My husband, Justin, believes in grand gestures. (And he’s damn good at it. Lucky me!) He surprised me with Henry at the most inconvenient time in both of our lives, and I ended up living in a not so ideal living situation to best accommodate Henry’s needs. Of course my life changed; you can’t do whatever you please when you have someone depending on you, which I didn’t mind one bit. Henry is resilient and has pretty much rolled with the punches through several moves and even more puppy sitters. Henry is the true love of my life. You can even tell my husband–I don’t care, he knows it. He’s always there for me, especially when Justin is deployed, and he listened to my vino ramblings way before I put them to paper. He really is the best pup a gal could ask for. However, there is never a rainbow without a little rain, right?
My dog is an asshole. It’s a character flaw that I love him in spite of since it’s not his dominant feature, but still. There are times when I look at him and think I could never love a pet more than I love him. Other times I think about sending him on the ship with Justin until further notice. I know this doesn’t seem like anything new to any pet owners out there, not original one bit, right? Well…maybe a little. But when he does stupid shit I’m convinced in that moment that he’s the worst dog out there. Here are just a couple examples…
The Great Escape(s)
Henry is part lab, part husky and part chow chow. No, he doesn’t look as exotic as he sounds. He’s basically got the lab color, husky coat and body and the chow face. His temperament though…all husky. Meaning he’s high energy; he should be a track star because this dog can run. And run. And run. Of all the times Henry has broken free of his imprisonment, a handful have stuck out for me because I’ve had to chase him down.
Once was when I was living at home. My mom’s house is right off of a majorly sketchy highway and of course her yard wasn’t fenced in because that would have just made my life too easy. I would attach Henry to a long cable that was looped around a porch beam and he’d just do his thing. One day I thought I’d test him out without the cord, you know, because I’m an idiot. I thought I could trust him and he quickly proved me wrong. He took off and ran the length of the highway, up and around the neighborhood, me chasing him the whole way, until he got tired of running and just went back in the house.
Several months later, he was staying in the garage of my in-laws while we were waiting to PCS to Italy. I would keep him on a run during the day that was attached to his $30 harness that was completely necessary for walking because he’s also an asshole on his leash. One day I looked out the window to see his harness on the ground and Henry not attached to it. I did find him, though, down the street visiting the neighbor’s dog. I yelled his name, and of course he took off. I chased him for two blocks before I finally drug him back to the garage. After he had CHEWED his harness off, he had somehow managed to roll around in cat shit. I took off his collar and headed to the store for dog shampoo. When I got back to the garage to bathe him, he noticed a cat sitting in the driveway and pushed past me to claim his canine dominance. Again, the chase was on. It was three blocks this time before I caught him, and I can definitely say our friendship wasn’t the same after that.
Less severe has been during our short time in Italy. We have a large, fenced in yard (thank Science) with a front gate that is the only way to get in and out of our property. On days that I know I’m going to be gone for a while I set him up real nice outside since we don’t have a doggy door. Usually he stays in the back and I can escape through the gate before he even notices I’m leaving him to his own musings. Except, of course, the one time I was in the biggest hurry. There I sat on the steep incline that is my driveway, a foot from the gate, and there sat Henry in between, determined to go with me. Eventually I had to put him in the car, drive my car out of the gate, park, and take him by the collar back into the gate where I stood guard while it shut completely. He looked at me like I took away his favorite stuffed elephant.
Speaking of the stuffed elephant. Henry has a terrible track record with toys. When we got him, his old owners told Justin that you could forget about getting him anything stuffed or the dog version of tennis balls because he’d destroy them in seconds. I found this to be mostly true; I still have to make sure all of his balls are Wilsons, but I wanted to test out the stuffed animal theory.
Test #1 involved an old stuffed dog I had gotten from cheer camp a million years ago. I watched Henry interact with it under close supervision and he seemed to understand that this dog was not just his play thing, but also his new friend. I really wanted him to learn how to cherish his toys and be responsible, like all parents hope for their kids. However, somehow he had found the dog during non-visitation hours and the stuffed creature was no more.
Test #2 proved to be much more successful than the previous. Upon entering PetCo I found a brand of toys that promised to be tougher than your run of the mill dog toys. They had a large array of options from small tires to fluffy critters. I opted for a stuffed shark who was later dubbed “Sharky.” Sharky was made of some sort of industrial felt and reinforced with nylon trimmings that all covered a soft plastic lining, and inside were two enticing squeakers. Sharky was Henrys’ first love, but as most first loves go, they were always back and forth. He never could decide how he really felt about Sharky, but kept him around for when he was bored. They finally decided to call it quits while Henry was staying with our friends Nate and Kaitlyn. I received the breakup picture, which was gruesome—all the stuffing was removed from Sharky, along with the squeakers. Nate held onto the shell of Sharky, but after returning home it was never to be seen again. I’m guessing at some point Henry gave him a proper burial.
The final test of Henrys’ aversion to all things stuffed was really for me. I had walked into PetCo looking for a Sharky replacement when I found the most adorable elephant, which I later named Lelephant…I don’t know why. I brought it home to Henry and explained to him how much I loved Lelephant and wanted him to stay a while, but the expected soon followed. After a few short hours, Lelephant sustained his first injury in the form of mild stuffing removal. I promptly grounded Henry from Lelephant to prolong the poor animal’s life. This lasted for a few months, but I had to perform several surgeries after each play date and Lelephant grew tired of it quickly. Eventually I euthanized the poor beast to spare him. Something weird happened after that, though. Henry took the skin of Lelephant with him everywhere he went for weeks. I mean he slept with it, ate with it, played with it. I had to remove it from our home after a while because it smelled of death, and Henry continues to parade his crime around the yard to this day. My dog is an asshole.
This list is never ending, I don’t want to waste all the good stories on one post. Every day Henry does something more assholeish than the last, so you’ll be the second to know when he’s done something newly ridiculous.
-Wine of the evening: Clemente VII 2011