In deciding what to include and what to leave out of the book I'm writing, I found this piece that is outdated and won't make it in the final draft that I will submit to a publisher. I thought I'd share it here. I wrote this back in Vegas about Jenna, the dog we had there. If you recall, she wasn't my very, very favorite. It's funny to compare this with our Sofia, with whom I'm absolutely smitten. Anyway, just a little "toss-away" piece for ya'll.
“If you’d like to continue to call yourself a Christian woman, you should be nicer to that dog.”
This from my 89-year-old grandfather who hasn’t been to church in about 80 years.
I’m not mean to that damn dog. I mean, that dog. It’s not my fault she thinks her name is Getthehellawayfromme. It’s not like I’m serious when I tell her to go play in traffic. Most days. I don’t know why everybody gets their panties in a wad over my relationship with her, such that it is.
Everybody tells me she’s such a great dog. Oh yeah? Then why does she poop? Great entities don’t leave poop where I walk. And they don’t deliberately put saliva on my body. And, certainly, they don’t leave HALF of their body hair all over my house, regenerate all that they’ve lost overnight and leave the same amount on my carpet and my furniture the very next day. And the day after that. And the day after that. And the day after that.
“Look at those eyes!” her advocates implore me.
“She’s in love with my husband, and he’s in love with her. That’s what those eyes tell me,” I retort. Last New Year’s Eve, we were watching the celebratory countdown on television. “10! 9! 8! 7! 6! 5! 4! 3! 2! 1! HAPPY NEW YEAR!” When Old Lang Syne started to play, my husband got up from his Archie Bunker chair and kissed HER! I unpuckered my lips, shook my head in disbelief, and went to bed. Our first fight of the year.
You want a good pet? A turtle is a great pet! We got one to put in our pond out back, a wonderful habitat for a turtle. No barking, no shedding, no licking. And if that thing pooped, I certainly didn’t know about it. And would you like to know what happened in the first twenty-four hours we had dear, sweet Leonardo?
The dog ate him.
My husband flew to her defense. Of course he did. They’re in love. Why wouldn’t he? Damn dog.
She knows just how to make me look like an idiot. Whenever I am home alone with her, she doesn’t do a thing I say. I used to think she was just stupid. I told my husband, “I don’t think she’s very bright.”
“Are you kidding me? She’s one of the smartest dogs I’ve ever had!”
I remained silent as to the obvious plethora of possible replies and simply said, “Do you really think so?”
Just to prove a point, I called her over. “Getthehellawayfromme, come here.” She never came to me when I called. I wasn’t worried. Until she came straight to me and sat obediently in front of me, wagging her tail, that is. My husband folded his arms and raised a “this-is-going-to-be-interesting” eyebrow at me. Coincedence. The dog NEVER listened to me and NEVER did anything I told her to do.
“Sit.” I commanded.
The bitch sat.
The bitch laid down.
The bitch sprang up.
The bitch put her paw right in my hand and, I swear to God, she smiled.
“Mommy does not love you,” I told her flatly and went to pour myself a glass of Reisling. Of course, her boyfriend--my husband--reached down to scratch her behind the ears and tell her affectionately, “Goooooood daaaaaaaaaaaaawg!”
Just to make sure I wasn’t crazy, I waited till the next time I was home alone with that damn dog. “Getthehellawayfromme, come here!”
The bitch sat right where she was.
OK, I thought. She can NOT do what I say from across the room where she is.
Those eyes that most believe are sweet and innocent looked up at me to let me know that she was completely unaffected.
She didn’t budge.
I walked over to her and put my hand out. “Shake!”
She turned around, farted in my face, and walked away.
Then there was the time she locked me out of the house. I’m not lying. This is not hyperbole. We were home alone; I was sitting out back by the pond (post-turtle) writing something brilliant on this very laptop. I looked behind me. She was standing inside looking out our sliding glass door. She wanted to be outside just to annoy me in her usual form.
“I don’t THINK so, sista!” No way was she getting out there with me. I no more turned around smugly in my lounge chair than I heard the CLICK! We have a button on the bottom of our sliding glass door which is an extra security measure. When it’s pushed in, the door will not open. Period. Of course, she took her nose and pushed it in. I about broke my neck swinging around in that chair.
“You did NOT just do that!” I yelled.
She smiled back at me through the glass.
I jumped up out of my chair and tried the door. Locked out. I knew the front door was locked. I always locked up when I was home by myself. God knows if anybody broke in, Getthehellawayfromme would lead them straight for the good stuff. Well, my stuff anyway. My husband--her boyfriend’s stuff would be safe. She’d never let anybody get HIS stuff! I had to fold up my laptop and haul it over to the neighbors across the street to get one of our spare keys.
Someone suggested we get another dog to keep her company. She needed a friend. There was NO WAY ON GOD’S GOOD GREEN EARTH I was getting anything else that pooped as much, shed as much, or licked as much. Just one more being in the house to torment me. Forget about it! But the suggestion of a distraction was not lost on me. I brought home a kitten. A boy kitty. I wanted to name him Madonna, but ended up naming him Lofton--my family name. It suited him.
Getthehellawayfromme didn’t know what to think about this new addition to our family. I know she thought I’d brought her lunch. When she figured out she probably didn’t want to eat him, she made him her own. And it did alleviate her always being underneath my feet. It did my heart good to see Lofton stalking her, perched like a hunter on the stairs, waiting for Getthehellawayfromme to walk by. I loved how he pounced on her head and clung by all four sets of claws while she hobbled like a drunk trying to shake him off.
She knows I’m writing about her. She’s lying down by the couch looking at me with those big, brown eyes. Right now. Those big, brown eyes. Big. Brown. I’m not going to look at her. She’ll just come over here and try to put her saliva on my body.
Now she’s sighing. Crap, I looked. Here she comes. She’s nudging the laptop off my lap so she can put her head on my lap. With those eyes. Big. Brown. Eyes.
Oh, hell. Jenna does like her ears scratched.
Guess I’m done writing this...