Monday, August 6, 2007
The big yellow ball of crazy*
Not only is it still dry here (we’ve officially entered “extreme drought” as of July 31), but now it’s hot as hell, too. High temps are supposed to hover around 100 degrees all week.
I don’t really mind the heat that much—though I have to admit that living through the Chicago heat wave of 1995 in an old building with no AC was not so nice. These days we own a house with the standard environment-ravaging central air system. It is effectively defying Mother Nature as I type this, so all I suffer from the heat is guilt—actually, guilt and the constant presence of my insane dog, Kobi.
Normally all my dogs spend the day outside in the fenced yard and only come in at night, but when the heat is really brutal they get to come in and loll around the kitchen. Sounds pleasant, doesn’t it? Loyal four-legged companions waiting patiently for food and affection, gazing at me adoringly as I go about my household chores or tap away at the keyboard...Well, maybe in my next life.
In this one they are constantly underfoot, begging for treats and deciding that dinner is due hours ahead of schedule. Occasionally they take a break from lobbying to fight over who gets to lie down closest to me. This is a serious issue. Blood has been shed over it.
That’s par for the course of dog ownership, I guess, but Kobi (full name Miss Kobiashi, a.k.a. the Kobes, Yellow Dog, Crazy Kobi, Your Problem Child, etc.) takes being a doggy nuisance to new heights. Kobi’s part Chow—specifically, the high-strung hypervigilant part. Anything she perceives as a threat will instantly send her into a barking, whimpering frenzy. Threats include, but are not limited to:
The sound of the vacuum cleaner, the dryer, the paper shredder, or any power tool
Hammers, or anything else making a percussive noise
Opening the linen closet (the door squeaks)
Turning on the outdoor faucet (the handle squeaks)
Turning on the hall light
Opening the door to the attic (more squeaking)
Opening the front door.
Actually, she’s calmed down a lot from the days when she would go into hysterics if I cracked an egg or boiled water. (I’m not kidding. The splutter of boiling water freaked her out completely.)
It’s incredibly exasperating putting up with this canine control freak. She has basically been the Dog From Hell ever since the day I found her in my front yard, abandoned at all of 8 weeks old, and covered with hundreds—really, hundreds--of ticks.
So why have I put up with her? Well, for starters, because I am her god, and have been since we first met. The other two love me, but Kobi worships me with all her heart and soul. She would die defending me, I’m certain of it. Not that she doesn’t occasionally defy me, but when she does it’s usually in the course of guarding my well being. (“I must kill the UPS man, despite your objections. It’s for your own good.”) Almost all her nutty behavior is misdirected protectiveness—at least, that’s what I tell myself in those moments when I think about throttling her.
It’s closer to the truth, though, to say that I put up with her because I just can’t help myself. I love this dog. Something in her slightly warped spirit has touched me so deeply that I can’t imagine giving her up. I suspect the fact that she is so oddly tilted to her universe is the very thing that makes her impossible for me to resist. Call that projection, psychoanalyze it any way you want, but that doesn’t make my feeling for her any less powerful.
She’s not a very sturdy specimen, and isn’t likely to have a long life. When she dies it will break my heart. But I wouldn’t have missed my years with her for anything in the world.
*This post is dedicated to Leo. And Matt.