Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Dog By Any Other Name...

The other night Bryan, Annabelle, and I were enjoying some quality family time together in our living room. I was having a rough night to begin with, as I appear to be suffering some PTSD on a daily basis as a result of placing Annabelle in daycare each day.

The three of us were on the couch enjoying Annabelle’s latest trick, screeching like a wounded Pterodactyl. She does not screech because she is fussy or unhappy, she screeches because she has just recently learned that this is super fun and this unbelievably LOUD, high-pitched noise comes right out of her very own little throat! What could be more fun than that? Bryan called them “Creature Noises.”

So Bryan and I were discussing these new sounds and trying to predict how long they may last when our attention turned to the dogs. Milton was lying on the floor in front of us and Bernie was curled up under Bryan’s desk in our guest room. Bryan confessed to me that earlier in the day he had been petting Milton and whispered to Milton that he may like him more than he likes Bernie. He was afraid that Bernie heard this comment and was now depressed.

I said that it was a ridiculous statement because eve n though Milton is “my” dog, Bernie is hands down a much better dog than Milton. I don’t even know where I would begin if I wanted to create list of reasons why, but he is definitely the better dog. I think the overall reason is that Bernie is a more empathetic and sensitive dog. Last night I was feeling a little blue, and I just know that if Bernie had thumbs, he would have fixed me a drink and brought me a handkerchief to dry my tears. Milton, on the other hand, would have just said “Is dinner ready yet? What are we having?” Bernie cares more about my feelings than Milton does.

While I was contemplating which dog I loved most, Bryan called Bernie over. Bernie did not move. Bryan called him again and he didn’t move. Bryan said “come on, let’s go” and nothing. Then he said “Get in the truck,” and nothing. It was at that point that I feared the worst. I could tell Bryan thought the same thing I did. We sat there not breathing believing that on the very day bryan told Milton he was his favorite, Bernie died. And he died believing he wasn’t loved anymore. I, already on the verge of an emotional Tsunami, began to panic while I clutched Annabelle close. Bryan got up and went to go look at Bernie. We really were certain Bernie had died of what I would most likely state for years to come was a broken heart.

Fear not. Thankfully, Bernie was not dead, he was just pissed at us apparently and didn’t feel like getting up, moving, or letting us see that he was breathing. So it turned out to be a good night after all.

But it occurred to me this same thing happened very recently with Milton just before Christmas. When Milton is asleep on the floor, you cannot see his little doggy body move when he’s breathing, at all. We were eating dinner and the exact same thing happened. We called his name, and he didn’t move, and then we joked that he was dead, and then we really thought he was dead, and then I got up to poke him. Upon the death poke, he halfheartedly opened an eye and looked at me.

What I cannot figure out is why our pets look dead when they are resting. I suppose it’s possible they both have Sleep Apnea and need some sort of doggy CPAP machine, but I don’t have enough scrap metal in the house to generate the income required to pay for CPAPs for the dogs.

What is irritating about this voluntary condition our dogs suffer from, is that Bryan can silently slip one toe into a boot without making an audible noise and both of those dogs somehow feel the air shift and come running from every corner of the house at full speed (frantically clicking their DOGGY TOENAILS ON THE HARDWOOD FLOOR THE WHOLE TIME) to go engage in whatever fun activity they think Bryan is about to go do without them. But if we request their presence for an activity and they believe it isn’t worth their time, well…they just really don’t care.

As I do with everything that goes awry in our house, I blame Bryan for this affliction our dogs have. He is forever talking nonsense to these dogs. He’s always in their faces just spewing forth nonsensical babble because he believes the dogs enjoy it. I believe it has become noise to them and they now listen to NOTHING he says because they think it is all ridiculous.

For example, my dog’s name is Milton. But very quickly after I got him Bryan gave him a nickname. That nickname was Pokuernoes (pronounced POE-CARE-NOSE), because he believed that was the Spanish word for “small” or “little.” I did inform him the word he was thinking of was pequino, but he was uninterested. So Milton became Pokuernoes. Then it quickly evolved into just “Kuernoes (pronounced CARE-NOSE). Sadly, his fourth alias is my fault.

I developed an obsessive, borderline psychotic crush on the Latvian anesthesiologist who was present during my C-Section. I spoke of him often (and still do), and shamelessly flirted with him in my hospital room when I was probably the MOST unattractive a person can possibly be while still having a measurable pulse. Upon returning home from the hospital I downloaded his picture from the hospital website and put it on my phone, emailed it to friends, and briefly had it as my desktop wallpaper on my laptop. Bryan and I continually joke about him and my obsession with him often. In fact, when Bryan is not behaving to my high standards, I often threaten to leave him for the anesthesiologist. I suppose I am just assuming the anesthesiologist feels the same way. I guess it is possible that he may not share my feelings as his only interaction with me was while I was the size of a water buffalo and had not slept, showered, or eaten in 3 or 4 days.
MY POINT (yes, I have one) is that the doctor’s last name was Milshteyn. So because the name Milshteyn is so close to Milton and was getting thrown around by both myself and Bryan rather liberally, it just made sense to start referring to Milton as Milshteyn too. SO when it is all said and done Milton on an average day is called: Milton, Pokuernoes, Kuernoes, and Milshteyn..and lately, sometimes just Shteyn. Bryan commented that we may have turned him into a Schizophrenic.

The bottom line is that I threaten the lives of these animals routinely. There is not a day that goes by where I do not threaten to shoot them, punch them, hang them, throw them onto the burn pile, or shave them bald. I also routinely tell them I hate them and that they smell bad. And they do smell bad. Very bad. And everything I own is covered in dog hair. But I love both these dogs and Bryan loves these dogs more than I do. Bryan would carry Milton around in a Baby Bjorn if I let him. But these dogs are happy and fun-loving, and a part of our little hillbilly family and I can’t imagine not having them around.

Bernie is the sensitive and caring dog who will put his head in your lap if you are crying, and remain there until you feel better. Milton is the fun “look at me” dog who will lick your face from the moment you wake in the morning until the moment you go to bed at night. He will lick your face until his tongue bleeds if you let him, all because he loves you so much. They are wonderful dogs.  There is nothing that makes you love your dogs more than thinking they’re dead. Twice.

After reading this over I decided Bryan and I should probably think long and hard before having a second child, because clearly we pick favorites…and then tell the favorite they’re the favorite. I think that’s maybe a parenting no-no.

I also wish I would have sent Dr. Milshteyn a Christmas card.


  1. Milton and Bernie have you right where they want you!

  2. Incidentally, shortly after writing this I was standing in the office talking to Bryan and when I turned to leave I did not realize Milton was lying in the doorway right behind my feet. I of course tripped and went flying, knocking over several power tools...then landing on the power tools flat on my face in the middle of the living room. Bryan did nothing but laugh. Milton took off like black lightning so I wouldn't beat him.

    This incident DID make it slightly possible for me to imagine life without him.

  3. LOL, thanks for the morning read! (hope you were ok after that incident)
    Oh, and you could still send Dr. Milshteyn a card, "Hope your Christmas was Merry, Best wishes for the New Year" :D (however, perhaps that is an obsession I should not encourage:)

  4. and as long as you whisper "You are my favorite" in the ear of each of your children, you are being a good parent. Think about how long it took you and your sister to figure out that when you called and we said "It's the good daughter!" that we said this about both of you. (It was last year, wasn't it?)

  5. I probably shouldn't bring up the fact that after making the same threats to our dog, that I accidentally ended his life....Guilt city, baby.