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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Hunter and His Habit

Writer inserting internal dialogue of her favorite canine:  "Hi, my name is Hunter.  I am a garbage-aholic."  SQUIRREL!



There you have it, I've outed him -- broken his anonymity.  I am a bad, bad pet owner.  See, here's the deal.  Hunter is a pound puppy.  When Sarah and I first met him he was behind a wall of glass marked "quarantine" and he had his back to the nice people knocking on the window. Occasionally, he would throw a look over his shoulder in disdain.  Not open malice, or teeth-baring fear... just "really... I've got better things to do than listen to you tap tap tap and make googly eyes at me."  He was disenchanted with the human race.  Possibly this could have happened because his prior "owner" -- master, lover, companion, friend, pet-addict, lonely person type "A" -- whatever moniker you prefer, was a homeless man.  I'm guessing that they practiced dumpster diving as an art form.

We took him home.  He does not like Science Diet.  He does not like Kibbles and Bits; although he does like the generic Nibbles and Kibbles.  Mostly, Hunter likes garbage and when he can get it, used chewing gum.  Bubbalicious.  If nothing else in this world -- you know, I'm a half-decent mother.  I really am.  It's taken me a lifetime to get up the courage to say that and even now I'm quaking in my boots.  So -- I tell this dog, "Listen, bub... that stuff isn't good for you.  I promise to cook you an egg every Sunday for the rest of your furry life -- whether we are eating eggs or not -- if you would simply refrain from the garbage."  He eats his egg, enthusiastically promising to choose a new path.

He burps and lies down like a good dog.  All of us breathe a sigh of relief because we can go to bed tonight knowing that he can't get into the kitchen garbage can with the gray clasps that lock the lid on.  He's in  his house, surrounded by people he loves.  We wake up the next morning, there's dog shit behind the living room couch and what's left of the garbage is strewn from the kitchen to the bathroom.  Or maybe he's been considerate and kept the rancid sour cream lid as his personal welcome mat at the front door.  "No, no, buddy..." becomes "Are you out of your (expletive inserted here) doggy brain?!?"

We are sleep-deprived, exhausted pet owners.  We have hidden the garbage can in the bathroom.  We have kenneled him.  We have shut the bedroom door and missed the cool, Fall breeze (that simultaneously airs out old dog farts).  Basically, we have tried the "perhaps He'll find a higher power, get a sponsor, work the steps" route.  We were perfectly willing to hire the Dog Whisperer -- but he was booked through 2020 and I have a wedding coming up.  I'm thinking about joining a support group for family members of garbage-aholics.  But you know what they say, "Can't teach an old dog new tricks."  Especially when he continues to choose garbage over food.

Hunter, I love you... STOP THAT!!!