Friday, October 5, 2007


Starr Ann brought home a puppy. He isn't very cute.

In fact, his appearance is a little disconcerting. Starr Ann found him by the side of the trail, eating something dead and apparently delicious. She came riding up to our house on Oatmeal, not holding the reigns so she'd have both hands free to support the pup. The little thing was all nestled in Starr Ann's cleavage and when she dismounted, he stirred enough for me to see his little face. When he looked at me, I felt like I was being judged - harshly.

Starr Ann put him down in the grass, in case he wanted to pee, but he declined and asked to be put back between her breasts.

You expect a baby puppy like that to be all wiggly and cuddly and ingratiating. Not this one. His manner's pretty indifferent. More than that, really, kinda cold and calculating, actually. We're calling him Bates, short for Norman Bates.

He's not interested in any of the toys I went out and bought. Well, he's interested, but not in playing with them. He stockpiled them in and around the plush puppy bed I got for him and now we are not allowed near either the bed or the toys. He has been crystal clear about that.

So, last night he demanded to sleep in Starr Ann's bed, because that's where her cleavage sleeps. He must have made her let him down at some point, though, since around two o'clock, a horrific odor woke me and when I got up, my left foot slid right into a halfway warm pile of dogshit. The whole time I was washing it from between my toes I kept trying not to realize that this was no regular dogpoopy produced from dog food. No, my toes were smeared with the droppings of a dog that had recently eaten a carcass. When I finally got cleaned up and had poured enough alcohol on my foot, I looked around for Bates, but he must have gone back to Starr Ann.

This morning, I took the little thing over to the vet's my own self, because no way will Starr Ann go anywhere near an animal being inoculated. She can't take it.

Our neighbor Randy Sneed was there at the vet with his Standard Poodle, Roxie. When I turned around from checking in at the desk, there was Randy, looking all proud of Roxie, who really is a beautiful dog. Randy takes one look at Bates and says, "What is it?"

"A puppy, what do you think?" I tried not to sound too defensive.

Randy got this smirk on his face and sat up a little straighter in his chair, as if the owner of a fine dog like his Roxie really has an obligation to display good posture at all times. At least, that's how I took it.

Bates and I sat as far away from Randy as we could, but when I put Bates on the floor, he walked right over to Roxie, squared his tiny shoulders, and stared her down with his best Anthony Perkins grin. I mean, that 85 pounds of Roxie muscle crawled right underneath Randy's chair. Then Bates moved in closer and peed on one of the chair legs. Everything else about the visit was fairly routine.

Starr Ann could not wait to get her hands on Bates when we got home. He was all floppy from the excitement and that alarmed Starr Ann, but I told her they said he might get a tiny fever and be lethargic for the rest of the day.

She said, "So, we basically took him to the vet and had him mildly poisoned?"

I hadn't thought of it that way.

Bates has eaten well, and is still growling at us if we get near his things, so we feel like he's doing just fine, but we're keeping a close guard over him anyway. Can't be too careful, we figure. Starr Ann's going to take the first watch tonight and she'll wake me up for the second. We decided it's a good idea to make sure he breathes okay and everything until tomorrow.

So...anyway...we have a new puppy!