The perils of dog sitting

It’s day number five with Ella, the Meat Chunk. Meat Chunk is a specific breed of dog that is native to my brother — large in stature, dense, the mass of three imploding suns and likes to sit on small children while riding in the car. The aforementioned child no longer has any feeling in her thighs.

My brother and his family went on vacation for, well, close to eternity, and we’re dog sitting ye ‘olde Meat Chunk while they’re gone. It hasn’t been a bad experience — for the most part she’s a good dog. It’s just that dogs have their own quirks, and this one especially. Partly because my brother believes dogs NEED quirks. That they should be uncivilized and unruly, and that these eccentricities should be on display like a neon peacock.

You know, like a dog who can’t walk in a straight line. I swear I thought she was drunk the first time I walked her. She darted left and right on the leash, like a divining rod swerving from water source to water source. I was dragged behind like a rag doll, my knees all skinned up and the circulation to my poor hand long since cutoff.

There are lots of things she can’t NOT do. Like she can’t NOT step on other peoples’ toes. This is simple physics. Just like an apple can’t NOT defy gravity. A bird can’t NOT float. A man can’t NOT use a bottle of mustard simply because it’s been in the refrigerator for 18 years and has turned green. Meat Chunk can’t NOT leave a trail of screaming, crying people whose toes have been squished flat in her wake.

Oh, and then she has to get so worked up running around outside that she drinks a whole bowl of water — I mean, like the whole bowl is desert-dry when she’s done! — before dribbling three-quarters of it out of her mouth.

Add this to the fact that she is a dirt-toe clincher. Dogs fall into two categories: Those who clinch dirt in their toes and those who don’t. The dirt-toe clinchers you can spot because after dribbling water all over your house, they unclench their toes and leave acre-wide mud puddles everywhere. Science doesn’t know why dogs clinch dirt in their toes … only that it is the leading cause of popped blood vessels in humans.

The list goes on: She has to sit behind me while I work at the computer and scratch, causing the house to shake like an earthquake.

She has to wake up at 3 a.m. to scratch, causing the house to shake like an earthquake.

After she finishes scratching, and I finish throwing up from sea-sickness, she has to pace and wander the halls with her big, fat dirt-clinching toes click-clacking on the floor … at 3 a.m.

And the only positive? My toes aren’t there to be squished in her wake.

Also published on Medium.

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