Saturday, February 9, 2013

Puppy Love


My namer is Rufus. My Mama is in snow shock. Well, that's what she says. We didn't get all THAT much last night, but she still goes through anxiety. That's because she suffers from “piles”...piles of snow here, piles of snow there...and all the bad memories of shoveling out the driveway, the steps, a poop path in the back yard (a shih tzu has to do what a shih tzu has to do), and the sidewalk at our old house. Oh gods. The sidewalk.

She would take forever doing the front, using the shovel as a cane as well as a snow removal tool, sweating under her wool coat with sinuses running free, until the walk was perfect. She would come in grasping, dragging clods of snow on her pant legs (loved those!) and collapsing on the rocker. She would close her eyes, and breathe easier...until a revolving yellow light reflected off our picture window and we heard a scraping sound. She'd jump up, look out the door, and wail as the township plow covered her work with ice floes dug up from the road. (One year, she finished the walkway and turned back to the house, only to see the plow at the corner just waiting until she went inside. She whipped out her cell phone, took her shovel to the middle of the street, and called the Works Department. “I'm on Laurel Place, starring down one of your plows. I just finished my sidewalk. I'm not doing it twice. Tell your man to back off 'cause if he moves, I move with my industrial shovel, and I'll take out the headlights and windscreen before I'm through.” She hung up and, minutes later, watched the plow back down the street.)

Mama doesn't have to shovel anymore. We live in a senior village now. We have a downstairs co-op, so we don't have to worry about ice dams either, nor does she have to drive to work. Doesn't matter. Snow is still the enemy.

So, with weather stress, and articles to write, and a house to clean, I decided I would do her blog as an early Valentine Day present. I mean, why not. She always says I never give her anything except pee in the bathroom and poo in the hall (along with 9 years of stolen and shredded tissues, paper towels, documents, bills). But, what about unconditional love? What about loyalty? Who ELSE goes with her to the bathroom and guards her underwear every... single... time?

And – ya know – it's not easy being this chick's puppy. I'm scooped up and flung on my back for belly kisses, she's constantly picking eye buggers out of the corners of my lids, and she's manic about dirty hineys. And, by the way, if you don't want toys all over the place STOP BUYING THEM. Hey, I lived almost a year with my groomer with only a buffalo, a rubber cat and a grunting raccoon. I can handle it.
You know, she is always taking photos of me.  Now, she's even trying for naked art shots when I'm asleep.  This has to be illegal in some states, no?


Then, there are the costumes. I mean, when did I sign up for this? Every Samhain, since I was 6 months old, there has been a costume. The first one was a bumble bee. I don't really remember that one, but oh...I remember all the others.

The next year she dressed me as a DAISY. Hello! Just because you had my doctor do that thing with my junk doesn't mean I am now a girl.


Next came the lobster. Really? Do I look that comfortable to you? Just boil me already.


Then came the worse – the dinosaur. OK. This was partly my fault. I kept pawing at the picture of the costume in the sale catalog. Mama wanted me to be a pumpkin. I'm a BOY! I want to be something cool! So, she bought it saying, “You'll be sorry.” I was. How do you pee in that thing? Mama ended up writing a story about it, illustrated by her artist friend Robin Ator.

So, the following year, I had to give in. I was a pumpkin. Oh joy. Oh rapture. (Not raptor; that was the year before).


I don't even understand the next year's costume. Am I fish food? Jonah and the Whale? I couldn't even walk in this get-up.


The last year for costumes was 2011, a few months before Mama got sick. I was a hot dog. FINALLY! Something I understood! Right after the photo, I flung it off and tried to hide it in the back yard.

I know she had plans for this October. She was sitting at the computer at 3am muttering “costumes...costumes...” and then gasped, “Oh my god...PERFECT!” As Dorothy Parker said, “What fresh hell is this?” (Yes. Dorothy Parker. I'm a writer's dog; ya pick up things.) It's enough to make a shih tzu go voodoo.

I tried bribing Mama not to do this any more. Didn't work. Perhaps I shouldn't have taken the money from her Vera Bradley purse in the first place. (If they don't want puppies to get into their wallets they should make the zippers harder to undo.)

When I stop and think about it, life isn't SO bad. I have lots of playthings, fresh water, good food, my own bed and the OK to lie on the sofa and sleep in Mama's bed. It's fun to cuddle and then sleep back to back. Nice and warm...And I have family and friends who love me. I just wish Mama would stop watching those miserable ASPCA commercials. Every time they show a pup with the caption “Why do they beat me?” she cries, grabs me and sobs in my ear “How can anyone DO that?'

I don't KNOW, Ma! For the love of Isis, change the channel and unhand me! I had a good scratch going!

Me and Aunt Claude

All in all, I do love my Mama. She's not the sanest owner in the world, but I run around the coffee table in circles until I'm dizzy, and bark at imaginary enemies under the dryer. What do I know?

Happy Valentine's Day, Mama, and to all of you.

Your friend, Rufus

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