For those of you who know me beyond the (gifted) writer who yearns to co-host the Ellen show, (Dear Ellen: Look out your window. I’m the one waving…on the hood of your car) you know I’ve never owned a dog because dogs sit on your furniture (Without pants, I might add) after they poop (Ewwww). Well, get this: I dog sat for two days. You heard me. A dear friend asked me to look after her non-shedding, well-trained Wheaton terrier and because I was mainlining Oxycontin when she asked, I agreed. As I write this, I’m eyeball-to-eyeball with the living teddy bear as he barks like a nut bar, foams at the mouth and plays dead (OMG, what a goofball!!). I may not be well-versed in dog speak but any ninny knows this is a sure sign he wants to go outside and play. Oooops! After a quick Google search, I gather it may very well be the window cleaner he drank. Live and learn.
After two days with Jak, I’ve learned a few things. He does not read signs very well: Jak, don’t drink this clear window cleaner in the bowl beside your water; he sniffs my butt a lot and I like it, dammit; and he has given me more eye contact and obedience in 48 hours than I’ve had since our two boys became alive teenagers. I’m trying not to compare Jak to my kids but it’s tough. Though they are wonderful boys, when they turned 13 their frontal lobes were swiped clean like a hard drive. It was the last time they enunciated, looked me in the eye, and completed a Herculean task such as turning off the lights. Jak, on the other hand, speaks volumes with his body language (wagging tail, foaming mouth, rabid barking), stares deep into my eyes when I reach for the leash or dog food bag, and follows orders. How can I not
prefer compare him??
I can’t recall the last time our boys met a request of mine (It was pre-frontal lobe swipe for certain). They are gifted at making requests: car, money, my oxygen supply, but when it’s time to comply? Not so much. It’s not that they don’t want to do stuff for me; it’s that they have iPhones which require constant attention in the form of downloading music, texting and snap chatting. Jak doesn’t have an iPhone and if I have anything to say about it, he never will. Stay real, Jak.
For years, I’ve tried to train our boys to complete the simplest chores but nothing works. I’ve tried everything: To-do lists, bribery and crystal meth. I finally gave up. You can imagine my surprise when I told Jak to sit and he did it! Merely being acknowledged got my synapses firing and I was ripe for bonding so I swaddled the pooch in a blanket and read him Dr. Seuss’s Go, Dog, Go! Once the little bugger wriggled free, I tried another request, “Jak. Lie down.” Again, he complied! The power was intoxicating! Then I brought out the big guns, as was demonstrated by Jak’s (show-off) owners. I placed a piece of carrot in front of him and told him to wait. Then I said the magic words: Would you like a dollop of Ranch dip with that? “Take it, Jak.” Only then, did he gobble the carrot. That’s it. I was sold. I announced to Max, our 17 year-old: “Meet the new centre of my universe. You’re free to go.” Even though his expression didn’t change, I could tell he was tweeting (#I’mfree!) about it, devastated obviously.
Our two days with Jak proved a hunch: I have a wicked butt; ask Jak. Plus, dogs are low(ish) maintence/high reward. Teenagers? Less so. See for yourself:
Here’s Jak giving me some hard -core eye contact:
Here’s Max giving eye contact:
Here is Jak’s room:
Annnnd Max’s room:
Jak waiting patiently for his Lilliputian piece of carrot:
Max waiting patiently for supper:
Jak looking sheepish after being told to settle down:
Max looking sheepish after my lecture on too much texting:
Jak being told to go to bed:
Max listening intently as I suggest he stop texting and get some sleep:
And here’s one that proves not only does Jak obey and adore me, but he also likes to let loose now and then. This was our last night together; we reminisced and even cried a little. I said, “There. There, Jak. It’s okay.” but he couldn’t get a hold of himself. Once I finished the whole bottle he seemed to feel better. I know I did.
After returning Jak to his (freakishly possessive) owners, I was struck with what that cuddly canine had brought to our household: affection, companionship, and filthy paw prints. Like, everywhere. As I started to clean the floors, I caught a glimpse of Jak’s turd in the back yard that someone had neglected to scoop. Then everything came into focus and I remembered why I didn’t have a dog: Because a clean home and tidy yard is far more important than companionship and unconditional love. Duh. Everyone knows that.
That said, we would welcome Jak with open arms to come visit. Next time though, to make it easier on me, I may teach him a few new tricks: How to read very important signs; how to hover over ashphalt mud puddles when out for a walk; and that pants aren’t just for people.
**Note: Some events were fabricated for the sake of humour. Jak does not sit on the furniture or drink Pinot Grigio. He drinks Merlot.