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Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Can this really be the middle of BEDA? Can it? Have I been blogging for fifteen days straight? Have you too?

On this momentous occasion, I feel like I should tell you something about me you might not know—I really like animals. I’m the person who, when visiting someone’s house, will sit and pet their dog or cat for much longer than is really required or desirable. To the point where it crosses over to the point of annoying. I know this about myself, but I can’t really seem to help it. I see the pet, and out goes the hand.

Nice kitty!

And it sometimes backfires terribly. Like yesterday.

It has been unseasonably cold and rainy in New York City the last week or so. I was out walking through the rain, and I heard this . . .

“Bermuda! No!”

Bermuda was a dog, extremely small, entirely composed of silky, jet-black, perfectly groomed hair that looked like one of the Supreme’s wigs burst to glorious life. It was wearing a tiny pink jacket made of wool and leather, with a bejeweled, stylized skull and crossbones on the back. It was a shocking bit of doggie couture. It said: “I’m well cared for. It’s entirely possible that I have a better health insurance plan than you. And I may be a pirate.”

She (I decided Bermuda was a she) was at the end of a leash studded with tiny crystals, which lead to an exceptionally maintained woman who was anywhere between fifty and a hundred. The three of us had stopped at Central Park West and 78th and were waiting to cross the street. There was a dead bird on the corner, and Bermuda had taken an interest in it. The woman was trying to reel her back.

I stopped at the corner even though I didn’t need to cross the street. I am not above pausing to make a little doggie contact. I like dogs.

I don’t own a dog, because my apartment is too unaccommodating and I don’t want to schedule my life around walks. So I use other people’s dogs as pretend pets. I pat them. I play with them. I watch them padding along and feel my heart swell as if they are mine. There are plenty of us canine Humbert Humberts around New York, lingering leashless by the Union Square dog run and going into the Petco with no obvious agenda and milling by the squeaky bones. It’s not just me.

I met Bermuda’s eyes, which glistened from under a mustache of overly long dog eyebrows that still bore clear evidence of a curling iron.

“Your dog is adorable,” I said to the woman.

“You can pet her,” she said. “She loves people.”

It was all the invitation I needed.

Bermuda stood up on her back legs and balanced against my calf. I was flattered. Sure, Bermuda probably did that to everyone—barista and hedge fund manager and sexual predator and celebrity DJ alike. But it felt personal to me, because I am a little pathological when it comes to these things. In some part of my brain, I believed Bermuda and I had something special.

This delusion was reinforced when the woman said, “Oh, she really likes you!”

I needed no further prompting. I reached down and sank my hand into Bermuda’s luxurious coat. She was all hair. I didn’t feel any dog down at the center connecting it all up.

“Roos a rittle piwate?” I asked. “Roos a scallywaggy piwate?”

From the way Bermuda was hopping around, she wanted me to know that she was a she was scallywaggy piwate. She strutted and wound herself in her own leash in excitement, and then, Bermuda sank her teeth into my gloved hand and bit down. Hard.

A normal person would have taken hold of this uppity little mop and extracted their hand from the tiny jaws—or at least they would have mentioned what was going on so Bermuda could be admonished for this unacceptable behavior. For some reason, though, I didn’t want Bermuda’s owner to know that her dog was treating my hand this way. I wanted to keep it a secret. I could get out of this on my own.

“Where did you get the jacket?” I asked, not listening to the answer, which was friendly and overly long and detailed. Meanwhile, I wiggled my hand, working it like a dud key with a snaggled tooth that was stuck in a lock. Bermuda joyfully clamped down in response to my efforts. My hand was like a delicious pig’s ear or some kind of organic hemp chew toy. I had been reduced to the level of a snack.

The light changed, and the woman gave the leash a tiny tug toward the street. Even though that wasn’t my intended path, I went along with them anyway, crouched down with my hand still firmly attached to Bermuda’s jaw.

Once we had crossed, we headed south. I continued along, trying to make it appear that it was just a wonderful coincidence that we were going the same way, and yes, I liked to stoop. The woman had exhausted things to say about the jacket, so I moved on to questions about Bermuda’s breed.

“You really seem to like her,” the woman said.

“She’s adorable,” I replied.

The time had come for pulling. No more subtle gestures. I yanked as hard as I could, not worrying about glove or hand damage. Bermuda responded gamely. Our power struggle may have become obvious at this point, but I choose to believe that the woman didn’t notice the moment I came free and reeled backwards.

We were almost to Columbus Avenue. I was blocks off course. Naturally, I couldn’t just turn around and go back the way I’d come, so I continued to the corner, and then went into a deli, as if that had been my plan all along. I killed a few moments looking at the canned goods until I was sure they were out of sight before hurrying back in the other direction.

I like to think that this will never happen again, but that would be foolish. The next Bermuda will come along, and I’ll reach blindly, and the jaws will open to accept my offering.

I really like dogs.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

did you peck out this post with one hand? ouch!

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anna said...

I do the exact same thing. As soon as I'm in the door I'm hunting down the animals. Sometimes they're better than the owners themselves.

1:53 PM  
Blogger LaBelleRiviere said...

It is a good thing that you like animals so much that you would tolerate that dog biting you. If that were me, I would have said (In a wacky haitian accent even though I don't have one) Ay, Madame, your dog is biting my hand. You take wahn more step end I going to pwess charges!

6:53 PM  
Anonymous Christine B said...

Me too! I can't have a dog of my own so I'm really enthralled by other people's dogs. I like to go to the dog park and just sit and watch the dogs. Thats not weird, right?

8:33 PM  
Blogger Nicholas said...

I really like dogs as well.
Isn't it peculiar that most of the time the smaller the dog, the more vicious? Maybe it's nature's way of balance or an ingenious trick of evolution, but if an Irish Wolf Hound would have bitten down like that...

9:34 PM  
Blogger Kimmy123 said...

LOL! I bet this is the sort of thing that would happen to me, I'm way to old for it but I know that I'd still be kidnappable with a cute enough dog to lure me...

11:24 PM  
Blogger Nadia Murti said...

That sounds mildy painful!

I like animals...they just don't like me.


1:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What advice would you have for someone who say...is a bit indecisive about her Junior Prom? and has to put the tickets in like...maybe tomorrow...or else? (Tickets are $80.) Thanks!

Hope & Cheer,
Karma <3

2:33 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Hee hee. Your story amuses me, although it is very wrong to laugh at someone else's pain.

Problem/Question: I am a Democrat and proud of it. Today, my entire class of very conservative people found that fact out and have decided to make fun of me. I'm not at all offended by their stupid comments, but I need a SNAPPY COMEBACK! Any advice?

3:10 AM  
Anonymous Elizabeth said...

I love dogs, but... I think you have a problem.

5:45 AM  
Blogger kalimagination said...

I love dogs, too :)
Anytime I'm out and about, and I see a dog of any kind, I squeal "Oh, look at the cute puppy!" Even when I'm alone and/or within earshot of the owner. I get funny looks sometimes.

7:30 AM  
Blogger Miss May said...

Haha, I'm usually alright with dogs and stuff. Because I work in a vet surgery, it's sort of like I fulfill my quota of cuteness without needing to molest random's dogs :P

9:37 AM  
Blogger Diana Peterfreund said...

I used to be JUST like this. I'd mill around molesting other people's dogs if they gave me the slightest chance. I should have been put on some kind of watch list.

Then I got my own, my sin, my soul, my Rio. She now takes the brunt of my doggie-love. You can come over and bother her any time you'd like. She loves having her tummy rubbed.

(word verification: abonemar. That can't be a coincidence!)

6:50 PM  
Blogger Celesi said...

Do you like cats? Both of mine will cuddle up to anyone new in the house, purring, baring their stomachs, and begging with their big, round eyes, "Please won't you take us away from these horrible people? They don't pet us 24/7. Surely you will!"

The reaction from there varies from person to person.

10:42 PM  
Blogger simplywhitney said...

come to my work!
i work at a dog kennel - i hang out with dogs all day!
it's pretty much the best job ever.

3:34 AM  

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