Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Who's A Good Girl?
When I started this blog, there were a few things I swore to myself I would never do: pictures of my kids, memes, pet blogging, mortification of my own flesh. The last one doesn't really have to do with blogs or blogging, it's just something I try to avoid. It's not just because I'm a wuss and am afraid of pain. The main problem is that I'm afraid I might like it. Low self-esteem types like me, we know deep down that we deserve the occasional self-lashing with a home-made cat o' nine tails fashioned out of some old wire hangars bent to shape mingled with a few fistfuls of my own hair. Oh the sweet sting of well-deserved punishment, that first glorious bloom of crimson as the blood is released from the hot, impure, chastised flesh...

See, the lure is quite strong.

But like most promises to myself, I've broken most of those. Except for the pet-blogging thing. That's something I've refused to jump in on. I mean, it just seems too easy, you know? I pride myself on how I take this blog thing way too seriously and how I can always find a way to make it about 50 times more difficult than it needs to be. Why say in 10 words what you can say in 500?

Pet blogging is usually just all pictures and aww, aren't the little critters all fuzzy and flickrgenic. And then when you've shown all the pictures of Fluffy that even you can stand, you only need put the animal in a sea captain's hat or a pair of sunglasses, maybe add a funny caption ("Cap'n Puddles sez: Run the sail up the main mastiff, boys! We're headed for Labrador!") and your pet blog is new again. The ideas never run out.

I make all these promises to myself and then one day--today for example--when you have nothing prepared, nothing blog-worthy happens in the course of your day and the goddamn paperboy throws your newspaper right where the sprinklers can soak it into inky, mushy oblivion, you must contemplate the Dark Inevitable.

When you're trawling for something--anything--through the headlines over at, praying to find a celebrity OxyContin story or a video of some guy getting hit in the nuts by one of his kids, you know you're dry. Unlike my newspaper, today I am dry.

So I present to you all now, the story of Pops' dog.

I have a dog.

I have no dignity, but I have a dog.

Her name is Josef Stalin.

I know, it's not a very good picture, but this is the only picture I've ever been able to take of her. Shortly after--very shortly after, in fact--this one was taken, my camera was rendered inoperable along with my right hand and several of the nerve endings in the left side of my face. I still can't blink right.

Suffice it to say people-clothes and funny poses are sort of out of the question with this dog.

We adopted her after we found her living as a stray. She'd found shelter in a house a few blocks from ours, where the Ortegas used to live. I guess they must have moved or something, I don't know. They never call or write. All I know is that we were surprised to see her looking so well fed for a stray.

But we took her home and she was ours from the very beginning. Right away we started playing this fun game where she tries to put her mouth on the necks of my children and I wrestle around with her trying to stop her. I loved it, she loved it, the four kids we had at the time really loved it.

Just so you know, though, adopting a dog--any dog--comes with its own share of difficulties. There's the house training, the shots, the spaying/neutering, the constant poop-shoveling, the ridiculous expense of chew toys, my wife's voluntary hysterectomy... seriously, the menstrual cycle in human females makes our poor Josef Stalin crazy. The operation was tough on my wife and the resulting staph infection was sort of touch-and-go there for a while, but hey, what are we going to do? Get rid of the dog? We made a commitment to this animal and we take that seriously.

As a formerly wild dog, Josef Stalin also has some issues about abandonment. She really hates to be left alone. It was worst when she was a puppy. Some dogs will scratch up the furniture or knock over the trash cans or something, but our dog:

That was a rough Christmas, I remember. How she operated the matches I do not now and will never know. I only wish it had been our house instead of the neighbors'. The block parties have been awkward.

But that's it. That's our girl. Our Josef Stalin. She can be a little rough, but she had a rough childhood. You have to give dogs like that some leeway. I will say I have no fear of anyone breaking into our house. She definitely keeps the robbers away. And the mailmen. And visiting family and friends. And neighbor kids. And squirrels and rabbits and mice and several species of low-flying birds. She's a good doggy.

And now that I've done a dog blog, I have to go. I have an appointment to get myself fitted for some thumb screws.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.8



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