Sunday, February 6, 2011

321. My Imaginary Dog

So there I am at the high-end kitchen store, surrounded by dogs. The Boss has a new dog, as do all my co-friends, Gabriela, Terri, and Lisa. Matt does not have a dog, but he might as well. (“I’m getting one soon, MOV, any day now actually.”) Now we must look at photos of the dogs. Real photos, cell phone photos, and key chain photos (“Isn’t he the cutest? We just wuv him so much!”).

No one wants to hear about my cat. No. Kitty is a dumb topic to bring up now. Kitty doesn’t do any tricks (well, unless you count lounging on the skinny radiator for hours without ever falling off), and Kitty cannot talk (apparently Gabriela’s puppy can talk—“He says, ‘Woooof! Woooof!’ but I swear it sounds just like ‘Treat! Treat!’ He is really smart.”).

Now we have to discuss their cutesie-pie names. Lisa’s dog is named Cake (“Who doesn’t like cake?” she says). The Boss wanted to pick a strong name, so she ended up with “Zeus” (“Such a perfect name for him,” she offers, “because he sure as hell controls our household!”). Terri’s show dog is named Sunny (“Ohmygosh—you’re kidding!” says Gabriela, “We were thisclose to naming our new puppy Sunny, too! What are the chances!”). Even though Sunny is such perfect name, Gabriela ended up naming her new dog Monkey instead.

Gabriela says, “My husband goes around singing ‘Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees!’ and the kids have no idea what he’s talking about, it’s so funny.” We're all laughing at the image of her husband singing, and Monkey running around in circles and barking for a treat.

The Boss says, “Even though we are crazy about Zeus, he’s, uh, a little difficult to manage.”

“What do you mean?” says Terri, owner of mild-mannered summer-day Sunny.

“I think he has Doggy ADD,” she says.

Lisa says, “Dogs can’t have ADD.”

“You obviously haven’t met Zeus!” she laughs.

“Kitty has the opposite of ADD, Kitty can play with the same piece of string for hours!” I offer lamely.

“We don’t know what color collar to buy for Monkey,” says Gabriela, completely ignoring me. “Maybe I can find one on etsy that has pictures of little Monkeys on it … how cute would that be?”

Everyone loves the idea of a Monkey collar for Monkey. The conversation bends to include a collar for Sunny (predictably, one with miniature Suns on it). Maybe Zeus should have a collar with all the astrological symbols on it? Matt even gets in on the act, choosing potential names and corresponding collars for his (future, nonexistent) dog. Daisy is a contender. As is Coco or Dakota or Ginger or Winston. The dogs are named, bandannas are discussed, and now the water bowls must be selected.

That’s right: I work in a high-end kitchen store. Gabriela zips on over to a display of crystal serving bowls and says, “Hey, guys! What about one of these for Monkey?!”

Matt and I exchange a look. As if reading our minds, The Boss says, “Gab! No! Come on, what are you thinking? Monkey will break that bowl in about two seconds!”

I say, “Gabriela, I think that bowl is about $85.”

“But remember, we get a discount.” She is smiling, thinking about Monkey and her husband singing and the crystal water bowl and the embroidered collar.

“You are being so silly,” says Lisa, shaking her head. “That expensive crystal bowl is way too small for your dog. You should get the larger size one instead.”

A customer chooses this moment to walk in and ask about toasters, breaking us out of our Doggy Lovefest.

Lisa is showing her the different choices, and the woman wants her to write down the model number and price. Lisa is very helpful and efficient, walking over to get her business card and a pen. My mind is wandering, and I think about Lisa’s dog Cake, and if Lisa picked that name because she works in a kitchen store or so she can say she’s going on a “Cake walk.”

I whisper to Matt, “Thank God I don’t have a dog, Matt! It would be so much work—all that walking, in snow or rain or whenever!”

He chuckles and says, “MOV, you need to get a dog. Both your kids are in school all day, come on—it will give you something new to focus on!”

I feel like he’s channeling my seven-year-old, who’s been asking for a pet lately (conveniently forgetting that we already own a pet, Kitty—“Oh, her? Yeah, well she doesn’t really count, Mom”).

“Seriously, MOV,” Matt continues, “if you got a puppy, you would have so much to write about for your blog! It could take your blog to a whole new level!  You could even have a little section at the bottom with updates on the dog.”

“I don’t want a dog,” I say firmly. “You have to take them outside for long walks about 500 times a day, and clean up after them. Cats are much more independent.”

He pretends he didn’t hear what I just said, the part about me not getting a dog. “I just thought of the best name for your new dog, MOV. How about ‘The President of the United States of America’ and then you can call it ‘Prez’ for short? How funny would that be?”

I’m laughing politely, but mostly I’m laughing because he’s laughing. “Actually, Matt, that would be a really good name because if I want to get off the phone with someone, I could say, ‘I can’t talk right now because The President of the United States is here.’ Didn’t there used to be a band with that name, though? And also, that would be so long to write on all the forms at the vet’s office.”

“Okay, no President then. Oh! I just thought of another one! How about ‘Elvis Presley’ and then for short you can call him—”

“King!” I interrupt enthusiastically. “Oh, that is perfect! King! I get it!”

“Call the pound, set up an appointment …” Matt prods.

“No. I’m not doing it. No dog for me.”

“Too bad,” he says, “I was really looking forward to whatever you would write in your blog about your new dog.”

(“Mastiff Otterhound Vizsla”)


  1. People with dogs just don't understand how everyone can't be as in love with their animals as them! We visited family last month, and they have an indoor dog. There is nothing more wonderful than getting out of the shower all clean, only to wipe off using the towel they gave me...which ended up being covered in dog hair. In fact, everything in their house was covered in dog hair. I just couldn't handle it and became very grateful we were only staying the weekend!

    Don't give in! Don't buy a dog because everyone else thinks it's cool! Enjoy your glorious cat and never get fooled into anything else! You have to remember this advice to buy is coming from someone who is willing to spend $85 on a water bowl. What? Dogs need WATER?

    Stay strong, sister. Unite Against Dog Hair!

  2. Ah yes, you must have found my sister blog: Unite Against Dog Hair. Not only do dogs shed, they all don't smell that great. I barely have time to give myself a bath, let alone some fuzzy creature that two seconds later will just jump in a giant mud puddle. Come to think of it, I already have two sons who like to jump in giant mud puddles after getting clean. I can't win.

  3. We have a dog and cats (lots of cats), and I definitely prefer dealing with the cats. The dog is needy and whiny. Reminds me of my husband. ;)

  4. Dear MOV,

    If you should weaken (doesn't sound like you will) & find yourself thinking about going to the pet store or pound, remember about Rent-a-Pet or Dog-Sitting for a friend . . . or you could take a little nap until the thought passes. (At one time I had three dogs & six cats . . . loved them all;cats were much easier.)
    Love your blog


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