23 September 2008
This morning, while Wilcox and I were still in bed, Martha did a poo so stenchful that we convinced ourselves she had done it in the room, if not in our actual bed. We both woke up retching. In fact, the two steaming piles of poo were outside the back door. Which, admittedly, was open. Still, that's some stinky poo, right?
When we got up there was a wattle bird in the kitchen. They're beautiful birds, the wattle bird — so long and lean and mottly. They have wattles under their necks, little dangly bits, for what purpose I do not know. We shut all the doors in the kitchen except the one that goes outside (the one with Martha's poos — possibly why the wattle bird couldn't manage to exit??) and left her to it (Wilcox said it was definitely a her). She left via the small section of doorway unobstructed by giant piles of stinking dog poo. Pity. I was getting quite attached to her.
Meanwhile, all this, and it's only 10am!
21 September 2008
08 September 2008
Okay, you deserve an explanation. So, remember my doggy dilemma? (Dunno why I bothered linking that — it's just a couple of posts down.) I dearly wanted a dog for a very long time, really since I last had a dog, which was when I was when I wee mite. But Wilcox and I couldn't agree on the size ballpark. He wanted something teensy and hassle-free, like a miniature Dachshund, or perhaps a new cushion, and I wanted something hefty and gallopy, like a Great Dane or a pony. I wanted something to walk with me around Yarra Bend, he wanted something that wouldn't, as a pathologically tidy type, send him round the bend. Besides which, I really felt I should get a rescue dog. Surely it's enough I have to suffer White Guilt — must I now be burdened with Breeder Guilt? Oh, and I also wanted a puppy, which of course go like hot cakes at the rescue places. Plus we rent. And, oh, it was all too hard.
Meanwhile, well, you also know all about our Personal Tragedy. I've been absent from this blog lately because, to be frank, the blues got worse before they got better. Actually they haven't yet got better. And Wilcox has been hardly euphoric. So we were jointly suffering from the depressive's inability to decide anything. My brain function slowed down to Punt-Road-in-peak-hour pace, during which it moves slowly and in fits and starts, and makes me cry by sending visions of people making speeches at my funeral while at the same time half listening to Hamish and Andy.
I choose to unburden myself of this difficulty at regular intervals, particularly if moistened by a bottle or two of Chardonnay.
"Oh ffs," muttered my friends to each other during their secret meetings without me. "Why the devil don't they just get the dog already?"
Then, one day, one of my dearest girlfriends (let's call her W) got me drunk at a dinner party at my own house (the cheek!) and said, "Okay, if you could have any sort of dog you wanted, what would you have?"
"I'd've a choclt Lbradr," I mumbled. "Ther so chocltey." I finished my ice cream and started on hers. "But I'll never get one!" I wailed.
"Why not?" said W.
"His Highness," I slurred, tossing my head toward a sober, resigned Wilcox so violently that my hair stuck in my mouth, "wantz dachshun. Besides, puppy rscu. Muz rscu pppy."
"El. Ay. Bee. Ar. Ay. Dee. Oh. Ar..." replied my friend as she scribbled in her moleskin. "Uh huh." I was just about to ask her why she was scribbling in her moleskin when I suddenly felt like a little lie down.
"No, not the couch!" the guests gasped. "Don't let her get on the couch!"
Then all of a sudden it was the next morning and my neck was all stiff. I was still on the couch. The guests were gone. I spat the hair out of my mouth.
About a month later, when Wilcox was at work, the doorbell rang. I answered it. My friends W stood there. Also G (as she shall be known), close friend of mine but (at this stage) more new friend of W, through me. I didn't know they saw each other when I wasn't there. (See what I mean? Secret meetings.) G is the one who bought me the massage that time.
W had a chocolate Labrador puppy wrapped in a towel.
I stared at them. They stared at me. No one moved. Or spoke. They were grinning nervously. I started crying.
Then we all hugged like girls. And squished the puppy.
In the kitchen, I got a better handle on what they were giving me. It was kind of like a puppy kit. It comprised:
- two tins of puppy food
- two towels from the op shop
- one pink fluffy hot water bottle cover, also from the op shop
- one rope toy
- one hundred dollars
- one puppy.
These situations seldom happen. What does one do? Cry, feel thankful, panic about Wilcox's reaction. "We didn't ask him," said W proudly, "because we knew he'd say no!" We took the puppy out to the backyard, which he investigated enthusiastically. He was, I saw, a fine pup — waggy-tailed, velvety soft, wet-nosed, bright-eyed. W admitted that she'd craftily got me drunk in order to squeeze my breed preferences out of me. Surely that's what the government should use when they want to get information from terrorists and such — Chardonnay. I mean, if terrorists are anything like me and my girlfriends...
W also said that I'd said, that same night, that I wanted a boy dog. (Although I can't remember this and dispute that I would say such a thing, being, insofar as I care at all, which I don't really, more of a bitch lady.) Anyway, she'd got me a boy one.
The weirdest bit was when they left. We were just there, then, together. We had a little game with the rope toy, but he seemed to prefer gnawing on me. Then he fell asleep on my lap, while I googled "puppy how look after very unprepared". I stroked his back and marveled at that velvety softness.
Wilcox wigged out a bit when he got home. He felt affronted by W and G's failure to consult him on a purchase for which he's going to be partly responsible for the next decade. Fair enough too. But then he got a load of the puppy, and the puppy looked up at Wilcox with his big hazel eyes and his velvet ears and his adorable moist little shnoz. They a little bit fell in love. Also, he tells me, I looked happy, which I hadn't for a bit, and that was good too.
After much discussion, me and Wilcox decided to call him Dudley.
A couple of days later he was sleeping on my lap again — he did a lot of that when he was really little — when I realised he was my dog, my responsibility, and that his good health and enjoyment of life was entirely up to me. It seemed very grave.
So I examined his tiny body, from his soft little paw pads to his floppy-doppy ears. It's interesting, what makes cute. Somehow this constellation of features — big eyes and ears, naked belly, softness, sleepiness, littleness — kicks our instincts to nuture into high gear. Cuteness is distinct from beauty, but just as manipulative.
"Hmm," I frowned when I got to his naughties. "This doodle looks just like a little vajayjay. I guess pups are just genitally generic when they're little." But I was consumed with disquiet. His penis was definitely weird. Small. Way too far back.
"His boy bits look like lady bits," I told Wilcox.
"Did I ever tell you I went to school with a guy who became a vet?" asked Wilcox. So we sent a pornographic picture of Dudley to the schoolboy vet on Facebook.
"After consulting my anatomy books," he messaged back, "I can verify your pooch is a FEMALE. There were two giveaways. One was the absence of male genitalia. The other was the presence of female genitalia." The schoolboy vet diagnosed a case of SFBS, or Stupid Fucking Breeder Syndrome. Who knows? W reckoned the breeder had the Glad Eye for her and got muddled up.
"She doesn't know if she's Arthur or Martha," I said to Wilcox or Wilcox said to me, I can't remember which.
"Yes she does," said the other. "She's Martha."
And that's how Wilcox and I came to share our lives with the amazing, sex-changing Martha Epstein McArthur. (Thanks to W and G she's half-Jewish, half-Catholic.) She is sixteen weeks old now and I am madly, unconditionally, obsessively in love with her. I don't care to hide it and bore acquaintances with the same story I just told you. I love being a dog owner and going to the park and hanging out with the other dog owners talking about dogs. I took Martha to puppy school and she was brilliant. She can sit, stay, drop, high-five, and touch my hand with her nose on request. I'm now teaching her not to pull on the lead. She waits to be told to eat before she eats. She's teething now, and most of her soft coat has been replaced with proper grown-up Labrador hair, but her ears still feel like velvet. And she still sleeps on my lap, although now only her top half fits. (She's here right now, as I type this.) Sometimes she puts her paws round my neck and hugs me. My last Google search is "dog watery foul-smelling anal sacs".