Thursday, February 08, 2007

Bad Dog!

Shack is a bad dog. He is now one week post-op and showing no signs of personality reduction. In fact, given that he has spent that week denied dog park privileges with a huge white cone strapped to his head, it's fair to say that he is probably one ticked-off little corgi. Which in now way excuses him from his bad deeds.

Back when Shack was all man, we used to leave him in the "backyard" when we left the house. I use the admittedly ironic quote marks around "backyard" because it is being very charitable to call the small, steeply-pitched space that lies between the back of our house and the way-past-its-prime, slowly dissolving fence up the hill as "yard." It's more of an "embarassment," and Shack's domain, a narrow, concrete-floored runway surrounded by five-foot tall retaining walls, resembles more that stark confines of a prison than the pastoral image most have of a yard.

It is appropriate, however, because that is exactly where he belongs.

Since his operation, we are not allowed to leave him outside by himself, because he might get hung up on something and re-open his incision. This is the theory behind the giant white cone, as well. It's not as effective, however, at protecting dogs who decide to use the edges of the cone to scratch at the endless itching that comes with having your fur shaved.

The cone is also useful at butting people in the ankles, digging in the mud and flinging things that make you angry.

The downside of the cone is that, when you are left inside and take the opportunity to chew up the already-decaying windowsill in the front bay window, the little chunks of wood that are stuck to the inside of your cone are a dead giveaway that you are the one responsible for not only the ripped up appearance of said windowsill but also the large pile of wood chips lying on the floor below the window. Hence, you are a bad dog.

Should we be surprised? After all, Shack's favorite beverage is the dishwasher. Why shouldn't his favorite snack be the windowsill?

I understand that Shack is upset. He has been castrated, denied of the thing he loves best -- going to the dog park -- and forced to wear what looks like a small satellite dish around his head. When he does appear in public, he is met with pitiful smiles and odd stares. Worst of all, he has absolutely no idea that this is not permanent. In his world, you were once a carefree intact puppy. Now you are a castrated shut-in with a satellite dish protruding from your neck, with no end in sight.

I tried to take off the dish last night, while the Hammer was over picking up her son from a playdate with the Jawa. Shack has his follow-up vet appointment today, and he hadn't been furiously trying to scratch at his incision all day, so I took off the cone for awhile. At first, he just stood there. Then he returned to his normal activities. The Hammer and I were a little disappointed at his nonchalance.

Unfortunately, he soon began scratching again, so we had to re-attach the dish. I wasn't there to see it, but I am sure it only fueled Shack's rage.

When I returned from the gym today, he was sitting in the middle of the living room, his head still encased in that ridiculous cone, looking guilty. I immediately looked at the bay window. Half of its lower sill -- including however many layers of lead paint had been built up over the years -- was gone. Directly underneath the window was a large pile of wood chips.

Shack is a bad dog.

I grabbed him by the collar and led him to the back door. Strangely, he went willingly, as if accepting that, having had his fun, it was time to deal with the consequences like a man, albeit a man with no testicles.

Now I am charged with finding some mysterious substance that is supposed to repel bad dogs. You paint it on and the dog goes nowhere near the previously irresistable object.

And let me say that our house, whose gradual demise has been mostly secret until now, is now flashing a nice big Oklahoma mobile home dweller-looking wound right in the middle of the living room for everyone to see. I plan to move the couch to the front porch today, for consistency's sake.


Anonymous flush puppy said...

"Hung up"?! On what, for god's sake? The 6' concrete retaining wall?! If anything, that pitiful little "backyard" should be a perfect place to stash a post-op corgi.

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