Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Grumpy Old Man

I don't talk about Smokey much. There's no less of a bond with him than the others, but I never really understood him. He's been incorrigible for his 10 years on earth. Where I had behavior problems with his lifelong sworn enemy, Lenny, it was because Lenny was a pure beast. Lenny never realized when he was a bad dog.

But Smokey is a criminal mastermind. His behavior issues seem to be intentional. We've caught him moving the kitchen chairs to get up on the table to get into something, which he's made a career of doing. He's wheeled office chairs across the room and can even rotate them to jump onto a desk. He once ate a tube of diaper cream and pooped blue foam for a week.

He was our first Chihuahua, so I was quite shocked to learn how smart a dog can be, especially if he's determined to eat as much as he can eat, consequences be damned. The wife spent about 6 months practicing her "Can I have a puppy?" speech, complete with her big, blinky doe eyes she would give me. Our marriage was doing great. I couldn't say no.

She quickly lost interest in Smokey because he completely lost interest in her. I did almost all the cooking and virtually all the dropping of the food on the floor, and food is Smokey's passion, so he took to me from the beginning.

My pillow smells like dog, but he's my bro

I didn't want a little dog. I didn't even consider Chihuahuas real dogs. I was a big guy with a big truck, and I wanted a big dog to stick his face out the window and hang his tongue out while I drove. Smokey was too small for that, and he gets anxiety riding in the car.

Most of our relationship was trying to keep him out of trouble and adjust his dinner for the food I knew he was scavenging from somewhere. I've always joked about how I ended up a loving a little dog that won't come to me.

Food is the most important thing in Smokey's life and it dawned on me that I should be using food to manipulate him into being a good dog. When you're sanding an old desk, you go with the grain of the wood. It dawned on me that I was going against the grain. It dawned on me that I was the weak link in the chain.

We've always had the bond. The unconditional love was always there. But now we have understanding:

He can't change that he likes food so much, and I understand that while his love for me isn't defined by food, his love of anything will always be colored by his love of food. Food will always be in the picture. It's just who he is. He's an ass. When he had surgery on his knee, the nurse said "Smokey did good, but you know he's an ass, right?"

Yeah, I know he's an ass, and would probably sell me for a cookie, but I love him anyway. And after 10 years, I'm still trying to make him more comfortable in the truck.

Old man in the sun

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