Monday, August 31, 2009

Dog life

I love how the dog drops subtle hints. I'm sitting alone on the couch reading a book, and he walks by me and nudges his leash on the side table with his nose. Then he goes and sits down on the landing of the stairs and looks at me, with his head resting on his paws. It's as if he's talked to me. "Just wanted to let you know, I'd appreciate a walk today."

Oh, the pupster. I've never lived with a dog before in my life, despite many years of begging my parents, to no avail. I eventually gave up on wanting a dog, preferring to be more free of responsibility. Now I live with one by default.

He's looking at me. "Hey, are you thinking about that walk thing? Maybe? Okay." Head goes back down.

I've had to get used to an animal rushing at me every time I open the door. Hearing the rush of his claws as my key turns in the lock. Learning how to control my anger when I figure out that he was sitting on the couch, as evidenced by a crinkled up newspaper. He is slower to greet me those times we forget to put our makeshift fence across the couch, as moving away from such comfort requires him to do a luxurious stretch in front of me. A downward dog pose, expertly executed.

I'm never going to be a person obsessed with dogs. I promise myself - never. I don't even try to convince myself that the dog is particularly smart or special or twice as cute as other dogs. He's a handsome mutt - exceptionally unbred to no distinction but generic dog - who likes to sniff things. He likes to sometimes run around very fast when people are watching, showing everyone what a dog he is. He's done laps at a barbecue, leaping over another dog with great athleticism and ease. He plays the piano and sings. In a dog way, of course. Sometimes his singing sounds like an uptight woman crying.

He's sleeping. Or pretending to sleep, with his head slung down over a step. He's really just holding out hope. If I were to say the word "WALK" at this moment, his triangle ears would immediately perk up and he'd be all over me, ready to go. I think this is kind of sad. The highlight of your day is walking a few blocks? The same few blocks that we always walk? But then I remember that he's a dog, and I'm a human, and we don't think or feel the same things. I think sometimes people forget this.