Maeby is my 6-year-old boxer. She is much like the Simple Dog. In fact, when I read Allie Brosh’s account I had to go and make sure that Maeby had not run away and realized I was still going to have to teach her stairs mechanics. Lesson 1: if a ball falls off the balcony you can go down the stairs instead of whining for an hour. Course time: 3 weeks.
Everything about Maeby is hopelessly quirky. She doesn’t mean to be complicated. In fact she is a very gentle spirit, but her brain operates on a very short repetitive cycle. For example, she has to wear boots to protect our new hardwood floors, so her thought process seems to go something like this: “Hey! I am a dog! I am wearing boots! Step. Step. I am wearing boots! Step! Boots! Step! Boots!”
Her bad habits include:
1) Barking at everything that scares her. What scares her? Everything. We think she has poor eyesight because she occasionally goes ballistic over plastic bags caught in trees. I could understand this except that she is often only three feet away and should be able to rely on her other senses at that point to tell her that it’s not alive.
2) High garbage and bread depredation rate. Maeby might solve the world’s garbage problem. She turns into a stealth ninja dog if there is the slightest chance that she will get bread.
3) Coprophagia. THIS IS ABOUT TO GET GROSS Y’ALL. Maeby eats her own poop. She was terribly difficult to potty train and would just stare at the door willing the magic door gods to open it for 3.9 seconds before she’d find some suitable floor. Then she would get nervous and eat it before we discovered it. Problem solved. Except that she would later vomit = nerves = eating = really big mess. The last time I remember her doing this my husband had to bathe her, she vomited in the shower, the word palpate was used and we threw away a lot of towels. I don’t want to think about it, and probably couldn’t live with the fact if the shower hadn’t been ripped out for renos the very next day. It is an issue.
She used to have a partner in crime, Willis (aka. ComfortSeeker 3000) , who was ten times smarter than her and would have been a great companion animal for Curmudgeon at Large’s couch, disdaining everything and enjoying naps as he did. Willis liked tums and bourbon so much, you guys. Maeby would follow Willis blindly into trouble in whatever form he could find it. Willis died of a heart tumor at the end of February after being in the kennel nearly five months because of the house flood we had. He literally died of a broken heart. That is the last sad thing about this post unless you count Maeby’s astonishing lack of intellect.
Since then, Maeby has sort of been without a rudder. On most days Maeby’s source of affection is from toddlers who try to see if her ears will stretch to the floor (no), whether you can pick her up by her tiny little docked tail (also NO), or whether you can ride her (NO! DAMMIT. NO! STOP THAT! YOU’RE GOING TO BREAK THE DOG). Having a very busy household with poor communication occurring before magic delicious coffee time, Maeby sometimes gets overlooked.
So it is no surprise at all that we discovered Maeby was missing right in the middle of our fourth anniversary dinner. Moments after we had ordered our food I made the classic mistake of bringing up any notion of domestic life, and we both realized that neither of us had seen the dog all day. We called home but the dog was gone. So we speed-ate our meal, barely acknowledged each other’s thoughtful gifts (New York, yay!) and skipped dessert so we could go searching for her. No luck.
The next morning she still wasn’t home and I called everyone I could think of. Nothing. Without Willis to guide her home, I was reasonably sure that she would either be found by a human that would love her to death or she was trapped in a corner by scary plastic bags of death somewhere and would die of starvation if there was no accessible garbage.
Then I saw this on the pound website.
There was Maeby. Still with three of her four boots on for maximum shame. Of course this was an hour before I had to go out, but I dropped everything and schlepped over to break her out of dog jail.
Bylaw enforcers do not just let you pay your fine and let you walk out of the building. No; you are in it for a lecture, a fine, a threat of more fines, a detailed description of all laws pertaining to dogs and houses, a long chat about your plan to ensure that such atrocities are not repeated, and then some down time to think about your actions. During this time you must be polite and try to conceal your rage at the fact that you are clearly a responsible owner, yet you are being treated like you are running a meth lab.
She was picked up not two blocks from our house in the wrong direction from the dog park by a family who wanted to adopt her. I admit, I contemplated their offer before realizing that I had already posted that I found the dog on Facebook and I didn’t want to look like an asshole.
Maeby was cowering from all the other unruly dogs who were losing their shit at the fresh meat (so much tastier if it’s still alive!) walking into the kennel. Good thing it wasn’t an open prison yard because she wouldn’t have lasted ten seconds. I got her out, got her boots, spilled my purse contents in the dog urine trough, declined getting my lip gloss back, thank you very much, and we busted out of there. She had completely forgotten about the whole scary dog jail thing by the time she hit the parking lot.
On the way home I tried out my future parenting lecture. “Maeby,” I said, “I work with endangered species all the time, and do you know what they’re begging for? Habitat. You have habitat that you totally take for granted! You have dog beds in every room, food at mostly regular intervals, all the free buns you can manage, and a very liberal pottying outside policy (author’s note: her policy, not mine, mine is VERY STRICT) yet you run away at the first opportunity? DO YOU KNOW WHAT A SWIFT FOX WOULD DO FOR THAT KIND OF SECURITY? DO YOU?”
She blinked like the slow three eyed fish on the Simpsons in full acknowledgement that my words sunk in and she will never do that again.