Friday, March 10, 2017

The Dog Life

Copyright 2017, Travis Ross (Simple Man's Survival Guide)

Recently we made the questionable decision to add a puppy to our household mix that until then had consisted of 4- and 6-year-old girls, my wife and I, and our two cats. Until last summer there was also a hamster named Rat, but it met an untimely end after a series of unfortunate events involving the cats and jackhammers. May Rat the hamster rest in piece.

It should be noted that we are not an uber-religious family, but if there is a higher power driving the karma car around the cosmos, I'm convinced its punishing us for not being better guardians of that hamster by steering us toward a dog that may kill us all in the very near future.

Enter Mavis, a 10-week old beagle and doberman mix (yes, you read that right) with an energy level comparable to a squirrel who chewed through an entire bottle of uppers and an endless methane leak, who's only real skill seems to be taking all of the sticks from the wood pile and forming them into Blair Witch symbols in the back yard. My wife will argue that the dog fills a void in her life. If she'd have just told me she wanted holes dug randomly all over the back yard, all of our furniture whittled down to toothpicks, and the house to smell like piss, I'd have backed off on the efforts to keep moles out of the back yard, rented a wood chipper, and invited Donald Trump and a few Russian hookers over and we could have achieved the same end through different, more memorable, means.

In a lot of ways, having a puppy is liking having another toddler in the house. I spend one half my time yelling at it to stop ruining whatever nice things we have left, and the other half trying to keep it from choking on Shopkins -- the ultimate why-the-fuck-couldn't-I-have-thought-of-this toy. Also, she can go on a rampage and wreak havoc for hours, and then cap that off by demanding that you help her go to the bathroom, which is a whole other fiasco. It's a regular shit showdown in our front yard every night just to get the dog to drop its final deuce of the day. I wouldn't blame our neighbors at all if they grabbed a beer, saddled up to a window every night at 9:30, and played the whole thing out in their head like a prize fight.

"In the blue corner weighing 10 pounds, sporting black fur, and refusing to shit -- Mavis! In the red corner weighing 210 pounds, wearing pajama pants and sandals, and just wanting to get out of the freezing cold and get back to watching Game of Thrones -- Travis! Are you ready? Are you ready? Fight!"

It's not so bad when the weather is warm, but when it's 5 degrees outside the dog needs to learn that we don't have until the 2020 election and she needs to expedite dropping a Donald Dump so we can get back in the house. There have been a few times where I know the dog has to shit, she knows she has to shit, and Jesus knows she has to shit, where I've informed her that we're not going back inside until something drops a fiber grenade in the front yard, and I don't care whether it's her, me, or a homeless person.

And sometimes when the Mavis does unload, you'd rather she just saved it for the next person to take her out. You never know whether the 10-pound dog is going to unfurl a small dirt snake, or give birth to something larger that, with glasses, would look like a smaller version of Steve Bannon's head.

Getting the dog has probably affected the cats' lives more than ours. They've been on suicide watch since the dog rolled in. One cat lives exclusively downstairs and doesn't even want to deal with the dog. The other cat still spends a lot of time on the main floor, but he keeps moving to higher and higher ground. I can't tell if he's doing it to feel safer, or if he just hasn't found a spot high enough where he's convinced that if he throws himself off it will kill him. Mavis is also so far up their butts they can't even eat their food. More often than not the cats don't eat, the dog eats the cat food, and to keep costs down I've resorted to eating the dog food.

As the Shopkins and cats can attest, anything on the floor is fair game. A few weeks after getting the dog, she ate through one of the girls' craft boxes, which included bags of glitter. We only know this because she dropped a glowing, sequin-y turd that looked like Guy Diamond from Trolls popped by and took a crap in our yard. If there's one argument to be made for having this dog, it's that I won't have to put up Christmas decorations. We can just introduce glitter into the dog's diet in early November, and by Thanksgiving we'll have a full-on light show.

All that being said, Mavis is part of the family, and the girls love her to pieces. However, after she kicks the bucket and my wife starts making a pitch for another animal, I think I'm going to suggest that we just get another cat -- and name it Dog.