Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Disguised as Dogs

I'm pretty sure one of my dogs is really a cartoon space alien. I'm also pretty sure one them is really a cat, or perhaps was a cat in a former life, like Shirley MacLaine (and if Shirley hasn't claimed to be a cat in a former life, just give it time), or maybe is a cat driving a big robot dog. Only one of the beasts in this house that looks like what we commonly refer to as a "dog" is really an all-out dog.

Why do I say these things? I'd like to give you some examples. Start with Hubert. Hubert looks like a Great Dane. But he is pretty obviously really a cat. The main clue is that he is the finickiest eating dog I've ever seen. Despite having a mouth bigger than most European cars, Hubert manages to eat his food with a daintiness that would impress Queen Elizabeth. Most dogs, when given something that isn't totally off their "food" list, eat so fast that you wonder if their taste buds aren't actually located in their stomachs, and only after they have swallowed and are licking their chops do you see the occasional quizzical look come over their faces, suggesting that maybe that hunk of broccoli might not have been so tasty after all. Not El Huberto! He somehow manages to operate that gaping maw of his such that any medications hidden in his munchies are left behind, often licked clean of the tastier bits. Then Trish or myself gets to do our lion tamer trick, where we stick our arms down his gullet up to our elbows in order to deposit whatever medication he's on that day. About the only thing that periodically makes me doubt the cat hypothesis is the number of times he manages to injure himself, but that can be explained by the fact that his cat brain doesn't fully understand how to handle his dog body.

I'm convinced that if could communicate the idea to him, he would be completely capable of performing that trick with the cherry stem where you tie it in a knot using only your tongue. There are other clues (like his love of fish), but that will do for now.

At first we thought Marquis was a pig of some sort. He makes the oddest grunting sounds, and like a pig, will eat almost anything. I caught him gnawing on a carrot one day. But he didn't like to root around like pigs and despite his grunting grumbling was actually a bit of a snuggly dog. Then Jacob decided that Marquis was in fact Stitch.

This made a lot of sense. Marquis is much stronger than his size would indicate. He doesn't like to swim, though he does like to wade. He has a somewhat short temper but his bark is far worse than his bite (I don't think he's ever snapped at a person). He is very destructive of his toys. And paper. And cardboard boxes. He makes those odd gruntings, which we now realize aren't grunting at all, but his native alien speech. Granted, he isn't blue and doesn't have six limbs like Stitch, but I'm certain there is a good reason for that. Some sort of disguise, no doubt.

This leaves George. Now George is all dog. He eats anything in front of him, and he eats really, really fast. He is totally in your face, licking away. He will jump up on his hind legs to hug you (especially if you have a white or otherwise nicely clean shirt on). And he's a good 6'2" standing up, so it's an impressive hug. He obsesses over squirrels and birds in the yard. So much so that I'm almost afraid to type the word "squirrel" for fear he will attack the back door. And he manages to get into dog sorts of trouble. You may recall that he was forced to wear a funnel for a while to protect his face while he recovered from a minor operation. Just yesterday I discovered what looked for all the world like a piece of fishing line sticking out of the scar. I think it’s a suture that was missed when they removed them, but who knows? It might really be a piece of fishing line. I've no idea where he could have gotten into it, because we don't have anything like that in the house, but that is exactly the sort of trouble a real dog would get into.


Upon arriving at the vet, we couldn't find the consarned bit of string. But the vet at least said that wasn't unheard of for internal stitches to do that. Disappearing ailments seems like a cat thing to me, but I'm pretty sure that is only an isolated incident.

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