He’s the embodiment of cuteness. How anyone could simply abandon this cute little bastard, put him in a cardboard box and toss it in the bushes beside a busy road is beyond me. Stretched out on my lap, paws in the air, he stares at me with a look of undiluted love. The fact that I’m holding a bag of dog treats probably has something to do with his loving gaze but that doesn’t matter. He loves cookies. I’m the cookie source, a vending machine of little chunks of love, if you will. Hence, I’m literally a love machine. He’s still got a boner and it grows whenever I take a treat. He gets off on food, I find myself thinking. Just like me! We’re made for each other!
The girlfriend is driving and occasionally her eyes shift from the road to the rear-view mirror to catch a glimpse of all the commotion on the backseat.
“Don’t give him too many treats,” she says. “He’ll throw up tonight if you do.”
“I won’t, I won’t. Don’t worry!” I say as I surreptitiously slip the pup another treat.
“There you go,” I whisper to the pup, “our little secret!”
“I saw that,” the girlfriend says.
“Last one!” I say, pretending to give the pup a kiss but really I’m just giving him another treat. A Copperfield-esque sleight of hand if there ever was one.
Eventually the pup falls asleep on my lap. I can’t sleep. I haven’t been this excited since I discovered my first pube. I just look at him sleep and pet his furry little pup head. He’s perfect. Our little baby. Then the pup farts and the car fills with the smell of oyster sauce, carrion and what seems to be sulfur.
“Dude!” the girlfriend yells and covers her nose and mouth. She gags a little. I’m doing the same thing. It’s bad. Real bad.
“It’s the pup!” I yell back.
“Oh,” she says. “Damn, dog!”
I make a mental note of this. It’s brilliant. I’ll never, ever again have to take responsibility for a fart as long as the pup is around. I’m a genius.
The pup wakes up just as we pull into the driveway and yawns. It’s the cutest thing ever. As he stretches out and yawns again and I quickly stuff two more treats into his mouth and carry the munching bunch of awesome out of the car and into our house.
“It’s pretty cute,” the girlfriend says, waving a little rope toy in front of the dog, who in turn wags his tail and attempts to maul the toy to death.
You have to remember that the girlfriend was never too keen on getting a dog. Treasured concepts like sleeping in and, well, staying in bed for the better part of the day on weekends and holidays are sacred to her and I had to promise her that, during those times of unadulterated bliss, I would take it upon myself to entertain the pup, e.g. get up at 7am on a Saturday to go for a walk. Which, of course, I agreed to immediately. Tomorrow is a Saturday and we’ll take our first, quiet morning walk together. Awesome. Maybe 7.30, though. It’s been a long week. Possibly 8.
We play with the dog a bit more, give him some dinner and turn in. The girlfriend walks into the bedroom and I turn the couch into a makeshift bed. I put the dog’s bed next to the couch and we fall asleep together, my hand dangling from the couch, every now and then brushing one of his floppy ears. I may never sleep in my bed again.
I wake up and the pup is nowhere to be seen. I panic. Crap! He’s run away! I think, but then I hear tiny (razor-sharp) nails clicking away on the kitchen tiles. I look at my arms and they’re covered in long, narrow gouges deep enough to draw blood. I pop my head into the kitchen and see the dog playing with one of his new toys. Great! I think, well done boy! He already knows what’s his and what isn’t! Proud as a parent whose forty-two year old kid has just moved out, I strut into the bathroom to take a shower and possibly disinfect my arms.
Oh, the horror.
The four shredded bath towels and the disintegrated socks are bad. The two destroyed (how the hell can that tiny little mouth cause such havoc?) electric toothbrushes are worse. But the worst is yet to come. As I clear away the strips of premium-quality bath towel, I discover a small pool of off-white slime that looks like it was regurgitated by the queen extraterrestrial from Aliens. Tiny pieces of dog treats are still discernable and protrude from the puddle like candles on a melting ice cream birthday cake. I run to the kitchen to get some paper towels and clean up the sick in order to avoid proving the girlfriend right. Must dispose of the evidence! The problem is, I’m horrible with vomit. Whenever I smell it or see someone else throw up, I inevitably end up puking myself. So I ready myself, taking rapid deep breaths like I saw someone do in a movie once, supposedly to hold your breath longer. TV has taught me a lot of useful stuff. I go back in and there’s a new smell. No, smell would be too kind. Stench. No, funk. Reek. Stink. An olfactory offense to nature. I scan the bathroom and, after a second or two, discover the source. The pup, seemingly having returned to the bathroom while I was prepping myself in the kitchen, took a dump.
On top of the vomit.
I can feel my stomach and throat contract and the gagging begins. My eyes begin to tear up. The pup enters the bathroom like a general surveying a post-slaughter battlefield. He tilts his head and, for a split second, I’m pretty sure he smiles. I gag loudly and he looks at me and begins to wag his tail. No. Nonono. Stay there, pup. Stay. There. Before I can utter these words he launches forward towards me. His two front paws touch down smack in the middle of the cocktail of semi-solid feces and vomit and he skids about half a yard towards me, his stomach now also coated in the stuff. Nooo! is all I can muster in my mind as I gag again, louder this time. I take a step back but it’s too late. My bare legs are greeted by two tiny paws sticky with stool and semi-digested pieces of dog food. My gagging becomes more violent and I throw up a little in my mouth. I succeed in swallowing it just as the girlfriend walks out of the bedroom.
“What the shit is—”
She’s unable to finish the sentence because the pup has jumped up at her, grabbing her leg and, much like a fireman, he’s now sliding down her leg, his stomach firmly pressed against it. The girlfriend looks at me. Still gagging, I gesticulate wildly at the bathroom. She looks at the river of raw sewage and follows it to where she’s standing. Then she looks down at her leg. At the same time the smell hits her. Now, the girlfriend is a tough little number. But if there’s one thing that’ll make her throw up on the spot like a Blackpool slag that’s had one too many Jägerbombs, it’s the smell of shit and vomit. So she throws up on my feet. She looks at me and our eyes meet. Horror, shock and a dozen kinds of disgust are communicated non-verbally in less than a second. I throw up in my mouth again but, quite luckily, am able to swallow it again. The girlfriend heads towards the toilet and I can hear her vomit again, more profusely this time. I feel something tickling my feet and look down. It’s the pup, licking the girlfriend’s vomit from between my toes.