My dog is trying to tell me something important. I woke up today to her staring at me. This is unnerving. She knows something. But what? Do I need to go to the doctor? Get some diagnostics on all my organs? Do I have a brain tumor? What!??
I completely trust Maggie on this. She is gifted. It was obvious the day she picked us at the pet store. She sees a mom walk in with two kids and a husband tagging along and says, “THEM! THEM! THEM! THEM! THEM!”
All I’m thinking is “What a cute puppy!” But she is getting our demographics in the way it concerns her for an immediate transaction. She sets her sights on a goal, finds the right sucker moment and boom! She executes with a leap into my arms and a French kiss. Wastes no time.
Right away she spotted that I am the love dispenser, caretaker and nurturer and (I’m not sure how she picked up on this, because I’m not practicing anymore. It’s more genetic than philosophy), she knew right away that I was raised Catholic. Gifted!
We paid an exorbitant amount of money for a dog that wasn’t even a purebred. She is a mutt, technically, and we knew we were being idiots to spend that much money on a dog that wasn’t potty-trained yet. It wasn’t until we got her home and took her on walks that we realized JUST HOW RIPPED OFF we were. She walks like she has a bent frame from a previous car accident.
I said to Skye, “I wonder how much more the dogs cost that can walk completely sideways?” We obviously did not get the top model in the showroom. But she knew things.
When I realized she knew I was Catholic it wasn’t until after we got her home. After I walked her diagonally up the street and brought her in so she could pee, and I’m wiping up the puddle, it dawns on me how we picked her. She Frenched me. She pegged me for the “Hey, you stuck your tongue down my throat! Now we have to get married” type.
After that fateful kiss, I could not put her down to look at any other dog. The boys showed me a pug. They fawned over a cairn terrier, like Skippy, the last dog that lived with us that I didn’t bond with because he wasn’t really mine. He was my mother-in-law’s dog. An elderly dog that was not looking for a new relationship. Skippy reluctantly moved in with us because my mother-in-law couldn’t keep him at the apartment she moved into around the corner from us. Skippy kept his affections to himself but he was loveable when he climbed in my son’s stroller and posed for pictures. He was adorable when he leapt over sidewalks chasing squirrels. He leapt because he was mostly blind and he thought the sidewalk was a stream. He was a mountain dog from Boulder. Mostly blind and deaf but not too stiff for a good squirrel chase.
Skippy never tried to French me. But I did touch his dippy once. Accidentally, trust me. The boys were little, sitting in their car seats in the backseat, playing with legos. One of them put his legos on the bench between the carseats. Then Skippy jumped up and sat on the legos.
“Mom! Skippy is sitting on our legos and he won’t move!”
“Give him a nudge.”
“We did! He won’t budge!”
I couldn’t budge him either. So I reached under Skippy with my pointer and my middle finger, and scissored my way around until I felt the legos, closed my fingers around them and tried to slide them out from under him but they…wouldn’t…..and then I screamed. “Ah! That wasn’t a lego! That was Skippy’s dippy! Eeeew!”
Skippy looked at me with a most dignified expression. If he could talk, he’d sound like Sean Connery. He would have said something really witty about having only heard rumors about humans touching animals’ privates and it would have taken the edge off. But without Skippy saying a word, I was still reeling, wiping my fingers off repeatedly on my pant leg. Needless to say, the kids had to wait until we got to our destination to get their legos back. And Skippy and I never bonded. It just wasn’t a match.
But with Maggie, we bonded at first kiss. We had our low patches, when she didn’t understand the part about using the outside potty not the inside potty. I remember losing all patience with her and scolding her in a voice that I regretted using once I saw her eyes. She is a fluffy lapdog whose eyes are buried under curly poodley hair.
One day I put her in the cement sink in the basement and hosed her body with warm water, lathered her up, being sure not to get soap in her face and I saw her eyes for the first time. She has the most gentle, sweet brown eyes I have ever seen. When I looked into those angel eyes, and saw how little she is underneath all that fluff, I regretted immensely that I’d lost patience with such a sweet soul.
And then it happened. Suddenly she shifted. She quit peeing in the house! But how I knew she was smart, the thing that sealed it for me was this. When we got her it was an election year. Ohio is a battleground state. Literally. The political signs are up in front lawns of neighbors I have never met, never heard speak. But there’s their sign yelling their political views down the street at all the neighbors’ political signs. On dog walks, I notice that Maggie only takes a crap on Republican’s lawns. I think for sure it is coincidence the first time. Except, she does it day after day.
That’s how I knew she could read. Had only I known. I could have put signs up all over the house. Don’t pee here. Don’t chew this. The couch is off limits. No jumping on people when we open the door. However, aside from being smart, she is also set in her ways. The signs do no good now. We missed our window.
If only she could hold up a sign to tell me why she was staring at me in my sleep. Your breathing changed. You kicked me. You have a blood clot in your left ventricle. You were talking in your sleep and you called my name, what was I supposed to do? I thought you were awake. Get that tumor looked at.
It could have been any one of those things. I can’t obsess about it another minute. It’s giving me a headache. What if that’s a symptom!!??