The Business of Dogs

This week I’ve been spending about half of my time at my friend B.’s house, watching her two dogs while she’s in the UK.  My dog, who normally spends his day either looking out the window or snoozing in a blanket cave, has been having the time of his life hanging out with the other dogs.

He looks so calm and serene in that photo, doesn’t he?  Just as does my friend’s chihuahua in this profile view:

He and the chihuahua, however, are anything but serene when they come together. The little guy, who is about half the size of my dachshund, has been spending the evenings initiating one wrestling match after another. My dog has taken to hiding in my lap, with the apparent hope of escaping the action for a moment or two.

This sort of thing goes on for hours at a time, until they are both so exhausted they pass out cold wherever they sit.

During the few times when they aren’t wrestling actively, they and the labrador sit huddled in a circle around me, staring hopefully, just in case I have a treat or toy hidden up my sleeve.  Here’s a picture of what I see every time I try to sit down to read or watch TV:

Please forgive the bad lighting, and note my dachshund there in the right foreground, where he sits on my lap.  The little chihuahua looks ready to launch himself up into the chair, and the labrador, lurking darkly in the left midground, watches with disdain. While the two little dogs chase and wrestle all day, she lounges around on the floor, occasionally glaring at them with clear disgust in her eyes.  Hateful whippersnappers! It’s been so fun to watch and observe their ways of negotiating the canine social order, though.

In addition to the daily dog fun, I had a lovely Fourth of July.  My friends S. and K. came over to B.’s and we gorged ourselves on food and wine, then spent a good hour or so floating about the pool, wine glasses in hand.  I have decided that floating around in the pool while drinking wine is the perfect amalgamation of two perfect activities.  Nothing could be more relaxing! Nothing!  I cannot recommend anything more enthusiastically than this.  Eventually, though, the approaching lightning sent us back inside, where we spent the rest of the night shit talking and listening to music, and comforting the dogs, who were all wary of the fireworks and thunder.

Speaking of weather (aren’t you enthralled already?) there has been at least one ridiculous thunderstorm a day for the last week or two — that’s just the way we roll in summer in New Wye, you know?  Temperatures in the upper 90s, and air so steamy your glasses fog up as soon as you step out of the comfort of your air-conditioned house or car. Your hair frizzes instantly, makeup melts off your face, and your clothes cling sadly to your sweaty, sticky, stinking corpus.

[Digression about Science: At least we HAVE air conditioning in New Wye, though — that was one luxury sadly lacking in Zembla, where, despite summer temperatures in the 90s and 100s, the citizens seem to be stubbornly convinced they “don’t need” air conditioning.  May I introduce you to SCIENCE, Zemblans?  It makes our lives infinitely better. ]

During the thunderstorms, my dog gets so nervous he crawls up in my lap, legs trembling and heart racing, and whines and shakes until the thunder and lightning stop.  His face is heartbreakingly sad, with his huge, pitiful hound-dog eyes, furrowed brow, and ears pulled back.  In such cases, I am a complete sucker, and I simply can’t resist.  I’ve been letting him come back into my bedroom with me — a windowless, quiet, dark sanctuary — where he builds a blanket cave out of the duvet, effectively insulating himself from the danger outside, and we drink tea and read.  Well, I drink tea and read; he sleeps.  It’s all very cozy.

This is going to sound totally gay, dude, but I can barely remember what life was like before I had a dog.

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4 thoughts on “The Business of Dogs

  1. clarabella July 6, 2008 / 10:19 pm

    ah, puppies. i talked a lot about greta at the fourth of july shindig we went too because all the guests brought their dogs (we even took nico and he behaved! can you believe it?), but many of these folks didn’t know greta. while i love nico, as you know, i miss that big ass dane as if she’d been here just yesterday. that’s what your comments about “life like before a dog” reminded me of. she made me realize i was definitely a “dog person.” good think i had her before nico. ha!
    as for the other dogs, can you imagine how happy the diminutive (and i mean that in the most respectful way) dogs are to have a playmate their size? gah, they’re in wrestle play heaven, without fear of a giant maw trapping them.
    as for the weather, i got nothing for you. i’d take thunderstorms over the ever-present stifling heat and humidity we’ve got going on here. at least storms break up the forever humid monotony. how are you getting storms but they’re missing us? wish they’d move northwest for a change!

  2. Alfina the Vague July 7, 2008 / 1:44 am

    Awww, Greta! SHe was truly one of the best dogs. Greta and Stanley and Egon are(/were) the best of the best.

    The little guys are truly happy to have someone their own size to pick on! Eegs always tries to play with Chester, my friend K.’s (also small) dog, but he’s so old that he basically just sits there and scowls at E.’s antics. I do not even need to tell you how E.’s efforts at playtime with the cat fall completely flat!

    He’s seriously psyched to be attending what I’m now calling Dog Day Camp at B.’s house everyday. If I’m getting ready to leave the house now, instead of heading to his kennel as usual (he’s so smart about knowing these things), he now heads straight for the door, tail all a-wag, anticipating going to see the other dogs. He’s loving it!

    Annnnnd I have completely dorked out about my dog now. But I know you understand!

  3. Alexis July 7, 2008 / 8:27 pm

    I have now watched your Syndicated Canine Wrestling clip six times (and thought I should confess.)

  4. Alfina the Vague July 8, 2008 / 9:10 am

    Well, admitting it is the first step toward recovery!

    I watched it a few times myself trying to make sure it uploaded/embedded right, and I noticed that the TV is on in the background and is completely audible. They’re discussing Nicolette Sheridan’s “top beach body.” And now everyone knows what kind of crap TV I watch when given the chance.

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