Dogging My Steps
Separated By The Dreaded Door
(Note dog mucus on glass)
So this is about my “other” son. The canine one. The one who was coddled and babied for three years, until his princeling status was rudely usurped by the lil’ bundle o’ trouble known as Hudson James. We’re talking about Murphy, my gorgeous and utterly ridiculous 7-year-old Boxer. He is, simultaneously, the best dog in the world and the most spastic dog in the world. And he does some crazy shizness.
Looking back over the years, I’ve realized that Murph’s major psychological issues all center around being left alone in the house for more than, say, five minutes. This dog has perfected the revenge message, and the message has evolved over time. Murph has gone through various phases or periods, much like an artist. There was his couch period, when he was just a tot, during which he basically ate couches whenever we left the house. Then his taste for upholstered couch frames narrowed and refined itself into a yen for pillows. So much so that for a time we actually bought what we referred to as “sacrificial pillows” at Marshalls and left them out when we left for work so that we’d have a place to rest our heads that night.
After the pillow period came the counter-surfing period. Murph is quite talented at standing on his hind legs and and using his dexterous front paws to obtain his target of choice. Many loaves of bread (pushed far back on the kitchen counter, might I add) have in this manner become, well, toast.
Let’s not forget the diaper period, whereby any diaper forgotten in a bathroom wastebasket would be duly shredded all over the formal living room floor. What a nice surprise to find when you return home with your arms full of groceries.
Most recently we’ve endured the psycho period, which means that Murphy will select exactly one cuddly bear or plastic action figure from Hudson’s toy basket and leave it strategically lying (think chalk outline position) at the front door so that we are sure to see it when we return home. He does not chew on them. But he is clearly saying that next time, he might just bite the head off of that Anakin Skywalker action figure. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, suckers.
We’ve just moved into a new house, and Murphy’s separation anxiety has drastically intensified with this change. He follows my every move, dogging my steps so closely that he steps on the back of my flip-flops at least ten times a day. He could be in the middle of a joyous ball game in the yard with Hudson, and if I walk more than two feet into the house he gets a crazed look in his eyes and comes racing after me. If I make a trip to the bathroom, he waits outside the bathroom door for me. When I take a shower, I step out to find him lying on the bath mat. Hudson has taken to shutting Murphy outside with him so that he will play, but to no avail. Murph just stands at the back door with a stricken, obsessed look on his face, intermittently pawing the door and giving the paint a good scratch with his claws. In short, he has become my stalker.
Now whenever I leave the house, I put all pillows, bread, wastebaskets, and toys on lockdown. If I didn’t follow this exit procedure, Murphy’s revenge would be swift and merciless. I’m looking forward to the day that Murphy settles down into our new place and chills out. But in the meantime, I’m finding it awfully entertaining— not to mention endearing.