Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bullies: Of Sticks, Dogges, and Men

When I had been living with Dorothy for a week or two, I went to a small local pet store and purchased Dorothy a bouquet of bully sticks.  The owner of the store was working at the register that day, and told me that if it weren’t for bully sticks, she would not have graduated from college.  Apparently, she had a pair of Basset Hounds while going to school and they would only leave her in peace if she gave them each a bully stick to chew upon.

I now very much understand what that woman meant.  Dorothy is housetrained, so I no longer have to worry that she is off somewhere finding creative spots in my apartment in which to toilet, but unless she is sleeping, I pretty much have to keep an eye on her at all times.  A very smart girl in general, Dorothy is an A+ student when it comes to the subjects of cat cornering, say, or domestic object chewing.  She plans to major in shoe destruction, and is clearly considering a minor in furniture gnawing and blanket burrowing.  She also likes to jump, and will attempt Evel Knievel-like maneuvers to heights she has no chance of reaching, like to the high windowsill above my bed, or from the chair in the bedroom to the bed.  The other day I caught her contemplating jumping from the bedroom chair to my high dresser; when I said no, absolutely not, she got a very guilty look on her face, so I know one day I’m going to find her frolicking among my very breakable and rather expensive bottles of perfume.

So if I want a little bit of time to myself—say an hour per night—I bring her bed into my study, and give her a bully stick and let her go at it.  For those of you who are blissfully unaware of exactly what a bully stick is, I shall now burst your bubble with the following two words:  bull penis.  Yep.  My little flower, Dorothy Hyacinth, is sitting behind me as I write this chewing on what was once a bull’s pride and glory, and what he no doubt hoped would stay attached to his person.  But these dried sticks are good for dogs!  Better than rawhide, I’m told.  They have glucosamine in them, and don’t lend themselves to choking or intestine-tangling.

I hope you’re not eating.  I’m certainly not, because the one thing the woman at the pet store failed to mention when she proclaimed her ode to bully sticks, was their odor.  They smell absolutely putrid.  When Dorothy is chewing one near me, I feel like I am sitting in a World War I trench surrounded by lime-strewn body parts.  Think of the worst smell you have experienced and multiply it by 50.  Yep:  bully stick.  I consider it the bull’s revenge.

And now on to bulldogges and those who bully their owners.

To the pocket-sized man who manages the market a few doors down from where I live:

Admittedly, I could have tried to find a better place for my puppy to piddle than on the sidewalk outside of your market.  However, I’m not quite sure how I’m supposed to prevent a 6-month old dog with a urinary tract infection from letting loose a few drops in the out-of-doors.  I suppose I could have picked her up and carried her past your store.  But the sidewalk is a public place, and the dog-walking ordinances in Philadelphia only mention excrement and not urine, precisely because about two minutes after a dog urinates on a sidewalk there is barely a trace of it left.  When you began the conversation with clear venom and a rudely sneered “curb your dog, ma’am” what exactly did you have in mind that I should do?  Pull my dog into the bike path?  Jaywalk her across the street?  And was it really necessary to stand there hosing down the three drops she left as if their very essence would contaminate every single item in the store?

I'm happy to adhere to your request to the best of my ability -- which admittedly won't be 100%.  But whoa there, Napoleon!  If you can't reach polite, can you at least start with civil?!

And go ahead, keep glowering at us from behind your picture window every time we walk by (which, because of Dorothy’s UTI, is every 10 minutes).  I’ve gotten to the point now that I hope, as you shadow us behind the glass, arms crossed, your face a clenched fist, my glorious little bulldogge will reveal to you the infinite capacities of her full bladder.

Dorothy, not feeling very sorry:

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