The Thousand Joys Of Having Dogs

Dueling Cabooses

This morning, I had to give two pills to the smaller (and demonstrably more insane) dog, the chihuahua fox terrier mix, lovingly known as a Taco Terrier. We call her Taishen or Taishan, which means something like “peaceful, immovable mountain.”

Immovable, yes. Peaceful, probably not so much.

Giving two pills to the teenier of the pooches is an exercise in misery and futility. One pill, fine. Two pills, the deepest stratum of Hell. I pop the first pill, everything seems fine. I wait. I administer the second pill — and somehow, the first pill is located in a secret transdimensional pocket in her esophagus. It rises to meet the other pill, as if they are old friends.

It takes me five minutes to get the two pills into her body.

She doesn’t squirm or bite. But she has a powerful throat that can perform reverse peristalsis at the drop of a hat. Her esophagus features the muscles of a boa constrictor.

I Can Haz Belgian Shepherd

Above is Yaga.

He is a Belgian Shepherd (Groenendael) and Chow-Chow mix. You will see no Chow in him, except for the faintly purple tongue.

Yaga is, depending on who’s asking, either a guttural cry without meaning, an ancient African or Native American name, or the name of a Black Spiral Dancer NPC from a truly apocalyptic game of Werewolf: The Apocalypse way back when.

Two of those are actually accurate. And, for the record, his full name is Eeyaga.

Last week, Yaga entered the home after being outside in the yard.

Yaga had a second tail. This is not normal.

It dangled below his first and actual tail.

This second tail was white(ish) to his other black tail. The second tail hung about a foot-and-a-half and swung with some weight. At first, I thought, “That might be a length of intestine.”

But no. It was however, a coil of paper towel formed by an intestine, like play dough pushed through a certain mold. Yaga eats paper towels and tissues rather voraciously, you see. The yard is littered with dooky-bombs and poo-mines, many half-white as if claimed by tapeworms, but truly only because he is thrilled at the prospect of gulping down paper products into his belly.

Took him outside, had the wife hold his collar, and with gloves made ironically of paper towels, I pulled the intestinal towels out of his asshole. They were in there another good couple of inches. That second tail would’ve stayed dangling there for days, I think.

At least it’s better than the time I had to tie him to a sign post and pull several feet of audio tape out of his butthole. In public.

Baby Seal

That is Tai.

Tai will eat goose poop if you give her half a chance.

Tai will bite Yaga in the face. Yaga will love it. Tai, on the other hand, may actually be trying to eat his face and not administer love, as he believes.

Tai will find a way to lay down on clean clothes and cover them in her hairs. The darker the clothing, the better.

Right now, as I write this, Tai is at our window downstairs, on top of the couch, freaking out at what is most likely one of our neighbor’s burgeoning army of stupid cats, cats the neighbor refuses to treat like pets and more like hobos that are allowed to come and go and crap on things and eat out of cans. I like that Tai hates the cats. I hope that Tai does not like cat poop, however, but one wish at at time.

Catching Snowflakes on Tongue

Yaga should probably be dead. He has:

  • Been attacked by an elk and thrown again and again into a wire fence by said elk (scooping Yaga up in the elk’s massive Axis Mundi antlers)
  • Had a belly full of rat poison. Like, a whole box.
  • Eaten an entire box of rich, dark chocolate truffles (subsequently throwing up on my heating vents, so that when the heat came on, the house first smelled of chocolate, and then of dog vomit).
  • Freed himself from my home many years and many homes ago, somehow opening the door. He found his way to a neighbor’s house, where their children played with him for the better part of an hour alongside the parents, and then suddenly the parents became concerned, and called the police. Yaga did nothing to concern them, mind — he’s the sweetest dog ever. But some weird parent gene kicked in, and the cops came and took dumbass to the SPCA. The SPCA then treated me like an asshole, which was fun for me, because, y’know, I wasn’t tortured enough over losing my dog.
  • Had cancer on his foot.
  • Had Lyme Disease.

None of these really affected him that much, honestly.

Cute Enough To Rot Your Molars

Tai doesn’t like children. Tai doesn’t like other little dogs. Tai doesn’t like old people. (She does, however, like big dogs. Go figure.)

Actually, this isn’t really true anymore — she’s been socialized. But people, quite frequently at parks, have failed to tell their children (or their old people, I guess) that some dogs are not precisely thrilled when jam-handed five-year-olds come careening toward them with outstretched fingers. That, dear parents, is a good way for your children to lose those little fingers. Tai has never bitten anybody, no, and now she endures children without growling at them. Children who ask if they can approach and do so slowly are often given favor. The rest are viewed rightfully with suspicion.

Mister Presidential

Yaga, on the other hand, will let any child near him without concern or fear. They can pull on his tail, they can hang on his ears. They can punch him in the face and shove things up his butt. He will not care. This, to him, is love. Yaga loves love.

Love for Yaga is being up your ass all day. As a shepherd, he is forever concerned for the safety and sanctity of his flock. He’s always with you. Up the steps. Down the steps. Even with the wobble in his hips (he’s coming up on 12, now, the old gent), he’s with you.

This is sweet in theory.

This is annoying in practice.

Still, he’s checking on the herd.

He saved me from a fire, so, I won’t complain.


Tai costs us bank.

We bought her from a pet store in the mall six years ago, when she was but a wee critter in your hand. Yes, I know, that was maybe stupid, pet stores are horrible, they buy from puppy farms, blah blah blah. I get it. Bad move. Didn’t realize it at the time, and even still — it gave us her.

But she ain’t a cheap date.

As she came from such a place, she is rife with health problems. None drastic, but accumulating, these health problems form a small battalion that besieges her body daily. She has allergies that cause her to try to tear her own body asunder (thanks to Atopica, a goddamn miracle drug, which stops said allergy in its tracks). We got an allergy test done on her at one point, and the list they read to us over the voicemail literally took five minutes. She is, as it turns out, allergic to every type of grass on Planet Earth. And, some moon-grasses, too.

She has ear problems, too. And inevitably other issues rise and fall. The wind blows differently, and she needs a trip to the vet. Opposed to Yaga, who you should shoot in the ass with a cannonball and he would remain blissfully unaffected. He loves to go to the vet, actually. That cold metal table that no dog loves? He loves it. It’s like a ride.

We used to have a Doberman who would eat Halls lozenges or Lifesavers.

We used to have a Golden Retriever who would eat rocks and once peed on our Christmas tree.

We used to have a poodle that would get groomed and roll around in chicken shit, and then hump pillows or stuffed animals.

What I’m trying to say is, and this is without any sarcasm at all, dogs are the best.

We will always have dogs.


  • snort

    my old neighbor’s dog Buick had a second tail of weather stripping from the screen door one time. we had to use mcdonald’s napkins i had in my coat pocket as gloves. in public.

  • Great post, Chuck.

    I’m still on my first dog, Clementine, but I count myself lucky that she doesn’t do half the shit that other dogs do, like eat paper towels. Mostly, she likes to lie around.

    She is, however, disobedient. So all dogs got something, I guess.

    • Thank you, sir. Life, as George Carlin said it, is basically a series of dogs. Has been for me, anyway. I remember our earliest dog, though recent photo archives have revealed interim dogs that I barely remember. Even still, life has been an array of canines, and will continue to be that, I’m guessing. Not to get morbid, but I know we don’t have too many more years for the Big Dog, Yaga, which is sad. The death of one’s dog is unlike anything else. I don’t mean to suggest it’s somehow worse than the death of loved ones (er, human loved ones), but it exists on its own axis, is all.

      Clementine, by the way, is a great name for a dog.

      Do you shorten that at all? Clem? Tine?

      — c.

  • She’s Clem. She’s vaguely orange colored and old-fashioned and we just like the name.

    I feel bad for those dogs that get forgotten between other dogs.

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