My Gran was obsessed with her dogs.
Mind you, this was cool when I was a kid and A.C., the snake-killing chihuahua, was the center of her world. A.C. patrolled Gran’s property with precision and took no shit until he was too ancient to make it from the dog bed to the window.
Gran grieved A.C. for a long time before she finally got another dog. Thus, the “white poodle” stage of this story begins, where she lost her damn mind over the worst dog in history. To make it even worse, she named him Toby.
Toby was by far the most horrible animal that has ever lived. He barked at his own doo-doo, let snakes into the house and ate Ferragamo boots like they were Kibbles-n-Bits.
My Grandmother adored him.
Toby’s favorite thing to do was find ink pens to chew holes in so he could drag the leaking ink through, over and on every fabric item in Gran’s house.
She bought him pen-shaped toys. She took him to Krystal for hamburgers. She yelled at us for yelling at Toby for peeing on our bags when we visited her.
My beloved Gran and her beloved Toby have both passed through the mortal coil. Toby went long before Gran, but she replaced him with an equally offensive white poodle named Charlie, who is also gone.
In retrospect, we had no right to judge Gran’s awful dogs. They were her boon companions. We learned to love all creatures great and small (except snakes) from her example of loving imperfect creatures who happen to both be white poodles.
That being said, I still vowed never to be so smitten by an animal that I would allow it to destroy my home. “I’m never going be like Gran,” I said.
Flash forward 30 years. (Forget the fact that I’m over here feeling nauseous that things I reference happened thirty years ago and just read the story.)
I’m in my own living room, cleaning up what can only be described as the messiest art project ever, created by our 10-month-old hound puppy, who went from being a precious, fweet, little baby to a holy freakin’ terror about the same time he became giant.
The giant terror somehow got a bottle of Modge-Podge from God-only-knows-where and squeezed it all over a pile of shredded cardboard he obtained from the recycling bin. He then ate and slobbered lovely decoupage piles on the rug and I’m not going to mention his confetti poops that came later on.
Instead of being infuriated, like I should have been, I found myself feeling guilty for not entertaining him enough to keep him out of trouble. “Oh no. Is the fweet baby bored?” I asked the dog. “Is him want his busy box? Mommy has a pork chop to cut up for your treats today,” I cooed, as I scraped Modge-podge off the carpet.
My husband, who was getting ready for work because he must (gasp) leave the house to work, listened to me basically praise the dog for being a horrible brat. He didn’t say anything until he noticed the turkey-shaped butter statue I had set out for the cats to enjoy like a festive saltlick.
“Did you really buy a turkey-shaped chunk of butter for the cats?” He asked.
“Uh, it’s Thanksgiving this week, duh. Yes, I did,” I said as I cut up the pork chop I promised the dog earlier.
“Is that my pork chop?” My husband asked.
“Is this the fucking Spanish Inquisition, or what?” I snapped. “I promised that pork chop to the dog.” I said, as I broke up tiny pieces of Milk Bones and hid them in the sheds and tatters left of the dog’s toys so I could pack his busy box full of delightful surprises.
“Ok, I’m leaving,” said hubs, “Try not to act crazy where the neighbors can see you. Love you!”
“Love you, too,” I said, distractedly, as I filled hollow bones with peanut butter to pack in the busy box.
I love my animals. But I’ll never be a nutty as gran.