrap his body around my head and remain there indefinitely.

Bo also barks, randomly, for no reason, at nothing. Not a string of barking, just a single ROO! here and there. And every time he does it I lose a year on my life. This is probably the only pleasure that Leta derives from Bo’s presence, watching me jump out of my skin when he suddenly lifts his head to ROO! at the wall. She finds it endlessly funny, and yesterday after a particularly startling ROO! I screamed just to relieve some of my tension. Leta threw her head back, laughed, and then said, “Take a deep breath, Mom.” Like, whatever, get a grip, you’re being ridiculous, and when you drop me off at the mall can you pretend that you don’t know me?