Friday, March 31, 2006

Living With Dogs

So, I have a soft spot in my cold, dead heart for dogs. I always have. I am 100% a dog person, and tolerate cats barely.

I’ve said many times that cats should never be trusted. They are fickle, haughty, self-important creatures that lurk. They are vile beasts and anyone who has a deep love for them should be initially distrusted. Now granted, when they are being lovey, they’re great. They have soft fur and that purring sound is soothing on a subconscious level. But don’t be fooled. It’s just a prelude to a bite or scratch. I think that’s what is wrong with cats in general. All cats, and the domestic housecat especially, still don’t realize that they are not the apex predators they think they are. And that accounts for the lurking. They have psychotic breaks, causing them to stalk and wait; hoping for an opportunity to jump upon an unsuspecting person like a lion would a sick or young antelope on the Serengeti. They still see us as a food source - -and that ain't right.

Dogs, on the other hand, are capable of no such guile. (Unless you raise an attack dog. Unlike an orange tabby, a trained Doberman, German Shepard, or Pit Bull will fuck your shit up…) Properly raised and acclimated dogs are loyal, affectionate, and constantly looking for your love and approval. That’s what I like about dogs. They can show their love. You come home from work and they act as though you’ve been gone for days and squirm and bark and wag their tail in greeting. In fact, they’ll act the same way if you walked down to the road to get the mail. They are just happy to see you. You’ll get no such greeting from a cat.

So why all this talk of dogs and cats? Well I wanted to talk some about Doctor Zombie’s dogs. You see I have two dogs.

The first is Charlie. His full name is Charles Parnell, after the influential nineteenth century Irish politician and Home Rule advocate. Our Charlie's a lemon beagle, which means that he looks like any other beagle, but he has a recessive trait that makes his fur only light brown and white. No black. Charlie - being a beagle - is loyal and gentle with the zombie kids but he is in no way perfect. Beagles as a breed are great, but they have some behavioral traits that are near impossible to fix. They’re lazy for starters. There are days where Charlie will spend 85-90% of the time sleeping. He’ll find a warm spot in the sun, or near a heater and sprawl on his back. Within moments he’ll be sound asleep and snoring; his dork and fat, whale-like belly pointing at the ceiling. He’ll move only to go out, maybe eat, or make a halfhearted attempt to go and lay on the bed because he needs some variety. Beagles also tend towards obesity; and Charlie is no exception. We have all kinds of nicknames for the tub of lard that is our beagle. He’s known – alternately - as Lunchbox, Chubby Charlie, Fatty, Tubby and (my personal favorite) Fatty Boom Batty.

He is also a typical beagle in that he is stupid. I mean he’s painfully dumb. I honestly think he’s mentally retarded in some way; like he’s damaged at a chromosomal level. We actually have to be careful when we come home because he will get so excited that, when he runs to the door to greet us, he will – I swear to god – run square into the edge of the door. He once did it so hard he knocked himself out. I thought he’d killed himself. There was a horrifying sound, like someone had dropped a bowling ball on concrete, and the whole door thrummed with the impact. He let out a pained grunt and fell to the floor. His eyes rolled up into his head and he lay on the parquet floor, his legs up in the air and occasionally twitching. The twitching was the only thing that led us to believe he hadn’t cracked his skull and somehow damaged his walnut-sized brain. Five minutes later, he stirred, rolled over, yawned and began wagging his tail excitedly because – in his mind – we had just come home again.

He also has a propensity for chewing things that could kill him. Seriously. The first time he did it, my wife and I were watching a movie after the kids had gone to bed. He was rooting around behind the couch. After a few minutes of this, there was a sudden blue flash in the darkened room, like some strange supernatural blue lightning had struck. The room was suddenly filled with the acrid, foul smell of burnt dog hair. Charlie yipped and tore out from behind the couch yelping and crying. He had actually chewed through one of the lamp cords. The funny thing is, after making sure he was ok, and after resetting the breakers in the basement, would you believe that the asshole did it twice more that night? I wound up having to unplug the lamp and move it.

Our other dog, Nick, is another story entirely. Nick is a toy fox terrier who is a few years older than Charlie. We rescued him from a friend of my sister’s who had adopted him expecting him to stay little. She was basically looking for one of those little Paris Hilton dogs that are about the size of a malnourished wharf rat. Well, he got a little bigger than that, so she didn’t want him anymore. Nick is a great dog. Unlike Charlie, he’s smart and knows basic commands like sit, speak, jump, come here, lay in your bed, find Charlie, etc… He is also a cuddler. He must always be in someone’s lap if they’re sitting and he loves to give kisses. He’s a little bundle of energy and is a good dog.

Except when he’s in a bad mood.

You see, Nick has a temper. It all is rooted in the fact that Nick, although he’s seven or eight years old, has never been neutered. So, he’s got all of this testosterone flowing in his little body and he’s always got to be the alpha male. Considering that he’s half the size of Charlie, you’d think Charlie would put him in his place.

You’d think so, but you’d be wrong.

Nick’s also known around our house as the Grumpy Old Man or Napoleon. He’s got Little Man Syndrome. And, in the course of his becoming a member of the family, he’s somehow turned Charlie into his prison bitch. My poor beagle is the submissive bottom to Nicky’s alpha dog top. This only happens when Nick gets upset, when we mess with his schedule or, worse, with his bitch Charlie.

Like if we take him to the groomer.

True story - - I go to pick the boys up from the local Petsmart after having them groomed. I’m standing there, waiting for one of the groomers to ring me out when I see another groomer in the back room. It looks like she’s trying to wrestle a Doberman out of this cage. The whole cage is shaking and there’s a hellacious growling and snarling emitting from the cage. Every time she tries to reach into the cage, she jumps back. It’s like watching Dee Wallace try to get out of the car in Cujo. Turns out, it’s Nicky. And he’s upset because he’s been groomed and his bitch, Charlie is sad because he’s not at home. We’ve been kicked out of three PetSmarts because of the little bastard. They now have our name on the computer and they won’t even take my calls anymore. And the worst thing is that Nicky’ll hold a grudge the rest of the day after coming home from the groomer. If you go near him, he growls and snarls. And poor Charlie. All Charles wants to do is sleep because it’s tiring for him to get a bath and have his nails clipped; but Nicky won’t leave him alone. Every time Charlie tries to lay down, Nick’s got to take out his gnawing black rage at the world on Charlie’s ass. For the next twenty four hours, it’s like some weird gay prison porn film at our house as Nicky reasserts his dominance by humping Charlie, all of the kid’s toys, and any pillows that aren’t put up.

Despite all of this, I still love my dogs. I love Charlie despite his stupidity and Nicky despite his occasional psychotic rages. Nothing beats lying on the couch and watching television after the rest of the family has gone to bed; my two dogs stretched out and asleep on top of me. The boys are as much my kids as the real zombie kids. And I’d take them over a cat any day. Besides, cats eat their own poop. Seriously. At least, that’s what my dogs told me…


tfg said...

Do you have pics of Charlie and Nick?

Dr. Zombie said...

Ask and you shall receive... see today's update...