We're back in Buffalo at Ken's and will be dogsitting his dog Cosby for a week.
I'm not good with dog etiquette. We'd dogsit for Cosby sometimes in Brooklyn. I hated those moments when you're walking your dog, minding your own business but every time you pass someone with a dog you're required to stop, let them sniff each other while you, the owners, talk all things dog.
"He's so cute. What kind of dog is he?"
"I don't know," I'd say at first, because I didn't. He's not my dog. I got the gas face and the other dog and owner were suddenly off.
Or I'd make the mistake of mentioning that I was just dogsitting. Same gas face. Same walk off.
After some time, I began to learn the rules of this game. You meet, say hi, determine if the dogs are friendly. Cosby most definitely is, but sometimes, he'd get a bit aggressive. And people are very protective of their dogs. Sort of like the moms on the playground. They'd get so upset if your little one pushed too hard with theirs.
People, wanted to shout, they're dogs! DOGS!
After a while, I began to get nervous when I'd see other dogs approaching because I never knew when there would be a fight. I hated that moment, almost as much as the one that followed.
Once you determined that the dogs were indeed friendly and were also actually interested in getting to know each other better, perhaps to one day become neighborhood friends and invite each other to birthday parties and park dates, they'd sniff each other while we owners enjoyed some chat time discussing how adorable each dog is. How fluffy. What kind is he? Or perhaps we'd tell a little story.
I never got the hang of it. My dog chit chat never lasted longer than a few minutes and always ended up with the tell tale nose in air, walk away. Most of the time, I had no idea what I'd done wrong.
Today, while walking Cosby, I had some similar feeling. We met Baby and her owner, who for all I know has and never has had a name of her own. Baby's a puppy, very cute, lots of energy and jumps on people. Cosby is old, has allergies all over and is currently on medication that gives him bad diarrhea if he eats anything other than rice and edamame.
Sharing this is not winning dog conversation.
Still I persevered. What kind of dog is he? He's part Chow, part Labrador, a chowbrador, if you will." Believe it or not, this merited a smille and a chuckle.
A bit later, a mail main stopped me to ask what happened to his leg. Cosby's back leg is wrapped in a little blue bandage. "Allergies," I told the guy. "He gets them badly and bites until he bleeds." Oddly, the man did not walk away.
Next thing I know, I'm invovled in a conversation about dogs and their allergies and what to do for them. "Because, you know, you really can't do anything for them. They're just miserable."
"You can give them benedryl," he suggested "but then they're just knocked out." That's what happened to his Rottweiller.
I have never given a dog allergy medication, although I do remember my childhood dog Sadie going nuts, breathing heavily and all around going crazy with her fur sticking up like an angry cat. The vet cried allergy, but I have no idea how my parents handled it.
I'm not really even sure if Cosby has them. I just remember Ken saying something about this at some point.
Truth be told, I'm not much of a dog person anymore. They're stinky. Messy. slobbery and have to be walked. Worst part of walking, without a doubt is picking up their poop in little plastic bags. It ruins any walk. Permanently. From the time I'm forced to lean over and grasp whatever little or large nuggets squeeze out from the dog, I simply cannot remove the look of disgust from my face. At least not until I find a place to dispose of the baggie, which is usually when I get back home.
I have this fear of people running out of their houses screaming bloody murder as I trespass on their property to dump, well, dog dump in their garbage cans. I was traumatized by a sign left on the garbage can near our old building in Brooklyn. "If you leave your bags of dogshit in my garbage cans, I will find you and make you eat it."
Lovely. Just lovely.
This is also a reason I don't just leave the poop on the ground. I suspect there are homeowners everywhere with nothing better to do than peer out their windows watching and waiting for me to leave poop surprise on their lawns. They'll then fly down in an unholy rage and punish me, somehow. Cosby, I'd guess, does not have the energy or stamina to protect me in such a case.
It also just seems like something that should never be done in a civilized world.
I'm not proud of my non-dogpersonhood. I used to love them. As a kid, I used to climb into Sadie's doghouse, ramble through the woods with her, even put her ears in fluffy pony tail holders to match mine. She was awesome and very patient.
So I'm not sure how between there and here, I stopped liking dogs. I don't hate them. I just don't have any desire to have one living life indoors with me. Or stop and play with them on the street. Or compliment strangers on their dogs winning personalities.
Does that make me a bad person?