Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tobosthenes the Biter of Men

It's sad that I have to be prodded to keep posting on MLV. In my defense, I've been insanely busy lately, though not too busy to re-read some hoary old novels I probably should have memorized by now.

Tonight, I'm supervising Will cleaning up the office. I'm also playing with Tobosthenes the Biter of Men. It's a good thing he's cute. *Mumbles indistinct threats* I know he's a puppy and he's going to do these things, but the not-so-little doggy is driving me nuts. He also farts. And by farts, I mean he emits a poisonous miasma from his tailpipe that could be classified as a biohazard. Hazmat suit, please! However, I am fond of the muttling, in spite of his very obvious (and painful) flaws. He's putting on weight nicely. I figure he's gained 8-10 pounds and has definitely gotten taller in the two months or so we've had him. Every evening I call him in, he seems subtly bigger. Is that how my mom looked at me when I was ten? We've guess that his physical maturity in human years should put him at the same level of coordination as a 10 year old boy. Which means he can barely walk without running into something. And by walk, I mean skidding at top speed, front legs splayed out, eyes full of panic. Dog fails at hardwood floors. The funniest example was one night when Will was at Taekwondo, Evan was on the laptop in the living room, and I was coming in from the kitchen to the living room. Toby was doing laps around the couch at top speed. He circled the coffee table and headed toward me. I sidestepped, but unfortunately didn't get out of the way fast enough. He crashed into my knees, nearly knocking me over, then picked himself up and did another lap. By the time he was done with his lap, I was standing by the back door, holding it open. Toby slid across the linoleum, gathered his hind legs for one enormous leap, sailed out the back door and belly flopped onto the pavement. He immediately bounced up, looking delighted with himself and the whole world. The expression on his face said "Ahhh, this is the life." Whatever you say, dog. Belly flopping on concrete isn't for me.

As hazardous as it is, I'm discovering a sick desire to mess with the dog. Fully protected, of course, in TKD sparring helmet and leather gardening gloves. Just loudly saying GAHBLEAHBLEAHBLEAH makes him totally freak out, spinning in puppy pirouettes with jaws wide and teeth gleaming. If I'm far enough out of range, this is hilarious. If not, ouch. I'll be nursing the scratches for the next three days. He's also terrified of the dust mop. I discovered this purely by accident when I was sweeping up the sand that came off our bicycle tires. He started running around yipping in panic. I couldn't believe a stalwart, manly pup like Toby would be afraid of something that sweeps smoothly and silently, but he is. I haven't exactly chased him with it (and boy am I lying right now), but I have been sweeping more than usual. As my dear friend Annie would say, I'm *so* going to hell.

I must admit I like Toby best when he's snoring at my feet while I watch TV. He's a great foot warmer, and it's cathartic to stroke his snoring head. I love his silky ears and his little puppy snores. However, if he doesn't shape up as he grows, especially if we have a kid, I'm sending him one way in a box with no airholes to Florida. My father in law seemed totally besotted by the pup, and they have more time than we do to train him and play with him. We'll see how it plays out.

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