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Maybe he misses Manhattan

wiener in winter

The wiener in winter – NYC, Dec. 12, 2008

There are two dogs under me on the sofa. I’m sitting on them because they wouldn’t move when I tried to sit down and — wait — the wiener just moved. Now he’s at my elbow, jerking his head around and licking the air.

Internets, I do not know why he licks the air. He licks the air, sways his head around, whimpers, licks the air some more, licks my arm for a little while, licks the sofa pillows for a little while, and then, exhausted, he collapses. When he’s finally quieted, if I show him any interest at all, if I even so much as glance at him from the corner of my eye, his head snaps up and he continues, frantic in his efforts to lick my arm, then the sofa pillows, then the air, for as long as wienerly possible. It’s not cute. It’s awful. It amuses house guests, but only until it goes on for so long that they begin to worry about his well-being. The other night he licked a sofa pillow for over thirty minutes. It was so soaked full of dog spit it felt like someone pissed on it.

I recently praised Theo online for being officially house-trained after four years of exhaustive work and now that we’ve got that under control, I feel the need to address his obsessive-compulsive licking.

You may not know this, but one of his nick-names is Lightning Fast Poo Tongue. He’s recently gone back to eating Valentine’s poop as soon as he can snatch it from her bum. (We thought we had that under control – HA! Who’s the dumbass now?) He will eat a large turd on our morning walk and afterward, if I do not pay careful attention to where his tongue is in relation to my whereabouts, there will be a poo-tongue smacking the inside of my eyeball before I can say “What the.”

You guys, I could get a BRAIN INFECTION. And I would have to tell the doctor it was because I got poo in my eye.

Why oh why does my wiener dog compulsively lick the air and/or surrounding objects while swaying his head and whining? Why do I have  a raw spot on my forearm where all the hair has been licked off? Why are the sofa pillows always damp? Is it anxiety? Is it a medical condition? Is he trying to tell me something? Am I somehow failing in my attempt to display appropriate dominance? WHAT WOULD CESAR DO?

Please help me. Don’t help me. Forget me. Help Theo. Help the little wiener. (I’m begging you.)

P.S. Valentine is still sitting under me. She’s bonier than you’d think.

This is my third Just Write. Join us!

Four Years of Wiener Jokes

Mike and his wiener in 2007

Mike and his wiener, NYC, February 2008

Last Wednesday was the fourth anniversary of Theo’s adoption. I unearthed this email, sent to Dopey less than a week after we’d brought him home, and oh! the memories that flooded in…

We did adopt little Theo and he is fitting in beautifully. I was worried it would be over-crowded with another little furry body in the house, but it’s not at all. He’s very sweet and mellow and the cats act like they don’t even notice him. And Val is really warming up to him. She lays on her back and nibbles his paws trying to get him to play with her. He sniffs her and then curls up on my lap or Mike’s lap – which ever lap is closest. Then she comes over and sniffs him and curls up on top of him. It’s cute.

When we first brought him home, he did not bark, he did not play, he did not sniff trees or chase cats. Rescued from a puppy mill where he lived his entire life in a chicken-wire box, he did not know how to be a dog. However, he did know how to eat a bowl of dog food in less than fifteen seconds, puke it all up, then eat it a second time. That was lovely. He also knew how to mark which dog bed was his – by pissing all over it. And he knew how to take a giant dump in our bed. (Though, to be perfectly fair, he only did that the very first night we had him home.)

It’s been remarkable, watching him bloom over the last four years. Where once he was a silent shadow who shuffled along with his head hanging low, now he bounds through our home with confidence, leaping in happy circles and howling with joy. This year he started playing with toys. I was shocked the first time I saw him wrestling one of the plush squeaky toys Valentine loves, but now it’s a daily activity. In July, he initiated a game of fetch with me, for the first time ever. I was so startled and so happy I cried. But the biggest accomplishment of all? Our little wiener is finally, FINALLY, after FOUR YEARS, finally house-trained.

hairy wiener

Bravo, Theo. Bravo. A very happy (belated) adoption day to my favorite hairy wiener.

Do you think they want something?

waiting for breakfast

Theo, Smellmutt, and Valentine. Their expressions clearly say, “Where the food at, human thing?”

This Post Has Nothing To Do With Bolivia

Everything about today is frustrating. Irritating, annoying, anxiety-producing. I think it has something to do with the fact that I started my period today. Or else it’s because it’s Wednesday and I’ve already had it up to HERE with everything. Or it’s because I haven’t exercised in an entire week (if you don’t count the 45 minutes of yoga I squeezed in yesterday.) Of course it could have something to do with the fact that I feel like all I ever do is work work work work work work work work work and yet there is always more more more more more more more more more more work to do. And by work I don’t just mean paid work, I mean laundry and dishes and bills and dog walks and vacuuming and shaving my legs and everything. Life just feels so dreadfully exhausting sometimes.

Yes, I know, these are first world problems. I’m lucky. I have a job. I chose to have four pets. Blah blah. But for once I’d just like to have one. week. of nothing. One week where I could just … rest. Without feeling guilty. Without email. Without nagging phone calls. Without knowing that at the end of the week I’ll have to pay for my rest in the pile of emails/bills/laundry/dog hair. Is that really too much to ask? Apparently it is.

No, Bolivia didn’t count as a restful vacation. There was too much hiking and not enough eating. Literally. We were hungry most of the time. At least I was.

In other news, Valentine FINALLY got her bandage off on Monday afternoon. Remember when I said her injury was minor? I’ve changed my mind about that. When an injury requires FIVE doctor visits, two rounds of anti-biotics, and two rounds of pain medication, it is not minor. But, as of Monday, she’s been declared mostly well. No more bandage, no more meds. She has to wear the lampshade hat for another five days and she can’t have a bath for another week, which is horrible because she smells so awful even I can barely stand to be around her (and I usually really like her stink-doggy smell) but other than that, she’s doing very well.

V-dawg

She’s totally over the lampshade hat.

Michael has spent all this week crashing classes at our local junior college, trying with all his might to cobble together a full load for the semester. Did I ever tell you about the time he went to sign up for classes on his assigned registration day and he discovered that every. single. class at the school was already full? And the wait lists were full too? This is due to the fact that we’ve cut our budgets for school, so the schools don’t have any classes, even though there are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of students needing classes. Welcome to education budget cuts! Cheers for the legislature and government and yadda yadda! So glad we’re not raising taxes. Budget cuts makes SO MUCH MORE SENSE. I mean, what the fuck is education anyway? Like that bullshit is important.

waiting

Mike texted me this photo of HALF of the line of people waiting to get added to Anatomy yesterday. The head of the department was there and told the waiting people, “Hey! This isn’t bad! There’s not so many of you.” That isn’t bad? No, no, I guess it isn’t bad. IT IS FUCKING APPALLING. Fortunately, by some sort of miracle, Mike’s name was one of the four names the teacher pulled from her purse (she didn’t have a hat, so she put everyone’s name IN HER PURSE) and so he will most likely be able to add. He’s also managed to get into Spanish II. That’s two classes for the semester. Out of six he has crashed. Which is good, you know I don’t want to complain or anything, even though at this rate it will take him four years to get through a two year program. But whatever. It’s not like there’s a job market anyway.

Do you see? I’ve had it up to HERE with EVERYTHING.

The good news (for me) is that I’ve actually stopped feeling all self-conscious about my Bolivia posts and have begun to really enjoy writing them. When I have time to write them. They take FOREVER. I am so long-winded, I know. I go on and on. But the fact that you read my ramblings at all means a lot to me. I swear, sometimes I feel like y’all are the best thing I have going for me. And of course, my husband. And my family. And these guys:

ridiculously cute

TAKE A PICTURE OF ME! says the wiener.

Yeah, all right, so life isn’t that bad. Whatever.

Little F***ers

something aint right

Somethin ain’t right

Look closely. Does anything seem out of order to you? I mean, besides the giant backpacks and the briefcase on the sofa. And all the crap all over the coffee table. And the giant square pillow in the foreground. Do you see the three little balls of sh*t in the middle of the floor? That would be the dogs’ fault.

Or really, it is my fault, because I had the audacity to spend a few minutes picking out my outfit for tomorrow, in my bedroom, with the door closed, when I should have been feeding the little dogs. It was, after all, two entire minutes past their scheduled dinnertime.

It is also Mike’s and my combined fault because we’ve been meaning to rearrange the litter box area so the box is up high enough that the dogs can’t get into it and we haven’t done it yet. Because, you know, life. It’s busy.

Not to mention I should have scooped the litter box as soon as I got home. I knew it needed it and I didn’t do it because I just wanted to relax for a minute. In retrospect, I should have just cleaned the box and then relaxed, because it is amazing how cleaning up half-eaten cat sh*t completely depletes any recently acquired feelings of relaxation.

All of the dog-training books say not to let your dog watch you clean up their mess because it sends the message that you like the mess. I have read this a million times. It must also apply to a cat’s mess. I do not bother to take five seconds to crate the dogs before I clean the cat box because it’s too much trouble. Instead I let them watch me do it. Thus, sending the message that I think it’s super awesome to play with poop. And, in their little dog brains, I must be eating the poop, because why else would I be playing with it?

They sit there, little ears perked up, little tails thumping while I scoop the box, and I willingly teach them to play with the poop. It really is entirely my fault. But it makes me think. They spend a whole lot of time watching me in the kitchen. I wonder if they had longer limbs, would they try to mess around in the kitchen, too? Would it result in a cooked meal? Or a washed dish?

I mean, this could be really amazing. What if I got them a little, tiny, working vacuum cleaner. Something they could operate with their forepaws or push around with their noses. Do you think they’d start vacuuming on a regular basis?

shit eater

Hey little sh*t-eater. You need to start pulling your weight around here.

Play Date

1

Hey Theo. Your ears smell funny. Wanna play?

2

Yeah, yeah! Let’s play! Totally!

3

Time out! Let’s rub our faces on the carpet!

Yes! The carpet smells funny!

4

Theo? Dude. Where’d you go?

5

Rawr! I got you! Ha! I totally took you by surprise! Rawr!

6

(dramatically) Oh! You got me! I’m dying!

Yeah! I got you! You’re dying! Rawr!

7

Whoa. Your butt smells funny.

Scouts

Scout

The dogs do this thing where they have to get up and go on patrol. Valentine will be worrying a toy when she’ll hear something and freeze, ears erect, nostrils twitching. She’ll drop her toy on my belly and trot back and forth in circles around us, until she’s sure we are safe. Then it’s Theo’s turn. He’ll have watched her make her rounds and when she’s through he heaves himself up with a grunt and scuffles the dozens of dachshund steps between my feet and my chin to check in, lick my face.

4

I’ll scritch him behind the ears for a while as he breathes hot puppy breath in my face.

1

When he’s certain I’m ok (or when he’s accepted the fact that I’m not dead yet and no, he can’t eat me), he’ll walk around the top of my head, back down towards my feet… (it’s a long way for a wiener)

2

3

Then he’ll drop  to his side with a thud and a sigh, his job complete.

5

valentine

Little guardian lapdogs.

He Does What He Wants

outside

This morning he stood in front of the screen door, staring at me expectantly. What do you want, little dog? I asked. He reached out with his left front paw and scratched the door. So I opened it, and watched with surprise as he tottered over to his bed on the patio, curled up, and went to sleep.  Apparently, he wanted to spend some time outdoors.

I snapped that photo and then decided to take a cue from the wiener, grabbed my laptop and my coffee, and spent my morning working with the sun on my back and a breeze in my hair.

Lovely.

Two Wiener Palms

goodmorning

Adam snapped this off my balcony this morning. I love the Valley.

I am in Palm Springs for the next five beautiful sunshine-y days. It’s Adam’s birthday and he’s in town from New York and we are going to be pool side starting tomorrow at 10 a.m. I cannot wait.

Yesterday we got together with friends for brunch. Michael took this photo of Kevin taking a photo of Adam and Dori looking at the photo that J.D. just took of them. I’m the one standing on the stairs looking like a red-haired loon.

sunday

By the way, my hair isn’t actually red, it’s just a chemically treated disaster.

This morning Adam interrupted me while I was packing for Palm Springs. He was laughing and pointing at our linen cabinet. “You’ve got to see this!”

I turned my attention to the cabinet and it trembled. Then it opened an inch and a black nose appeared. At first I thought it was one of the cats because they love to hide in the cabinets. But it was not one of the cats.

theointhecloset

People who own herding dogs always talk about their dog’s instinct to heard everything, but dachshund owners never talk about their dog’s instinct to ferret small frightened creatures out of hiding places.

pooramelia

Poor Amelia. She just wants my wiener to leave her alone.

Close Call

my wiener

I was chopping tomatoes at the kitchen counter just before family dinner the other night, when I heard my brother yelling, “Where’s the wiener? Where’s the wiener?”

The fencing in my parent’s yard is just wide enough that both little dogs can slip through without any effort at all. The first day we were home we found Valentine sniffing around in the front yard of the house across the street and down two. An hour later we caught Theo lapping water out of the next-door neighbor’s pool. As a result, those little dogs are no longer allowed in the backyard unattended.

On this particular evening, I’d spent the entire day working in the yard with the dogs off leash and they hadn’t tried to go through the fence, not once. When I went inside to chop tomatoes, I didn’t think anything of leaving them alone in the yard. They’d done nothing but sleep in the sun all day and I could see them right through the kitchen window. It wasn’t like they were going to slip through the fence while I watched.

But I wasn’t watching the little dogs asleep on the shearling cushion. I was watching the tips of my fingers. So when Ty started yelling, “Where’s the wiener? Where’s the wiener?” my heart leapt into my throat. Most likely drowned in the neighbor’s pool, I thought, because I am the worst dog-mother in the world. I dropped the knife and ran into the yard.

“Wiener! Wiener! Wiener!” Ty yelled.

I joined in, “Theo! Theo! Theo!”

Nothing. Not a sound.

Usually when I call Theo, the tags on his collar jingle. He doesn’t always come right away, but at least his tail starts wagging, and on that hot dog body of his, a little tail wagging goes a long way. His butt gets going and the movement travels down his long spine and his tags jingle till they sound like church bells to my worried ears. But not that night.

That night we called him and called him and the yard was silent. We ran around the yard, our calls getting louder and more frantic, but he was nowhere. I rounded the side of the house and there he was, safe and sound under the roses, happily eating a pile of shit like it was a fresh london broil. I couldn’t kiss him for a week.