Saturday, April 9, 2016

In the dog house

For someone who never wanted a dog in the first place, I sure have a lot of dogs.

When I last brought up the issue, my attention was focused mainly on Bubalou, as he was a new addition to our family and so neurotic and needy, he was as much work as 3 dogs all rolled into one. Now, however, we actually have 3 dogs! We'd only had Bubalou for a few weeks before Jack Jack mysteriously reappeared at our apartment. And of course, my roommate has always had a dog. For the most part, I avoid the worst of dog ownership, but my boyfriend has left me home alone with the dogs for the entire weekend! Which is just serving to remind me of how crazy life is  when you have three dogs and one apartment.

On Barking

Imagine you have one dog who likes to bark. A lot. Now imagine you have two other impressionable dogs living with it. I'm not saying who's the instigator here (because they seem to have agreed to take turns), but once one starts, the others always have to follow suit. When one dog gets tired of barking, he'll stop for a second, but if another dog is still barking, he'll start right up again. Three dogs together bark exponentially more than three dogs separated. 

On Feeding

Bubalou is still on his special urinary diet, so he's not allowed to eat the same food as Jack Jack and vice versa. But both of them are spoiled little buggers from receiving too many table scraps, so when you feed them, they will just wait around, not eating, until someone gives them human food. They won't hesitate to starve themselves for their cause of a more  luxurious diet. Jack Jack hates his own food the worst, but, if driven to desperation, will eat Bubalou's. Bubalou will do the same with Jack Jack's. And that's of course exactly what they do when we're not around and we leave their food bowls out. Since their indulgent dad is out of town, I have put them on an eating schedule. They will get fed when I do (but not what I do). If they choose not to eat their assigned dog food, tough luck. They'll have another chance the next time mealtime comes around.

On Bodily Functions

Taking the dogs to do their business (we tell them to "Go busy," which I think is a phrase unique to Al's family) is only slightly easier than herding cats. You have Ralph, who is basically a good boy who comes when called and stays close, but likes to pee multiple times on every vertical surface in sight. Then you have Jack Jack, who (being lazy and also very independent-minded), doesn't want to move until you're ready to go back inside, then he suddenly needs to find the absolute perfect spot to take a dump. Bubalou recently completed his obedience training...but none of it seemed to stick. When you take him outside, he immediately runs for the bushes and becomes selectively deaf. Only copious amounts of yelling and angry stomping will get him to even look at you, let alone come back to you. Technically, we're supposed to keep the dogs on leashes when we take them out, but handling three leashes attached to even one extremely excited dog (Bubalou) is a recipe for entanglement and getting nowhere fast.

On Walks

My boyfriend bravely lets the dogs go off leash when walking them, but for me, that turns a physical exercise into a purely vocal one, consisting mainly of shouting things like, "Bubalou! No! Bubalou! Come! Bubalou! Heel! Bubalou!" over and over again until you get hoarse. You could substitute Jack Jack's name for a little variety. So despite the perils of entanglement, I choose to walk the dogs on leashes. This means another kind of exercise in which we mimic a suspension bridge, with the Eager Beaver Bubalou prancing along at the front, the lazy Jack Jack trailing sluggishly behind, and their leashes rising up to the pillar in the center – me – who must stop every dozen steps or so to extricate a leash from under someone's leg.

On Abandonment

Neither Bubalou nor Jack Jack takes very kindly to being left home alone. Bubalou has improved somewhat from his early days in that he no longer succumbs to hysteria as long as you don't lock him in a small space, but he does still pee frequently and everywhere if unsupervised (even in another room), so he has to wear a diaper whenever we leave him. Jack Jack knocks over all the garbage cans and eats everything he can find (I still haven't decided whether he's just really that hungry, or if he's being vindictive about being left behind), so we have to put all the trash cans on tables whenever we go anywhere. Leaving the dogs at the house is such a huge pain that we tend to take them  with us wherever we go. Which is a hassle in itself, as I'll leave you to only imagine.

On the Value of a Pretty Face

As you might have gathered, life with a pack of dogs is not usually what I'd call a charmed one. But there is one thing about the dogs that makes me happy—looking at them. They are so obnoxiously cute that even though they are the most annoying creatures on the earth, I still like them. They are my favorite photographic subject and almost certainly the focus of most of my posts on Facebook. Here are some recent favorite pics I haven't shared anywhere yet.
One dog, two beds!
It's too late, Bubalou. I already ate it.

At least someone enjoyed the blizzard we had in January!

Yes, he's licking his dad's head.

The life of a dog is so hard...
But Bubalou thinks life on a lap is just fine!
For someone who never wanted a dog in the first place, I sure like these guys a lot.

...Just don't tell my boyfriend that!


Anonymous said...

cute dogs, one of those dogs has cattitude