Monday, May 7, 2012
That'll do, dog. That'll do.
We have a dog. He is a small terrier thingy that someone gave us when the brunette was a baby, and while I don't despise him, he's not really my favorite creature. He's cute and smallish, but he barks, jumps, scoots, and does this weird grabby thing to everyone's feet that is both unsettling and annoying (how can he wrap his paws around an ankle like that?), and he won't eat crumbs off of the kitchen floor. Really, what kind of dog doesn't eat kitchen crumbs? What else do you get a dog for? Nevertheless, as annoying as he may be, he has more than secured his spot in the family by simply putting up with the girls. He patiently sits through makeovers, costume adjustments, and bless him, he even wore a baby doll diaper the other day without so much as a nibble to get it off. They carry him around, put him in boxes, under laundry baskets, into strollers, wrap him in blankets, and although it is done with loving intentions, I wonder how often the dog daydreams about keeping the kids hostage under a laundry basket. My personal relationship with the dog is one of duty. I feed him, I walk him, I bathe him, I pet him when he isn't busy being tied to the Barbie car, and I do it because it's the responsible pet owner thing to do to. I think he feels similarly towards me - he knows I will provide nourishment and outside time, and occasionally respite from the smothering arms of the girls, but he doesn't really crawl into my lap and lick my face or anything. We tolerate each other, and I don't expect much from him, but today may have changed my feelings for him. I was sitting quietly, darning socks, as I usually do on Mondays (ok, I was Facebooking), and the dog came at my feet yipping and doing the weird grabby thing. He does not often yip, he usually just goes for a solid bark, but this was, in fact, a yip. He hopped toward me, kind of spazzy, and then jerked back and ran to the kitchen. "Dumb dog" I think to myself, and go back to my work. But here he comes again, yipping and jumping at my feet, then running back to the kitchen, and then back again to paw me. Obviously, he is either starving, or is trying to tell me something. Did I feed him this morning? Did Timmy fall in the well? Either way, empty food bowl or neighbor boy in well (darn neighbors), I decide it is probably worth investigating and follow the dog (well, not really follow, there is a lot of weird foot grabbing here, so I mostly try not to step on him or trip on my way to the kitchen) and find out what the fuss was about. There at the dog dish is the baby, with her head bent into the water bowl, scrubbing away at her hair. She looks up at me, water and kibble crumbs rolling down her face and says, "me just wash hair". The dog does a spectacular leap into the air and high fives me, landing with a keen nose pointed right at the mess that has become his water dish. He is tattling! And is happy to be doing so! Well done, fine dog friend, you have a found a use beyond merely keeping the kids entertained. I feel a bit of admiration towards this hairy little fella, and am quite pleased with him. I clean up, refill the water dish, and give him a good scratch. Maybe later I'll let him sit on my lap.