Thursday, December 31, 2009

well, poop.

It's what I've waken to twice this week. Max (our beloved mascot) is perfectly housetrained. Sometimes he just has tummy troubles. When we started doggie shopping three years ago, I insisted that I did not want a PUPPY IN MY HOUSE. Wouldn't it be easier to just have infant twins? I asked in all seriousness.

The kids were 2 and 4 and the time. Mentally adding a puppy to that mix was enough to reduce me to tears. Max was a year old when we found him at the dog pound. He weighed 40 pounds. They found him in a trailer park and the people who called weren't irritated by him. They were worried about him. Said he was wandering around and kept falling over. Max should rightly weigh 80 pounds. Max was starving. The day the city pound worker picked him up, he couldn't stand. The man took him to a vet who gave him an IV and a few days to live. Two weeks later, he was at the pound, eating lots of dog food and taking visitors. The kids fell in love with him, Highlander gave his OK, and I was just so thankful that he wasn't a puppy.

Max is a gentle dog and when we brought him home, it quickly became obvious that he had a few quirks. Little things like not eating out of bowl, not accepting food from a person's hand, ducking away when we tried to pet him. It's safe to say he hadn't been around people much. He soon discovered the joy of his life; running away. He's escaped our home about 200 times by now. He never goes far, never lets anyone touch him, and comes home when he feels like it. Or when I get a piece of chicken out of the fridge for him and stand on the front step holding it high in the air. I'm sure he can smell chicken from a mile away. For him, there is no mischief to be found greater than the pull of a big strip of chicken held up by mom. I don't worry about him unless I have to stand outside holding the chicken for more than a minute.

Once, he jumped a chain link fence to get into someone's yard, but then couldn't muster the confidence to jump back out. I went to find him that day. I've never seen an animal so happy. Of course, when I opened the gate he ran right past me to continue his neighborhood romp.

I've apologized for this dog as many times as I've held up the chicken for him. Everyone kind of loves him, anyway. When Highlander and I put him on a leash and take him for a real walk, people stop us and say things like, "Oh, I know that dog. Doesn't he run off a lot?" or "I've always wondered what his name is. He seems nice....lots of energy, huh?"

Yesterday when Victoria was letting the 8 pound security system outside, Max rushed the door and took off. He wasn't ready to come back right away, so he ran big loops around the house while I held up the chicken. It was very cold, so I went back inside and that confused him. He stood in the driveway for a moment with his head cocked to the side, staring at the front door. "You no wanna play?" Then he shrugged, laughed, and took off down the street. Tori and I stood by the front window. I was fuming a bit, as she totally ignored my pleas to "watch Max when you let Charlie out!" and she was concerned that mom was mad at her. Then animal control drove by. "Great." I whispered. "Animal Control has arrived." Tori said, "Don't worry, Mom. They'll never catch him."

Highlander takes him for runs. 6 miles, 9 miles, it doesn't matter. The dog comes home, naps on his footstool, and by supper he'd really like to go for another run.

Ya know that movie, Marley and Me? We took the kids to see that last year. Every time Marley did something destructive, Victoria would lean over and whisper to me, "Max did that once." When it was over, she commented, "Marley's got nuthin' on Max." I had to agree. But I also have to say, that in spite of my no-nonsense approach to pets, Max is loved by all of us here. Lotsa love.

So he shat all over my living room floor last night, and I heard Highlander find it this morning, his swearing combined with the click click click of Max's nails on the hardwood as he paced. I got out of bed, got dressed and pulled on by big pink gloves. I grabbed the papertowels and the watered down bleach and got to work. I'm not even mad at the dog for his tummy troubles. I've heard once you starve your belly's never quite the same. And I did give him an entire ham bone last night when Highlander and I left him home alone, which he not only ate the meat scraps off of, but crushed and knawed until there were only two little pieces left. I believe he would have eaten those, too. But we were only gone for an hour and a half.

The dog is happy. He's out in the cold right now until his tummy calms down, but I think he's happy. Maybe he wishes he had been adopted by a small town butcher. Or maybe dogs don't invent unrealistic alternate scenarios for themselves. Who knows. We're glad to have him either way.

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be nice...