gall and gumption

Saturday, June 16, 2007


For the past several weeks I've had a running argument with my father's dog Misha. The argument is over dominance issues. It began innocuously enough, with her and Sweetie playing The Growling Game whenever we were getting ready for a walk. But The Growling Game began to get a little rough, it was clear that Misha was using it to show Sweetie that she was the boss of outside too. (When we go out Sweetie is always in front, eagerly looking at things, wanting to just be out for ever, while Misha soon starts campaigning to go home.) So I have been laying down some rules: 1) The Growling Game must stop whenever it gets mean; 2) When the two dogs are in my room, Misha is not allowed to boss Sweetie around and try to hog all of the attention. If she tries this on I order her out of the room and she goes away looking utterly miserable. The third and final rule is that she must stay in the back seat of the car when we are out.

Well, I don't know, something seems to have gotten through to her in the last week. She's been acting really weird. Tuesday I guess it was, my father called me at work to tell me that Misha didn't seem to be well: she had climbed into the bathtub and refused to come out. I got home and found that he had placed her dish in the bathroom, next to the tub, in case she felt like eating. She had refused to leave the apartment, and when I got home it had been 24 hours sinced the last time she went out. But she came out with me and Sweetie willingly enough, and afterwards I took them in the car to the store, and she barked at every living creature in sight. I turned around to look at her and the expression of zany happiness on her face said, unmistakably, "This is living!" Wednesday we had a big thunderstorm here and when I got home both dogs were not at the door when I came in; apparently they were cowering in the bedroom from the weather. Now there is another wrinkle which is that she has taken to sleeping in my bedroom closet, on top of my dirty laundry, and generally conducts herself in my bedroom with this abject and forlorn air. She never wanted to hang out in my room until I started telling her to bugger off out of the room whenever she bullied Sweetie. Now she's in here all the time, but in this pathetic pleading way, and seems to be brooding over something that hurt her feelings. Or she may have suspected that he was going away again, which does depress her a little.

My favorite moment this week with my dad was waking up at about 2 in the morning to see him tiptoeing into my bathroom in his boxers and a T-shirt. "Daddy, what's up?" I said. "I'm just saying 'Good night' to Misha," he said. He disappeared into the closet (which is off the bathroom) and I heard him talking to her her and before he was even gone I had fallen asleep again. You have to understand that as far as he is concerned, the apartment stops just short of my bedroom door. He doesn't like to come in here, too much Kia personality around I suppose.

Anyway I've got the place to myself (plus, of course, dogs) this weekend as he's off to Jamaica for a few days.


At 11:58 AM, Anonymous leigh said...

So funny and descriptive. I really did laugh out loud. Poor Mischa.


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