On Being an Idiot

We all have our moments when we feel like idiots, at least I hope we do, otherwise I must be one lonely species. I usually feel like an idiot when I am caught off-guard and don’t respond as I later realise I would have liked to respond. Puppy does make me feel like an idiot, given how unprepared I was when we first opened our door to her. Quite frankly, I hope that deep down she feels like an idiot too. I am almost sure that on a couple of occasions so far she really has felt like one.

The first time was when I had a crazy impulse (I don’t know what got into me!) to play with her with a tennis ball. (I am out of my minds, I know) I bounced the ball in the garden so she could go after it and she completely missed it. I mean she jumped right next to it, biting the air. Embarrassing, to say the least. So she immediately pretended like she had had no interest in the ball to begin with, and then left the scene of the crime to mind her own puppy business. She wouldn’t even answer when I called her. Poor Puppy…

The second idiocy instant I am ready to guarantee she was fully aware of was one night when my husband was vigorously petting her and in all the excitement, she slid off her feet and onto her bum. Crazy Puppy! I still laugh when I think about it. She saved face pretty well, I have to admit, and most likely completely forgot about it as soon as she was back up.

Even more recently, Puppy had a sliding incident. We were upstairs and a shameless delivery guy had the nerve to ring our doorbell. She ran downstairs to better bark at him, but missed a step and slid all the way down into Kid 1’s bike, which obviously fell over. After a squeak, she went to the door, and then to her usual hiding place (i.e. the place I hide her when even more shameless delivery people come by. It’s a room, not a closet, in case you had animal cruelty images in mind.). It was only a little later that we noticed she was limping. She refused to go out or move away from her pillow downstairs. After a few hours, I managed to drag her out across the street, thinking she might be interested in doing her business. She wasn’t. What’s more, she was not moving from the grass anymore. While normally the command “up” would trigger the expected response of her getting up from her bum, this time it triggered the exact opposite: she would lie down as soon as I said “up”. I set her loose, bribed her with cookies, promised eternal happiness, nothing worked. I was there for almost an hour trying to get her to move. Other dogs only made her lift her head. Her usual human nemesis, i.e. this lady I’ve never even talked to and in whose existence Puppy seems to take great offence, had no effect on her. Who do you think felt like an idiot now? I was starting to think I had no option but to carry her in. Have I ever mentioned that she came to us overweight? I know we’re not to discuss a lady’s weight, but she’s a substantial dog. She weighs slightly more than Kid 1 and 2 put together, and I can’t lift both of them at the same time. How was I going to carry her home? In my despair to not have to be an even bigger idiot, and who knows, drop her in the middle of the street, I came up with a final trick: a squeaky toy. And hooray, it worked. She limped her way across the street and into the house, dragged herself into the garden, and stayed there until it started raining a few hours later.

I am not sure why, but she played the victim much more with me than she did with my husband. That got me thinking. Is it because she sees me as the bigger idiot of the two? Is it because she has noticed that I am the one in the care-taking role in our house? Is it because she considers my husband the pack leader who needs to see her as fit enough to be allowed in the pack? But what does that make me then?! Relationships and status are so much more simple in the animal world, they’re also natural and serve a purpose. And somehow, I can’t help but feel offended if anyone tries to fit me into those kinds of roles. I am not, and have never been, just one thing. I am eclectic, and so are my tastes and interests and dreams. I may be the bigger idiot in the house, but I am a multifaceted idiot. And Puppy had better realise that!

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