Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.
– Roger Caras
My dog is a jerk. Now look, I’ll be the first to admit Rufus had a tough start in life, what with Parvo and double pneumonia. He was also kept in isolation during his treatment so he never got to make friends and has difficulty doing that now. I’ll also admit his breed, Pit Bull, can be both energetic and troublesome. But seriously, how much longer can I keep making excuses for him?
You know that feeling you get when you are super excited to do something? You have that level of energy that makes you feel like you could win the gold medal for the decathlon? That excitement you had as a child on Christmas Eve? The exhilaration of taking the first spoonful of your favorite ice cream flavor? Yea, he’s like that…almost all the time.
After hogging most of the bed and covers during the night, he jumps to life very early in the morning. Typically, about three hours before I need to be at work. He hops off the bed, does his morning shake and then comes to my side of the bed and starts staring at me. He doesn’t bark, sniff or cry he just sits a few inches from my face and stares at me. To be honest, it’s pretty creepy and far more jarring than any alarm clock.
I grumble while I get up, trying to explain it is much too early and curse him seven ways from Sunday. I fumble around with my clothes and make my way downstairs. He’ll usually race past me and wait impatiently at the bottom of the stairs while I plod my way down. When I try to explain to Rufus that I need to use the bathroom before we go out, he looks at me blankly. I suspect he is wondering why I simply don’t use the myriad of fire hydrants, street signs or garbage bags in our neighborhood.
Grabbing my coat and trying to take the four steps to his harness and muzzle, while he frantically paces around my legs, is a daily reminder of the Albert Camus’ Myth of Sisyphus. After a terse one way discussion about how he can’t go out without these things, I get him muzzled and harnessed and it’s off to the elevator. The pre-dawn hour means we’ll have an express ride down the eight flights, which is good considering he seldom likes to share the elevator space.
Getting off the elevator and out the front door almost always results in a fear that one day Rufus is going to rip my arm out of its socket. And so our morning sojourn begins.
Williamsburg, Brooklyn is typically loaded with people during the day so these morning walks are a time when we have it all to ourselves. No baby strollers, no skateboarders or bicyclists, no tourists, and thankfully, no terrified looks at seeing Rufus with his muzzle on. It is on these walks we both get the quiet and peace that is so often lost in an urban setting. It makes us both so much more appreciative of what we actually have. More importantly for Rufus, he gets to survey his doggie kingdom, get his scent on and do his business. He transacts a lot of business on these walks; he’s like a four legged hedge fund.
As we walk around the multitude of apartment buildings already here and those under construction, past the hip stores selling over priced dungarees, we’ll occasionally run across a bartender closing their bar after a night of millennials who had consumed too much Pabst Blue Ribbon. After all the detritus has been examined and the signage and garbage bags have been appropriately sniffed and marked, we will make our way home. As we get to our corner, Rufus will usually stop and look back as if to say “Yea, this is going to be a good day.”
We’ll come back upstairs to wrestle and growl at each other for a few minutes while the cats look at us with complete contempt. Eventually, I tell Rufus that I need to start getting ready for work. Trying to explain the concept of work to a dog is like trying to explain the musical importance of Supertramp. As I walk into the bathroom to shower, he’ll sit at the foot of the stairs and look at me as if to say “Come on, call out sick, we’ll hang out”. I simply shake my head and say “I can’t buddy, I have to go to work” and then I close the door and start the shower.
As for Rufus? He doesn’t wait at the door so when I come out we can have a few more minutes of discussion and play time, no no, not him. He goes back upstairs, hops on the bed, burrows under the covers and goes back to sleep.
That is why my dog Rufus is a jerk.
Guest blog post published on Pet Center News.