Note: The "Trooper" in question is not actually in the military. It's a metaphor, people.

September 14, 2007

Doggie Disciplinarian

Is it bad that I'll take the side of a blind dog over my boyfriend? Well, if it be it.

I'm dog sitting my friend Mendoza's dog Toby this weekend and, well, let's just say I'm in doggie heaven.

Yes, this picture is him - and he really is THAT damn cute.

I have desperately wanted a dog for years and the desire only grows more intense as my biological clock ticks louder. Unfortunately, my asshole landlord does not allow dogs and I don't feel like moving (nor do I want to get a dog just so he can sit home alone all day torturing my cat or vice versa).

Luckily, Mendoza allows me to pour affection on Toby whenever I want. She is a spectacular dog owner. Not only did she willingly adopt a "special needs" (blind) dog, but she has given him a life any fully sighted dog - or person- would envy. Toby is one happy boy.

I hang out with Mendoza a lot and Toby is always invited over right along with her. He's become part of my extended single girl family. So when Mendoza mentioned she was going to Portland for a long weekend to visit some friends, I shouted, "I'll take Toby!" before she even had the chance to ask me.

I brought the dog and all his accessories over to my place last night. So far, we've already had three walks and two successful poops. Life is good.

I was eager to come home from work today to be greeted by a happy, panting pup. No offense to my beloved cat, but a squeaky meow and a homicidal dart under my tired feet does not quite say "I love you" like a jumping, happy doggie does.

However, my homecoming was hampered a bit. I was on the phone with Wine Guy as I came through the front door. He was in the grocery store parking lot about to buy food for tonight's dinner. He needed me to go online and read him the ingredients from an online recipe since he (yet again) left it on his desk at work. I knew Toby had to go for a tinkle but I also wanted to help Wine Guy since he was volunteering to do the shopping (he knows how much I detest this task). My plan was to get on-line and read him the ingredients quickly so I could get Toby out for his walk ASAP.

My crappy internet connection had other plans for me. While that annoying little circle kept spinning and spinning, Toby began barking - neither of them showing any sign of stopping. I've got a frustrated chef waiting on the line, a determined barking blind dog standing by the door, and a useless computer whirring on my desk. I'm stressing. I had to make a call. "Look, I've got to take Toby out. I'll call you back in a few minutes."

Wine Guy didn't sound happy, "Well, it might be too late. I'll just try to remember the recipe the best I can."

Whatever. No time to argue. This dog had to pee. I said bye and hung up quickly.

Once on his leash and bumping his way up the unfamiliar steps, Toby's barking ceased and he was back to his cheerful self, happily squirting away on every bush and post he inadvertently bumped in to.

Five minutes later, I'm back in my kitchen and on the phone with Wine Guy who is, of course, still shopping. While Toby munches on his dinner, I tell Wine Guy I'm sorry for having to basically hang up on him. "It's just that the barking gets me so anxious and he really had to go."

Wine Guy accepts my apology but quickly ruins it when he says, "Well, Toby is just going to have to learn how to delay self gratification."

What?! I know Wine Guy is not a dog person necessarily (something I hope he gets over), but blaming poor Toby for saying "Hey! Lady! I've gotta pee! Let's go!" is just insane.

I respond sternly, "He wasn't asking to be gratified. He had to pee for God's sake!"

Wine Guy counters, "Relieving his bladder is a form of gratification. He needs to learn to hold it."

"Uh...what do you think he's been doing all day?! Holding it!"

Wine Guy pauses. Then continues with a smile in his voice, "Well, I can see whose side you're going to take!"

Damn straight. It's the dog all the way. Toby could very well have said (if he could talk), "Screw her. I'm pissing right here on her kitchen cabinets." But he didn't because he's a good boy.

Now, if you are a guy reading this, you're probably not thinking too much of this story. Big deal, right?

But you ladies, tell me I'm not alone on this one. All I could think the moment he gave me the whole "delay gratification" line was: Is this the kind of father Wine Guy would be?

I know, sounds ridiculous, but I think that is a pretty typical response for a woman who keenly aware that she is in the midst of her supposed reproducing years (talk about delayed gratification). Was Wine Guy being an overly harsh disciplinarian? Did he lack sympathy for Toby and his bladder? Would he get mad at our child for wetting his pants if he just couldn't hold it any longer?

I'm sure I'm going off the deep end here so I'll stop obsessing. No one's perfect. And I could very well be wrong in my interpretation of this brief exchange. I've heard owning a dog as a couple is a pretty good way way to find out if you are compatible in parenting styles. Do I really want to know that? Don't most people just jump in and figure it out (emotionally damaging their children in the process).

OK, I'll really stop obsessing now. Instead I will choose to focus on the wonderful meal Wine Guy is going out of his way to prepare for us. Oh, and making sure Toby gets some serious petting too. Enjoy your weekend.



coffeesnob said...

isn't that dog overdressed (fuzzy coat-wise) for california weather?

Kelly said...

You were right to hang up on him. Since you're just dog-sitting, this isn't the time to figure out whether The Most Adorable Dog in the World truly needed to pee or whether this was just part of his routine for demanding a walk. Because, you know, being blind and all, barking is his only way of communicating.

Better to assume he truly had to pee than to find out the hard way.

Some owners let their dogs dictate the timing of activities, walks, playtimes, etc. It does get to be annoying. In that sense, I can see where Wine Guy is coming from. When your dog is telling YOU when it wants to go out, multiple times a day, when it really doesn't need to go out, that's one thing.

But NOT in this situation. A temporary visit to your house is not the time to begin a new discipline program. And for chrissakes, it's not the dog's fault he was stuck inside all day.

It sounds like Wine Guy was just trying to push your buttons. He was either in a bad mood or just trying to get a rise out of you. Or both.

Wouldn't try to connect this to how he'd behave with kids. Especially if he's not a dog person. [Although I could never really trust anyone who wasn't a dog person.]

Michele said...

Hmmm, I'm not sure how you should take that response. I'm not a dog person either but it sounds a bit selfish to me. I think it's a lot easier for Wine Guy to wait in the grocery store for a few minutes ... and delay his gratification ... than for a poor dog who has been holding it for hours to wait ... plus, I'm not sure animals understand the whole delayed gratification concept. I know confrontation is awful but maybe you should just tell Wine Guy you are concerned about his reaction ... in a loving kind of way of course.

Loverville said...

That really is one of the cutest dogs, ever!

I'm not sure if I'd make draw a comparison between WG's sentiment about the dog and how he'd be as a father. But the fact that he considers peeing a form of self-gratification? (especially involving a blind dog) Hmmm...

coffeesnob said...

one of the essential differences between the sexes is their attitude to housework/errands. women mostly get on with it. whereas men tend to think they're taking an extra credit course, and expect some demonstrative display of gratitude.

wine guy is just miffed - or to put it in wine terms, corked - he got bumped for a dog.

if you weren't charting the vicissitudes of your dating life on this blog, would you still remember this incident in november? would he?