The Dad Files: Dog Clothes

Despite my attempt at paternity, my children have dogs. I grew up with cats and so did they. But now I’m sick of cats pooping in a box where I live and exhausted from running past me, past me, and stopping where I’m going to walk to wash up in that classic leg in the – aerial pose. Yeah, yeah, maybe they’re trying to get my attention, get me to pet them, but my goal is not to stumble trying to get to the kitchen or get back to my office. And besides, there’s enough cat hair in my house, so I don’t want to deliberately remove it with my hands.
And actually, my daughter, Ricochet, is more like me in that she doesn’t care about having pets at all anymore; The dogs in her household belong to her husband. The size of a sheep doesn’t seem to care when I come around, but the thing that looks like a haggis with legs will yelp at me all the time I’m around, even when my daughter confines it to a room.

My other daughter, Cocoa Bean, has four dogs, one small, one small, and two that really look like what I think dogs should have; Medium in size with long legs and a long muzzle. The shorter, fuzzier ones howl with barking when I visit, though they quiet down after a while. But the bigger and medium-sized dogs have to jump on me when I arrive, scratch my legs and step on my feet. Then they turn in front of me and slap my shins with their tails. Because of this, I try to remember to always wear what I consider dog clothes whenever I visit: jeans and work boots. However, I haven’t figured out how to prevent their butts from inflicting future varicose veins on my legs, since jeans don’t really help there. I imagine using the knee-to-ankle protectors that batsmen wear in cricket, but those are expensive. I would rather stop and sip a drink on the terrace and strike up a pleasant conversation while wearing the protective gear of police dog trainers, but that probably costs even more.

The reason dogs have never been a best friend to me is because they always find a reason to bark in my presence. Years ago in Missouri, my wife agreed to take care of the plants and animal for her parents’ friends while they were all away on vacation. I disagreed, but rode it through the woods and over gravel roads. I sat in the living room while she did her thing, and when she was done and came back, a little dog followed her. I got up to leave, and this tiny monster went berserk, yelping so hard it lifted its paws off the mat. The next time we went, the dog was waiting for me and barked as soon as I entered the house, punishing me for sneakily hiding in plain sight on the sofa the first time. From there, I stayed in the car. Much more recently, this last Thanksgiving, we went to my sister and brother-in-law’s house. They have two dogs, one little one that looks like it came from a holiday dumpster at Exwork, and the other is a Shetland pony with canine traits. Shetland started barking as soon as I walked in, which started Plush. Like babies. It took them half an hour to calm down. But later, when I came out, Plush ran past me and I had to step over him. Well Shetland thought I was attacking his little buddy and started barking at me which made Plush bark, he didn’t know why. It took another thirty minutes before calm set in. I dared not move.

I think dogs only have three words. One is a threat of “Get out!” which often has the growl as an exclamation mark. The second is “Play with me, or I have to use the yard”, which usually includes a “…?” at the end. The third, and most common, means “food.” The dog word for this is “barking”.

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