Mr. Charlton – Dog Owner Part II

May 19th was Pookie’s fourteenth birthday, and even though she’s a dog and the concept of birthdays is probably out her scope, me and Kat decided to celebrate it anyways with a little cake made of her favorite foods; Tuna, peas, and carrot peelings. We put it in a little bowl, got a candle, sang her happy birthday like idiots, and gave her the little dish. Something wasn’t quite right though. She didn’t finish it.

Pookie hadn’t been herself for the last week or so, actually. She was sleeping a lot more. She was having a hard time balancing. And now she wasn’t eating as much as she used to. Me and Kat decided that, after the long weekend, we’d take the doggle in for a checkup.

Unfortunately it was a really long weekend, and Pookie had stopped eating all-together. I took her in Tuesday morning, and the prognosis wasn’t good. The statement from the vet was “We’ll go as far as you’d like to go with this” which is coded words for “we can put her down right now if you don’t want to spend any more money”. I wanted to know what was wrong with her, and I knew Kat would sell everything we own for her little dog, so I signed off on some more tests.

I gave Kat a call, explained the situation, and told her we’d know by noon. So I picked her up from work and we drove to the vet in silence. On arrival, the vet sat us down and gave us the bad news.

Pookie had late stage kidney disease. Some of the tests they ran were so bad they were off the charts. She didn’t have a lot of time. They gave her some IV fluid to keep her going for a bit, but when we got home it hit us that we’d have to put down our little furball.

I’ve never owned a dog before. I wasn’t a dog person. When someone lost a dog, my only reaction was “Well, it was just a dog.” But after living with a dog for two years, after having her greet me everyday when I got home, getting pictures from Kat of Pookie waiting for me by the door, her running up to the kitchen every time I was peeling carrots in the hopes she’d get some, well, you get pretty attached to the little fluffer. I fell in love with that dog, and now I had to say goodbye.

It’s a strange pact you make with an animal. Unless you’re getting a turtle or a parrot, you’re going to outlive. The story when getting an animal almost always ends the same way; with grief. A dog only has a decade, maybe a decade and a half of life. You’ll watch it turn from an excited, wiggly puppy to an old dog that’s struggling to walk.

It hit me a lot harder than I thought it would. After Pookie passed I’ve been pretty miserable to be around. I’ve basically sat around like a goon, playing video games, and stuffing my face with ice cream. Both Kat and I have been doing everything in order to avoid hearing the sound of silence that’s now permeating our apartment. Every once and a while you find something that reminds you of Pookie and your eyes get all misty and you have to get yourself another bowl of ice cream.

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Look at this dog’s stupid little face!

But even though the doggle is gone, her dumb little spirit remains. We managed to get some of her paw prints cast before she left us, and we’re getting her paw prints tattooed next week. We’re already talking about what kind of dogs we’re going to get when we finally settle down. Even though her loss hurt me, I’m willing to try this dog experiment again.

I’ve now officially had a dog, and it’s come with the pain of losing a dog. Five years ago I would have never imagined, but Mr. Charlton is a dog person, and will own day be a dog owner again.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Tomorrow, we’re going to talk about dealing with grief. ‘Cause I am now an expert on it.

Mr. Charlton Electrocutes His Dog

You may have heard that Mr. Charlton is a proud dog owner. I wrote about it here. You have to understand, though, I’m a new dog owner, and with that comes unfamiliar territory. I ain’t used to owning a dog. I’ve had a cat, sure, but cats are a goddamn breeze to take care of. You have a cat? Here are some tips.

1) Make a spot in the house for the cat to eat, and make sure the cat gets fed.

2) Make a spot in the house for the cat to poop, and clean up its shit every now and again.

3) Occasionally the cat will want to be pet. Pet the cat in the appropriate areas.

And that’s about it. A cat pretty much takes care of itself after that. A dog, on the other hand, needs a little bit more from its owner.

1) You’ll have to feed the dog. The dog thinks it gets the same privileges as you do, so when you’re eating, the dog will want some too. You’ll have to train it not to beg.

2) You can’t really have a spot in the house for it to poop, so the mutt will have to go outside every once and a while. Rain, Sun, Sleet or Snow, the dog is going to have to poop at least once a day.

3) Now that your dog is no longer in the house, it might find things that are outside, like dead animals. Dogs have terrible fashion sense, and will try to accessorize it’s fluffy coat by rolling on top of squirrel corpses.

4) You now have a filthy dog on your hands, covered in squirrel bits. Best case scenario, you just have to bathe the dog. Worst case scenario means either a trip to the groomers, or you get out the shears yourself and give the furry idiot a hair cut.

5) Dogs need a lot of attention. You will have to play with your dog.

Through all the new learning I’ve had to do, I’ve come to discover something about dogs. Their lives exist in a hierarchy. They will challenge you every now and again, to make sure you’re not going to fuck up and get the entire pack killed. And our dickhead of a dog, Pookie, likes to challenge you during meal time.

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This little fluffy asshole likes picking fights over drumsticks

There was a reason I put the ‘food thing’ first when taking care of a dog. Pookie will go back and forth between me and Kat when we’re eating dinner. Most of the time she’ll bugger off if we tell her enough times to beat it, or apparently in dog’s language “Git!”. For some bizarre reason, and I’m chalking this one up to Kat training her when she was a young teenager, is that Pooks will respond to the word “Get” better if you sound like an 19th century gold prospector.

Occasionally, on that very rare instance where Pooks is sizing you up and trying to make sure you’re not a chump, she’ll piss right in front of you when you’re not sharing. If you’re mowing down on something she finds tasty, like either tuna fish or chicken, and she’s not getting anything, she’ll look you right in the eyes, squat down and front of you and take a piss. Part of me is angry, sure, but when a dog, the size of a loaf of bread, defies you in such a punk rock fashion that GG Allin gets a smile in hell, you can’t help but feel a little pride. I mean, I could totally kick this dogs ass, it’s not very big and I can pick it up, but it’ll still try to pick a fight and pissing in defiance. That’s pretty hardcore.

The other day, me and Kat are kicking it on the couch eating dinner. We’re having some tasty leftovers, which consisted of some quinoa, both broccoli and cauliflower, and chicken. Pookie, getting a nose full of chicken, darts over and starts trying to act cute. Dogs do this as a strategy in order to get food. Scientific fact right here. We tell her to take a hike. No go, the dog isn’t going everywhere. We tell her to ‘Git’. Still, the dog is making noise and being a general pain in the ass. Finally I look her right in the eyes, point my finger at the poofy dipshit and firmly say “Pookie, I’m not giving you any chicken. Bad Dog.”

Well, it seemed the words “Bad Dog” set the bitch off, because very calmly, and with stern conviction, Pookie stared right into my soul, squat and took a piss. As I’m standing to pick her up and yell at her, Pooks eyes pop out of her head, jumps a foot in the air while yelping out loud and then bolts out of the room. It took me a second to figure out what happened.

Pookie picked probably the worst spot to take a leak, because she was squatting directly over the spot where the extension cord meets the Xbox. Unfortunately for Pooks, she zapped her junk when she decided to pee in anger.

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A bad spot to take a piss

Now, I’m not a cruel man. I don’t find pleasure in the misery of others, but when a dog gets buzzed in the genitals by a hundred and twenty volts of alternating current, I mean, you’re going to laugh. For at least ten minutes as you unplug the cord and clean up a bunch of dog piss, while your girlfriend tries to reassure a scared puppy to come back in the living room.

Pookie’s okay. The little turd is 13, which is almost a centennial in dog years, so I’m glad she didn’t have a heart attack. But if you want to train your dog not to beg for food, electrocuting her bathing suit area is definitely a quick way of going about it.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. I wanted to use ‘Hot Dog’ somewhere in there, but Pookie’s a girl dog, so it didn’t really apply.

p.s.s. Fried Taco? Buzzed Clam? Alright, I’ll see myself out the door.