That being the case, an understandable query would be this: Why have we spent the last nine-and-a-half years, since they were seven weeks old, in the company of these two horrible monsters.
The black one is Chloe. She is spoiled and stuck up.
The yellow one is Max. He is spoiled and stupid.
They have spent every second of their lives together, including in the womb: They are brother and sister. That’s why we sometimes refer to them as “The Twins”, which, given their differing color, size and demeanor, takes people aback. I wanted to name them “Fred and Ethel”, but, being European and having no familiarity with The Honeymooners, Alice wasn’t enthusiastic. “How about ‘Fred and Ginger’?” I offered helpfully.
“That’s not helpful,” she observed.
I realized that we might be in dangerous waters when I recalled how my friend’s dog acquired the moniker “Pot Roast”. It seems he yelled to his wife in the kitchen, “What do you want to name the dog?” His wife, thinking he had asked, “What are we having for dinner?” yelled back, “Pot Roast”. Having previously settled back with an after-work brewski and a doobie (this was the 80′s), my friend considered this suggestion, deemed it a fine idea and, from that moment, their little ankle-biter of a pooch was named “Pot Roast”.
These things can happen if you’re not careful.
So I decided that it was unproductive (to put it charitably) for me to continue down the list of my carefully crafted suggestions for the furry duo – ”Franks and Beans”; “Hyde and Sikh”; “Tuck and Roll”; “Bored and Stroked”; “Rock and Roll”; “Bangers and Mash” – and, instead, accede to the inevitable: “Anything you want is fine by me…”
Consequently: “Chloe” and “Max”, which I like. It was only later than we learned that “Max” is far and away the most popular name for a male dog, number one with a bullet. It’s sort of like the old joke about China where it is pointed out that if you’re a one in a million kind of guy, there are a thousand more just like you.
So “Max” it is, and it seems to fit, and Chloe for the girl, elegant and a bit dainty, which she sometimes is but usually is not. We live our lives together, the four of us, and we’ve worked things out, and it is good, but, arguably, not quite as it seems or, arguably, as it should be:
I say above that we have spent this time “in the company” of these… dogs. Actually, it is more than that, much more, akin to a kind of reverse Stockholm Syndrome where the captors (owners) become stupified by and held hostage to the captees, eventually acceding abjectly to their every whim.
This, of course, is my wife’s fault. She has an uncanny ability to know what they “want” at any given moment. “Max wants to go to the beach.”
He does? Of course he does. He always wants to go to the beach. There’s never a time that he doesn’t want that. Same with Chloe.
“Max is depressed”.
Really? And we know that how?
If it were up to me, I would have spent considerably less than the one bazillion dollars on health care for them– more lavish than any ten human beings could reasonably expect. Oh, and by the way, this is not to discount the pitiable reimbursements we get from their health insurance policy purchased from a ring of bandits purveying “Pet Insurance” that my wife was thrilled to seize upon when she became aware of them. After all, why wait until they actually need attention before propelling wads of cash towards their general welfare, perhaps as a karmic wedge against the real visitation of a canine malady.
[As I was writing the above paragraph my wife snuck up on me and read it over my shoulder."We have made back every penny we spent on their health insurance", was what first alerted me to her presence."Every penny. I don't know what you're complaining about."]
True, no doubt. But also true is this: It became clear to me that we weren’t going anywhere for longer than ten days without the dogs. We could talk about doing that, and plan it and even on occasion attempt it– but it wasn’t going to happen. That’s why, a few years ago, I bought a small RV, just big enough for me and Alice… and the two dogs. That way we can go and not have to come back after ten days to check on the dogs, because the dogs are with us. Or, perhaps more accurately, we with them.
This works well for travels around the US and Canada, but less well when an ocean must be crossed. So we bought airline travel cages, airline tickets for them (you don’t want to know the price, any more than I did), and we are taking them with us to Europe. In anticipation, Alice has been teaching them the basic dog commands in French.
Just in case.
They are ours, we love them, and they have brought great pleasure and joy to us, and even a kind of love.
I agree with Will Rogers, who said:
“They say dogs don’t go to heaven. In that case, when I die, I want to go to wherever it is that dogs go…”
For now, where they’re going, is with us. To Europe.
Heaven help us.
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N E X T : Why?