For the last three weeks I’ve written about dog owners I find mildly terrible — just annoying, really — as if I were decreeing objective truths about owning pets from an earned position of knowledge and influence. Really though, I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about. I’m nobody. Is naming your dog Sushi or adopting a pitbull solely to project that you have a big, strong penis kind of terrible? Yes. Definitely. But who the hell am I to tell anyone that?
Mildly terrible dog owners? That’s me. I am that. Here are some examples.
My dog is incredibly well behaved. He’s 8-years-old. He pretty much always listens when you tell him something, he comes when he’s called, and he doesn’t have accidents. (He sometimes feels the need to pee a little upon entering other people’s homes to mark his territory, but because I know it’s coming it’s easily preventable, and he will stop immediately if yelled at.)
I take great pride in the dog’s behavior. I look down my nose at people with badly behaved dogs.
“Clearly you aren’t responsible enough to own a dog,” I think, lacking literally any context, aware that my opinion of the quality of said dog owner lacks any context, and just going ahead and thinking that anyway.
But here’s the thing. My dog isn’t really my dog. He’s my girlfriend’s dog. I’ve been with her for over three years, and lived with this dog for over two years, but I contributed absolutely nothing to the upbringing and training of this animal. He is not a good boy because of me. Oh sure, he listens to me and comes when I call him, but this is all behavior taught to him by someone other than me.
And still I’m a smug dick about it.
Also, I get my dog groomed and then, like a genius, take him to the dog park a day later. As my freshly shampooed dog is running around like a lunatic and playing with other dogs I start to get pissed off at the other dogs for getting him dirty. I look at some big, lovable, clumsy lab that is playfully knocking my dog into the dirt and slobbering all over him like it’s dumbest living thing on the planet.
What did I expect to happen? Nothing reasonable, apparently.
My dog hates skateboarders. Whenever some kid (or, because I live in Austin, adult) skates by every ounce of the pug’s training, let alone its innate sweetness, leaves it. In the once cuddly pet’s place is a rabid albeit still totally harmless gremlin. He howls and yelps furiously. If he could (and he has tried) he would run out into traffic in his pursuit of these demon boards. So, of course, every time someone skates by I get annoyed and think, “Get a real mode of transportation, you ass.”
But actually, I feel justified in that one.
My dog wants to play almost every night but sometimes I’m tired and would rather spend those twenty minutes laying on the couch, watching TV, and screwing around on my phone. One day the dog is going to die and I am going to regret this. I am acutely aware of that fact every single time I make this choice. I still make this choice.
One time I was walking my dog in my apartment complex’s dog area and there was a tall, unneutered greyhound walking around. It had monstrously huge, dangling balls. The greyhound was tall enough that my dog couldn’t reach up to smell his butt. Instead, my dog smelled the greyhound’s droopy balls. Then he licked that greyhound’s droopy balls.
Then I got annoyed that no one had cut off that greyhound’s balls. You can’t just put balls in front of my dog’s face like that. So inconsiderate.
So there. I am, in fact, the most (mildly) terrible dog owner of all.