Toby the Terrier Meets a Monster!
A Dog Story, Told from the Dog's Point of View . . .
And now for something completely different! Let’s take a break from all the clownworld corruption and do something lighthearted and (hopefully) funny: a dog story, told from the dog’s point of view.
Learning to Understand “Dog”
¡Hola, mis bichos raros! For you non-Spanish speakers, that means, What up, my fellow weirdos! I’m trying (for only about the 20th time) to learn Spanish. So far, it’s been going well. I’ve gotten proficient enough to order an entire meal, by myself, without an interpreter, at Taco Bell. But Spanish isn’t the only language I’m currently mastering. I am also channeling my inner Dr. Doolittle/Cesar Milan/Dog Whisperer and learning to speak Dog.
I’ve got two dogs in my household helping me develop my canine communication skills: Maxine the Beagle and Toby the Terrier. Long-time readers may remember that when Toby was a puppy, he had a phase during which he identified as a trans cat1 and demanded to use the cats’ bathroom (a.k.a., the litter box). Fortunately, he outgrew this “species dysphoria,” and now he is a very happy and well-adjusted dog. He loves chasing squirrels, smelling other dogs’ anuses, pissing on every mailbox post in the neighborhood, and doing other dogly things.
Speaking of pissing on mailbox posts, this is an extremely important aspect of dog communication. Mailbox posts are basically the dog version of Twitter (or Notes): it’s their platform for exchanging short-form messages about what’s going on in their world. (I guess this is similar to the tendency of some adolescent boys to write and illustrate graphic poetry on the walls of public latrines.)
After seeing thousands of these messages from one dog to another, I’ve begun to recognize patterns, and this has allowed me to learn several Dog words and phrases, as well as recognize the general rules of Dog grammar. The actual content of dogs’ communication is mostly what you’d expect, given that dogs are, essentially, retarded wolves (all that “agreeableness” comes at the expense of intelligence and creativity). They have entire conversations that go like this:
Maxine the Beagle: I like to eat.
Toby the Terrier: Me too! I like to eat too!
Maxine: Not as much as I like to eat!
Toby: Oh yeah?! I can eat more than you!
Maxine: Nuh uh. I can eat a whole cow!
Toby: Well, I can eat a whole cow, plus another whole cow!
Maxine: No way!
Toby: Yes way! Hey, do you want to smell my butt?
Maxine: Hell yeah! And then you can smell my butt!
Toby: Oh yeah! I love smelling your butt!
Maxine: Not as much as I love smelling your butt!
Toby: Shut up and smell my butt! Hey! What if we both smell each other’s butts . . . AT THE SAME TIME?!!!
Maxine: Whoa! That would be amazing! Stick your nose next to my butt, and then I’ll stick my nose next to your butt, and then we’ll both be butt sniffers — TOGETHER!
And so on, for hours on end. Dogs love eating and butt-sniffing, and they love talking about eating and butt-sniffing. I estimate that my dogs spend 90% of their waking hours eating, butt-sniffing, and talking about eating and butt-sniffing. Dogs are nasty.
Dogs also love to exaggerate, and their stories get more outlandish and incredible with every retelling. The other day, Toby was talking to the neighbor’s dog through the fence, and I heard him mention that he had seen a vicious monster prowling around the neighborhood. I stopped to listen and was quickly drawn in. The story was quite heartwarming and endearing, so I’ll share it exactly as Toby related it to the other dog.
Note: in this story, whenever Toby refers to “the Pack Leader,” he’s talking about me. That’s what he and Maxine the Beagle call me.