Dog Days

Today was a better day with my new dog, Romy. I didn’t get head-butted putting on his leash. I can still feel the result of yesterday’s crash if I move my fingers along the bone under my eye but there’s no bruise. So it can stay our little secret.

The task really is to tame him. At first, it was to give him a home. Then it was to keep our older dog from being hectored to death. Now it’s to civilize him and help him find his place in the world order. We can’t let him be a crazy shit dog because we feel sorry for his poor beginnings because, who knows, maybe he was born in the backseat of a Cadillac and ate poached eggs every morning. I’m not going to assume.

He was a decent citizen today, good for long stretches of time, sometimes even sleeping in the same room with the ancient Minnie without going after her hind legs. But then a switch flipped and he ran like a deer through the house, leaping from the stairs, jumping high enough to look me straight in the eye. We went for our second walk then where he immediately found a half-eaten sleeve of Ritz crackers (yesterday it was a champagne cork) and carried it like a small mouse for half a block. He will give things up which is amazing. I figure if his world order includes me as the pack leader I need to be in charge of what goes in his mouth. So far, he’s agreed.

I’ve never really thought about any of this stuff before. We’ve had five dogs and they just sort of lived here, driving us crazy and then getting old. We yelled at them not to do bad stuff which they did anyway until they got bored with themselves and then they just laid about unless it was time to go run on the beach. This dog is different. I have to out-think him. He is too intense and smart for a laid back upbringing. We’ll wake up one morning and find he’s taken the keys to the truck and gone back to Alabama which we have kind of wished for but not really.

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