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Friday, July 4, 2008

Puppy Class Is No Treat

I don’t have a dog. I have a WalMart greeter that drools and wags his tail. Slobberchops is the canine equivalent of a used car salesman; he’s always happy to see you and anxious to share what you’ve got in your pocket. He’s also the size of a Pinto, the car not the horse, and his output is likely combustible. However, he is not cost efficient to operate, and pound for pound can pack away more fuel than a fully loaded Kenworth.

Why didn’t I get a dog with a job who can finance his liver habit, like Lassie, who was the canine equivalent to a First Responder? Timmy’s in the well? Lassie checks his doggie utility belt, throws a coil of rope over one shoulder, and rakes in twenty grand in photo ops. Instead, I ended up with a Lab-Dalmation mix who wouldn’t go near a well if it was filled with Swedish meatballs. His attitude is firm on this: if there’s not a squirrel involved, it’s best to contract out.

But he’s a real dog. He produces a an actual throaty bark instead of an annoying toy dog yipyap, has feet large enough to do real damage if a misstep takes him near your toes, and is large enough to see in the hallway late at night when you’re on a sweet tea-induced pit stop.

But I’m of the popular, but slightly misguided opinion that everyone should experience the unconditonial love and stinky goo-filled treads on your shoes that make dog-ownership a fulfilling experience. If Nike knew I’d be wearing their tennis shoes out in the doggie obstacle course late at night they might have reconsidered their “Just Do It” campaign. (Of course, I also think everybody should skin a chicken once in their lives or cook a meal without using any product that has the word “easy” on the package, but that attitude isn’t helping my bid for Team Mom.)

So last Saturday, for penance, I accompanied my sister and her “dog” to Puppy Class. This animal looks like a cross between a wild Dingo and a housecat. She’s an unusual shade of dark tan, has ears that look like the wings on a glider, and she’s not afraid of anything in the world, except tall, dark, men with deep voices. So maybe she’s smarter than I thought.

I can’t think what sort of heinous crime I committed to submit myself to the cuteness overload at Puppy Class. I’m leaning toward the grudge theory since I was the one who told my sister to take the thing home in the first place. Anyway there I sat surrounded by tufts of fur and rhinestone collars, seated between a hairball and an earmuff, which seemed safe enough until somebody accidentally dropped a cheese treat on the floor. Then there was enough fur flying to style toupees for Michael Jordan, Bruce Willis, and pre-rehab Britney—with enough left over to make her a little terrier to carry around in her pocketbook.

We sat with the defendant at the pet store, squinting through our bifocals and filling out the paperwork for obedience school. Puppy whiled away her time making mulch out of my glasses case while we filled in the blanks.

Under description, the form asked for color. We regarded the dog. “She’s, well, brownish” I said, chewing the eraser off the pencil.

“Put taupe,” my sister said, caressing the fiend’s ears.

“Taupe? Dogs don’t come in taupe. Stockings come in taupe. Designer shoes come in taupe.” I glanced down at the dog who was sitting on my foot and drooling down my instep. “Dogs come in brown.”

My sister gave me the same look I got the time she caught me trying on her toe shoes when we were kids.

T-A-U-P-E, I wrote on the form, then paused.

“It says distinguishing characteristics.”

“None. Unless you count her endearing personality.”

I shook the creature off my shoe and cleared my throat. “That would be her ears.”

“What do you mean, her ears? They’re lovely.”

“She looks like a sailboat in full wind.”

“Sure says the person whose dog has one Dalmation spot on his. . .”

“Shut up. That spot is an inheritance from this mother.”

“Well it looks like he has two. . .”

“Shut UP.” I clipped her smartly on the ear with the pad holding the obedience form.

“You’re just jealous because your dog is afraid of the dark.” She poked me in the ribs.

“At least mine doesn’t dive in his water bowl like a submarine performing evasive maneuvers.”

Suddenly two sharp blasts of water hit us right in the middle of our discussion. Our attention immediately focused on a short lady wearing a navy blue shirt and a stern look and holding a water bottle set for stun.

“Ladies, if you can’t behave in Puppy Class, you’ll be subject to disciplinary measures. Now come join the class please. There are your chairs. Sit. Stay.”

So in the end, obedience school turned out just fine. I learned the importance of group activity, how to sit quietly, and to keep my paws to myself.


plaidearthworm said...

Perfection! I laughed and accidentally covered my screen in oatmeal. That'll teach me to read your blog first thing in the morning!

Amy Mullis said...

YES! The full monitor oatmeal spray! Life is good. By the way, if that's maple and brown sugar oatmeal, I'll join you for breakfast tomorrow.

the Bag Lady said...

This cracked me up!

colbymarshall said...

He does look quite like a wild dingo. Did he eat your baby? Sorry-- bad Seinfield reference, but I had to!

Amy Mullis said...

Bag Lady--I live to give you cracks!

CM--I know! That's exactly what I thought of when I saw the creature. Scary, huh?