Back in August, we adopted our dog River (my first canine pet ever). We got her from a local rescue group, so I can feel like a Good Person the way vegans and Prius drivers do. After just a few short months, I am totally in love with her. While at work, I daydream about being at home on the couch watching Planet Earth documentaries with River curled up at my side growling at the polar bears.
The other day, I left the office still focused on work issues to the point of distraction. While driving home I was so preoccupied that I missed my exit and completely ran a red light. But once I clipped on River’s leash and took her outside, everything work-related left my brain. I found myself instantly relaxed, thinking only of the things she was thinking about: the unseasonably springlike weather, the fresh air, the excited yips from other dogs lunging at the ends of their leashes eagerly greeting us.
Her quirks mystify us. She’s terrified of her own brush, pees at the sight of her harness, and quivers in fear when we watch The Dark Knight Rises. On the flip side, she shows no fear of thunderstorms, fireworks, or gunshots. If we forget to close the gate to the ‘cat room,’ she runs in and treats herself to goodies from the litter box, making her quite literally a turdburglar.
She is goofy, awkward, stinky, and expensive to maintain, and I absolutely cannot wait to go home and see her again.
It’s a well known fact among my friends and family that I am a huge animal lover. We share our 750-square foot condo with three furry beasts: the cats, Ginger Spice and Esteban, and our most recent acquisition, a rescue dog named River. Sometimes, I am pretty positive that they are aware that they outnumber the humans and are totally ganging up on us.
Case in point: last Wednesday, I got home from work with 40 minutes of relaxation time before I had to leave again for physical therapy. A strong smell hit me the second I walked into the apartment; Ginger had peed on the floor outside the litter box. As I mopped it up with paper towels, I noticed Esteban–a long-haired cat–scooting his butt along the counter in obvious discomfort. I picked him and was quickly hit with a second olfactory assault as I discovered a gigantic clump of poop stuck to his fluffy hindquarters. He meowed indignantly at me as I attempted to pull the clumps off with wet wipes, a poopy pile quickly forming in the garbage can. Not to be upstaged, Ginger acknowledged my transfer of attention to Esteban by promptly peeing on the floor AGAIN, in the same spot I had just cleaned. I sighed and went back for more paper towels. Once the floor had been sprayed and mopped for the second time, I finally sat down on the couch to rest until Esteban wandered into the room into my line of sight and vomited. The last of the paper towels soaked up the mess, at which point I left the house because I was out of cleaning supplies and a will to live.
(River did not participate in this particular episode, but she ate the arm of the couch down to the wood the previous day so she is no innocent.)
The next morning I went in to work an hour late because I had to take the long-haired cat to the vet to get his butt shaved, which is kind of the best excuse ever.