For the Boys

You guys are driving me crazy.

If you were on a sitcom, your characters would be:
1. The sedentary, goody-two-shoes older guy
2. The lanky, harmless but paranoid guy who alternates between pushing back the curtains and yelling, “Who the fuck is out there!?!?!?” and cowering in a corner
3. The wierd, anti-social roomate that eats other people’s food and shits in a box in the basement.

Bear, I love you. You are nine years old this month– nine! And I’ve loved you since the day A. picked you out of a litter in the back of a pickup in the grocery store parking lot in Indiana. We weren’t even dating then, and your fluffy, fat body and sweet, sweet nature is the reason I started going to the park with A. and took the time to learn who we could be to and for and with each other. I owe you a lot, my friend.

I hate that your eyes are getting cloudy and that you don’t jump up on the furniture anymore. I mean, I LOVE that you don’t jump up on the furniture anymore, but I hate that it’s because it’s hard for you now. I also hate that your butt is so itchy, or… whatever it is that makes you chomp at it obsessively. We’ve been to the vet, dude. Several times. I’m starting to think it’s in your head. You are becoming stinky with age. And that undercoat will not quit. We are surely known as the Family Covered in Blonde Fur, and I expect PBS to contact me any day now to film a documentary about us, not knowing that because we live in the same house, we are not sprouting the hair but are covered in YOU everywhere we go. There are tumbleweeds of hair in our happy home.

I’m sorry you don’t get the love and attention you used to get. I’m sorry that your loudness gets under my skin the way it does. (Seriously! the breathing, the stomping, the random barking at naptime, the jingling, the eating, the chomping!)

Dignan, I wish I knew. I wish I knew why you walk backwards through the hallway door and ONLY the hallway door. I wish I knew (or maybe I don’t) where your hangups come from. Whether there’s a rhyme or reason to it. Wish I knew why it is that you are always underfoot. You are a big guy, and having you attached to my knees is like walking through a kitchen full of track hurdles. Where most dogs will skitter away when you bump them with a knee, you instead freeze every muscle in that gigantic body, and continue to move toward me when I try to move around you. Like you’re always playing a desperate and poorly-planned defense.

You were our surprise baby five years ago, showing up all tiny and warm and sleepy and stray. We named you after a character in Bottle Rocket, but I have always wished we’d named you Mister Little Jeans instead. We’ve made a committment to you to protect and care for you, special needs and all, and I don’t take that lightly. I am so grateful for your gentleness and patience with Birdy. You are a sweet and troubled little soul and I want to give you a safe place to live. But for the love of God, please stay out of my direct path, and stop stinking up the chair in the living room. That is the most expensive damn dog bed I’ve ever purchased.

Thomas, I am allergic to you and I always have been. Seeing you at the vet eight years ago–homeless and in a cast– melted my broke-ass college heart, and I spent pennies I didn’t have completing your surgeries and having your ribs put back together so that you could come live with us. You have always used the litterbox, and I have not always cleaned it out on time, but you do not complain. You have in your heart a love and devotion for A. that rivals any love and devotion on the planet. And you, too, have been so, so gentle with Birdy. I would scratch you under the chin for that, but I would break out in small hives up to my wrist and my left eye would swell and ooze.

I appreciate the relationship we’ve constructed and the way we try to respect each other’s space, and on the occasions that you get your ultimate wish and scurry out the front door, I am sick with worry until you come back. But stop walking around on the countertops. Stop opening Birdy’s door when she’s sleeping. Stop scratching at Birdy’s door when she’s sleeping. Stop singing outside Birdy’s door when she’s sleeping. Stop fucking with Bear and Dignan. And stop fucking with them especially when Birdy is sleeping. You are the Nap’s worst enemy, and I believe you are taking this battle to the next level. Stop. You will lose.

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