Random Thoughts Day 5: Hijacked!

I am sorry to Cheryl for having to hijack her blog, but I am not “a dog with a blog,” and I have something to say.

I have anxiety.  When humans get anxiety, they go see doctors and get Zoloft or Xanax.  What do I get?  Some crazy bones they buy at PetSmart that have tryptophan in them.  When I am alone and it thunderstorms, it is not enough!  My fears are deep-seeded.

You see, Cheryl and Tom got me from the pound in 2008.  I lived in another house before them.  It was a big white house with a big yard, but one day, moving trucks came and put everything into a truck.  It happened right after some official men put a sign in the front yard, a sign that said “Foreclosed.”  I did not understand what that meant, but the way everyone moped around, I didn’t think it was good.

When the house was completely empty,  the lady, her name was Mary, she called me over to her.  She lay next to me on the floor, stroked my coat, and cried.  She had picked me from the litter, and she said I was her favorite.  However, her husband, Rob, he pulled her up.  He said it was for the best, and he took off my collar.  I didn’t understand.  Why was Mary sad?  What had happened to all of our stuff?  Where were we going? And why did he take my collar?

“Come on, Boy.  Car ride,” Rob said to me.  Oh, how I love car rides.  I raced to the side door and jumped into the backseat.  Rob unrolled the windows.  I put my head out and sucked in the fresh air.  August in Ohio is so warm and inviting.  We drove for about a half hour, into an area I didn’t recognize.  After awhile, we stopped.  He didn’t bring my leash, so I thought I was going to stay in the car.  However, Rob got out and opened the back door.

“Come on, Boy.”  He patted his lap, showing me that it was okay.  “You want to run and play.”  He had my favorite Frisbee, and he threw it into the distance.  I leapt off the backseat out of the car and raced after my favorite toy.  Retrieving it, I turned around wagging my tail.  Triumphantly, I was going to take it back to Rob, but Rob was not where I left him.  He and the car were gone.  I raced back to the road with the Frisbee in my teeth, but I did not see the car.  I did not see Rob.  I started to panic.  I had never been anywhere without either Mary or Rob?  Why would he leave me by myself?

I dropped the Frisbee.  I thought if Rob came back and saw that i left it, he would know I would come back and retrieve it.  He would wait for me.  I raced around the woods and up and down streets I did not recognize searching for Rob.  I sniffed trying to pick up his scent, but not only did nothing smell like Rob, nothing smelled familiar at all.  I did not know where I was.

Within an hour, I was disoriented, and I did not even know where I left the Frisbee.  I was thirsty, too.  I skulked down lazy roads wishing I could find my way home.  I found a pond and drank dirty, still water.  It did not taste like the fresh water I got at home, but I had to drink something.

I sat down under a tree to try to decide what to do.  I looked up, and realized the sky had grown very dark, and not in a it’s nighttime kind of way.  Suddenly, it began to rain, a torrential rain with loud thunder claps and lightning strikes.  I had never been outside when it was raining before, and it was oh-so scary.  I sat under the tree and cried.  I just wanted to go home.  I just wanted Mary and Rob.

A nice man driving by saw me soaking wet and shivering under that tree.  He stopped the car, and he got out and approached me.

“Hey, Boy,” he said holding out his hand for me to smell.  I licked it.  “Are you lost?”  He touched my head gently, and I lay on the ground in a puddle subserviently.  “Okay, Boy,” he said.  “And he opened the backdoor to his car, and I jumped in.

He drove for a few minutes, and then we got out at a building I had never seen.  I could hear other dogs barking.  I wondered if this man had a lot of pets, and if he was going to help me find Rob and Mary or just adopt me.

I realized we were at a shelter.  All the other dogs were like me– lost and homeless.  He spent some time talking to a nice lady.  They dried me off, got me some kibble, and some fresh water.  It wasn’t home, but at least I was out of that ominous, spine-chilling storm.

Fast forward a month and I was adopted by Tom and Cheryl.  They have been the best parents in the world.  They have opened thier home and loved me.  I barely remember what it was like with Mary and Rob.  I know I did not feel this confortable and safe.  However, when no one is home, and it begins to rain, I cannot forget that one awful afternoon.  My nerves kick in, and I poop.  I don’t mean to mess in the house, but I get afraid.  I know they are at work or out with the girls, but I think, what if, what if I were all alone again?

Thank God, they love me.  It gets cleaned up, and it isn’t mentioned again.

Last night, when I cuddled up next to Cheryl’s legs, she put her hand on my hind leg, and after a while, I felt her breathing slow and turn rhythmic.  I fell into a deep sleep knowing that she was next to me, protecting me from the storms of life.

Day 277: I Want To Come Back as a House Dog. (Fido Is an Optional Name)

Lately, I have been overly stressed, and when I feel anxious my mind plays tricks on me.  I play a little game I like to call “what if?”

What if they charge me $800.00 for the broken computer?
What if I lose my shit and punch some smartass kid in the face?
What if my cholesterol number doesn’t fall?
What if that headache was really a tumor?
What if this skin tag on my neck is really cancer?
What if I get in a car accident trying to call the doctor to get this skin tag looked at?
What if I die?

“What if” always leads to death, which means I have been thinking a great deal about what comes next.  I have decided, I kind of like the idea of reincarnation, but only if I get to come back as something cool, like a house dog.

How good do dogs have it?  They sleep about twenty hours a day; they crap wherever they want (and if they have nice parents; they don’t even get in trouble for the occasional accident in the house); and when they are cute, wag their tails, and give a few licks, they usually produce the “Aaahhh factor” and score a couple of treats.

Yep.  Being a house dog would be pretty fabulous, especially because the worries I feel as a human would cease to exist.  The owners of most house dogs want their dogs to feel that they live in a utilitarian society– what is important is the greatest happiness for little Fido.  When the owner is nervous about bills, he doesn’t yell at Fido for not contributing his fair share.  In actuality, he offers the dog more love and affection because he himself feels better by cuddling with the dog.   Furthermore, Fido is showered with love when life is at its fullest and at its happiest for said owner.  When the owner is having a good day, he wants to treat Fido to an extra walk, a car ride, or a trip to the dog park.

Really.  Anyway you slice it, it’s a win-win.

The best part of being reincarnated as a dog is that the owner thinks Fido has some mystical way of sensing the goodness in people.  I know that when my dog barks at the strangers and acquaintances who enter my home, I weigh his reaction gravely.  Dogs are intuitive, and their visceral knowledge of the human aura is real.  They can read people unlike any human can.  They sense goodness.  They sense negativity.

Yep, if I were reincarnated as a dog, I would hope I would maintain some of my human common sense and brain functioning.  I would make newcomers work at being my friend, even the ones I know are essentially favorable.  I would need to be cajoled with numerous belly rubs to be convinced of the person’s kindness.  The smart stranger would slip me table scraps to win me over.

Sometimes, I would probably want to entertain myself as well, so sometimes, with a really new person, I might bark a mighty bark that rings with great portents.  Surely,  my owner would feel alarm about the character of this newcomer– could I smell malevolence and disaccord?  Could I be the harbinger of dangers to come?  Naaa.  I’d just be f–ing with him, but it sure would be fun to watch everyone squirm, especially if the newcomer had the potential of being that “someone special,” someone who would be competing with me for my owner’s time and affections.  Oh yes, this person would have to work hard to win me over.  I’m sure learning to bake organic dog treats would be a step in the right direction.

Yes, I think it would be a pretty good life being a dog.  No grammar.  No traffic tickets.  No trips to the DMV.

I would like a chair I could call my own
drink from the water and eat a juicy bone
wake up every day and enjoy my new life
I would not complain of my former strife
I was upset, you see, as a human it was hard
But being a dog, no more chance to be marred.

Day 240: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Two years ago, Tom opened the side door to put Linus on the chain.  Just as he was reaching for the chain, Linus caught sight of another dog passing by.  He took off like a bat out of hell in the direction of the little schnauzer, barking his friendly “hello.”  However, said schnauzer did not find the bark of fifty pound Linus friendly.  He cowered behind his owner, whimpering.

Tom felt awful.  He ran after Linus.  He grabbed his collar and said to the schnauzer’s owner, “Is he okay?”

The owner misinterpreted.  “Is he okay?  You should be asking about my dog!”

“I was asking about your dog!” Tom countered.

“Get your dog on a leash before he bites someone!” the man yelled back.  He yanked his dog’s leash, and they were on their way.

Tom stood at the end of our driveway somewhat dumbfounded.  He did not intend for Linus to run out.  He was concerned for the little dog, and he was misunderstood.  Nonetheless, he was angry at this man for being rude.  So angry, that when he retold the story to me, he used the word “Prick” to describe our neighbor.

Flash forward a year and a half: the Indian’s home opener.  Tom had the fortune of taking  a half day from work and going down to Progressive Field for the game.  Tom joined 43,189 other fans to root on the Cleveland Indians.  However, he didn’t stay the whole game.  April is still very chilly in Cleveland, and when the sun set, all the beer in the world couldn’t keep him warm.  He felt bad that I could not partake in the festivities, so when he got home, he decided we should go across the street to our local hangout and have a beer and watch the end of the game together.  I agreed.

We walked in and everyone in the place had Indians gear on.  The varying levels of drunkenness allowed me to gauge whether they were out for a beer or if they had been downtown all day.  We bellied up to the bar and ordered a beer.  The Indians were in the eighth inning and they were up by three runs.  They looked great, and the possibility of a pennant had already entered my mind.

But then the top of the ninth came.  The Indians blew their three-run lead.  The game was suddenly tied 4-4.  The stadium was virtually empty because the temperatures had dipped into the thirties when the sun went down.  More and more people were walking into the bar.  People like Tom, people who had been at the game but could not take the cold any longer.  In walked three strangers dressed in Indians gear.  They sat down next to us, and immediately we all started to talk about the game.  They couldn’t handle the cold either, so they decided to leave.  Of course, they were listening to the game in the car, and when the Blue Jays tied it up, they knew they had to stop off somewhere and have a beer and watch the end together.  We quickly learned that they were a father and his son and daughter.

After a few minutes of talking, we all felt like we were friends– a bar and beer and people half in the bag will do that.  We exchanged names: our new friends were Kristy, Frankie, and Frank.

“Where do you live?” Kristy asked.

“On Priscilla,” I said.

“No way!  My dad lives on Priscilla.”  Kristy turned to her dad to get his attention.  “Hey Dad, these people are your neighbors.  They live on Priscilla.”

“Where do you live,” he asked.

“Near the start of the street.  We have an Ohio State sign in our front yard,” Tom said.

Just then, a flash of recognition crossed over Frank’s face.  “You’re the jerk whose dog tried to eat Elvis,” he said.

My mouth dropped open.  I looked at Tom.  He was in utter disbelief.

“What are you talking about?” Kristy asked.

Tom and Frank retold the story.  Frank thought Tom was a jerk.  Tom thought Frank was a prick.  Both dogs were fine; it was a misunderstanding

“I really am sorry about that,” Tom said.

“No, it’s fine.  I overreacted,” Frank said.

And like so many men when they have been drinking a few beers, they hugged it out.

We made new friends that day.  We are known as “the neighbors up the street.”  We have done numerous things with them this summer, all because of an incident we all thought created enemies ended up being the familiar story that brought us together.

Today, we are going to Frank’s house for a cookout.  This is our second cookout at Frank’s and the first one was so fun, we called it Frankapalooza.  Today is going to be bigger and better.  Frankapalooza 2.0– with a bouncy house!!!!