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The Other Dog

May 08, 2004
If you’ve been paying close attention you may have realized that Frinklin and myself have more than one dog living in our household. I’ve written about The Jeffrey already, mostly because his personality is SO overwhelming I can’t escape him. Before I tell you about the other dog that owns us, let me give you a Jeffrey update. In case you’re wondering, The Jeffrey has eaten the following this week:

· 1 large couch cushion

· 1 Angels baseball visor

· 1 ”The Rules Do Not Apply To Me” baseball cap (my second place award from Practical Penumbra!)

· 1 ponytail holder

· 1 paper bag from Henry’s market (not quite empty)

· 1 of my favorite socks

Now, onto the real star of this post, a possibly Labrador/Husky mix--Matchbox!

Matchbox was Frinklin’s dog, rescued before he and I met. About 5 or 6 years ago, Frinklin was going through a phase, living in Palm Springs, and went to the local pet store to purchase a companion animal. He was thinking a lizard (in case you didn’t think he was nerdy already, you read that correctly. A lizard. A big one.), but was sidetracked by the pet adoption day going on inside. Matchbox was the last in a litter of puppies that were found on a deserted road in the middle of the desert (redundant!), trying desperately to nurse off their emaciated and dehydrated mother. The abandoned doggie family was rescued and fed, their cigarette burns healed, and they were ready to find new homes. Frinkin was hooked, and he adopted Matches that day.

Little did he know that he was adopting the sickest puppy ever. Matchbox soon was diagnosed with Canine Distemper and Coccidia, both of which can be fatal to dogs. Enventually, Matches recovered, but when he lost all of his puppy teeth, only a few adult molars grew back in.

Most of the time this lack of teeth problem doesn’t seem to bother him. He can eat hard dog food just fine and he doesn’t chew dog treats so much as inhale them, so chewing isn’t really an issue. It does, however, present a couple of challenges for Matches. First, there is the tongue, and coupled with the tongue is the drool. Apparently a dog’s front teeth aren’t really for eating, they exist solely to hold a dog’s tongue inside of his mouth. Matchbox’s tongue sticks out at a jaunty angle, even when he’s sleeping. This provides a perfect highway for any drool searching for a way out of Matchbox’s mouth. It’s not unusual for Frinklin and myself to sit on the floor instead of the couch due to a large puddle of drool that formed under the sleeping Matchbox’s head.

In addition to Matches’ teeth/tongue/drool problem, is the fact that he is afraid of everything. You name it; Matchbox has run from it. It’s not that he wanders around cowering all the time. Quite the opposite. But he has a very set routine, and should any outside factors upset his routine, you will find Matchbox sitting bolt upright on our bed, smashed into the pillows, trembling. Things that can disturb Matches include (but are definitely not limited to): the noise ice makes when it forms in our refrigerator’s ice maker, the voice of our next-door neighbor, cats, hair dryers, flashlights, dog brushes, the computer, ceiling fans, any sort of unexpected noise, and most often, the television.

We have a 36” TV (that we are still paying for, thank you) placed near the door to the backyard. If Matchbox needs to go outside to pee, there are two scenarios we frequently experience:

1. Matchbox barks, asking to be let out. Frinklin or myself opens the door to let Matchbox out. Matchbox checks to makes sure all is clear (TV is off), and goes out.

2. Matchbox barks, asking to be let out. Frinklin or myself opens the door to let Matchbox out. Matchbox checks to make sure all is clear (TV is on), and runs into the other room to escape from the moving pictures! Cue Frinklin following Matchbox into the bedroom, attempting to bribe him out with dog treats, and eventually physically carrying the traumatized dog past the TV and out the door.

What really makes this odd is that he doesn’t notice the TV all the time. Sometimes he’s fine. Other times he freaks out. Lately he’s taken to climbing onto the back of the couch and perching on my shoulders to hide from the moving, speaking box. Other times he’ll drool over a dog toy contentedly while the TV blares in the background. For a dog that values routine, he’s maddeningly inconsistent.

For all his strangeness, Matchbox is part of our weird little family, and it just wouldn’t be home if we didn’t have to carry the dog out every few nights.

10:24 a.m. :: 4 comments so far ::
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