The Person They Think Me

It’s not even noon on a Monday (though it will be well past when you read this, dear Reader) and already I’m absolutely ready to stab everything in my path. Part of it’s hormonal, part of it’s exhaustion, part of it’s the state of the world, part of–oh, let’s just say there’s a lot of factors.

This morning’s walk was in fine penetrating drizzle; both dogs were damp within minutes. Miss B is sanguine; her coat is all-weather and as long as she gets her exercise she’s fine with just about anything. Boxnoggin has stopped dramatically throwing himself to the (wet) ground when he’s asked to go outside in the rain. It was a tactic with diminishing returns even when he started employing it, but that didn’t stop his stubborn doggy self, oh no.

After walkies, it was time for a run, still in that same drizzle strengthening to actual rain. (We need many more words for types of rain here in the Pacific Northwest. Many, many more.) Boxnoggin was too excited to obey much for the first couple kilometers, but then he settled with an almost-audible thump and began paying attention.

I did try taking him running with B just after he came to us, but stopped when the vet and I realized he was far too young. It’s always a crapshoot figuring out how old dogs are at a certain point, and he is both pure black and also a high-energy boxer-terrier mix. So at the shelter, people would look at him and say “oh, a black pit bull” and pass him over. He’d been returned numerous times in his young life, and I suspected he thought he’d be returned to the shelter this time too, so he was emotionally shut down and do I blame him? Not a whit.

Now, however, he’s been with us longer than all those other places combined. I joke that only the sweet release of death will free him from our care, but he doesn’t seem to mind. It’s been difficult–he had a lot of energy to work off, a lot of bad habits to kindly, gently coax into better paths, and add to that a puppy’s tendency to get mouthy and the fact that I couldn’t really take him running until both the vet and I were certain he was old enough it wouldn’t damage his joints and you have a recipe for a lot of eye-rolling and “Dog, you make the worst decisions…”

They even said at the shelter that he was “shy.” If there’s one thing this dog is not… I mean, he is almost pathologically gregarious, no matter if most of his social reflexes with other dogs (not to mention humans) tend to take the form of a very loud “PLAY WITH ME PLAY WITH ME PLAY WITH MEEEEEEEEE” until I have to drag him away. It will get better as he settles into both running and adulthood, but he’s so high-energy and needy he ends up driving to distraction even those who want to be friendly.

In short, Boxnoggin requires a lot of patience, very firm boundaries, and occasionally being carried by the handle on his harness as if he’s a valise because he does not make good decisions.

He’s also one of the most loving dogs I’ve ever met. Miss B longs to be under my skin all day; Boxnoggin won’t rest until he’s burrowed into your bones. I wake up with his nose in my armpit more often than not, since Miss B has taken to hopping off the bed in the middle of the night in order to sleep on the cool tile floor of the master loo. And as soon as he suspects I’m fumbling towards consciousness, Boxnoggin gets extremely excited at the prospect of sharing another day with his pack, and can’t contain wriggles or sneezes.

A large dog sneezing into one’s armpit is a strange way to start the day, I must say.

There’s no way to be truly angry at the world when I can cuddle a dog, really. We don’t deserve them; they’ve been with us almost from the beginning, and even at their worst, well, they’re better than the best of us can hope to be.

Gods grant me the strength and patience to be even close to the person Boxnoggin and Miss B clearly think me, especially amid all this.

So I wish this for you today, dear Reader–the comfort of dry socks, a measure of peace even mid-Monday, the luck to accept the unrestrained, joyful love of a canine companion. (Or a feline, equine, or what-have-you one.) I don’t know if humanity is worth saving the world for, but dogs?

Yes, they’re worth the effort. May I never forget it.

Now it’s past noon and time for lunch. Maybe some fiery chicken curry will relieve me of the urge to stab everything in sight. I’m sure last night’s leftover bacon will be greeted with much enthusiasm by the aforementioned canine quotient of Casa Saintcrow.

Over and out.