Excerpt from Best Dog Ever:
Chewy was, for the most part, very obedient. I would take him jogging with me and after a few times of lettng him run amok on the retractable leash and almost killing me, I decided to short leash him and demand he only run along the right side of me. He was no longer to be in control of running in front of me or stopping to sniff every blade of grass. He was not allowed to bark at other dogs we met along the path or stop every two feet to pee.
This could potentially be the reason why every time I laced up my running shoes, he would hide under the bed. I had to hide his harness behind my back in order to grab him. He would go into convulsions just putting the thing over his head. But, out on the road he was a perfect canine gentleman. It’s good to be in control, right? I am the boss, you are just a dog. I command, you obey.
During these runs, I would always be pulling him along, he, constantly lagging behind until we reached our turn-around point. Once we started heading back, I could barely keep up with him. He was determined to get back as quickly as possible. He also knew a treat awaited him in the car.
On sunny summer mornings, the sun streams in the glass that surrounds our front door. Chewy would stand in front of the door and wait patiently until we opened it for him so he could lie on the porch in one of his many beds. If the bed wasn’t there, he would just stand and look at you, again waiting patiently while you found one and placed it on the porch in the prime, sun-soaked area. Once the bed was in place, he would climb in and with head on the rim, snuggle in facing the sun and close his eyes. The only things missing were a smoking jacket with his initials, smoldering pipe, and appropriate name change to Chewert Barkerson or the bumptious equivalent.
Once the sun left the porch, you were expected to keep moving the bed to the next sunniest spot, most likely with sahib Chewy visions of Pete fanning him with a palm frond while I fed him kibble.
I used to make Chewy’s dog food, wanting him to be as healthy as possible so he would live to the ripe old age of 102 in people years so I would not have to suffer the loss. It was quite the ordeal. Very time-consuming and messy. Brown the ground turkey, add eggs and oatmeal, maybe some fish oil. Make brown rice. Steam a large mixture of veggies. Chop up veggies. Lay out bits of wax paper on every available service. Measure out each item and place on wax paper. Fold up the individual meals. Place in baggies. Repeat. Wash a shit-load of dishes. Wallow in self-congratulating thoughts while wiping brow.
I quickly found out the ingredients that were not to be consumed. He would extract every piece of carrot and place them on the floor near his dish, which was located in the utility room just off of the kitchen. I believe he referred to this as his dining room. Once you placed his dish on the floor, you were to exit, preferable with a bow. If this exit did not happen in a timely manner, he would just stare at you until you got the message.
At first we would pick up the carrots and just toss them. Then we thought, no! We are the boss, remember? You need to ear your carrots! So, we would place them back in his bowl only for him to remove them again, but this time, place them all over the kitchen and down the hall. Next batch, we began chopping them up into much smaller pieces. They were no longer removed, but expertly pushed off to the side. The battlle continued for the next few batches until finally they began to lack anything orange. We always assumed we were in control of our lowly dog, but turns out...not so much.
Best Dog Ever (paperback) (excerpt inside)
This is in memory of our family dog of 14 years originally made for my husband but thought I would put it on here, as well.