My family has a tendency to end up with unusually gimpy pets. Here, for example, is my uncle’s cat, Newman:
My parents follow suit by doing foster care for a golden retriever rescue organization called As Good As Gold. Not all of the dogs they’ve fostered over the past two years have been terribly handicapped, physically or mentally, but the one they recently adopted is pretty goddamn special. Here’s a picture for you:
That little gem is named Connor. I prefer to call him Bubby because Connor is a crappy dog name. No apologies to anyone who named their dog Connor – frankly, you did a poor job.
Bubby looks normal, but he has no back hips and severe arthritis in his elbows (read: watching him run is hilarious, and also he falls over all the time), and an anxiety disorder. Also, one behaviorist who saw him suggested he might be missing some chunks of brain. You know, straight-up, just like, a half a lobe of brain never grew in. My parents were only fostering him at first, but ended up adopting him because nobody else was ever going to. Believe me.
Probably the main reason for that is that sometimes, we are all sitting around on the big sectional couch in my parents’ living room, and Bubby is lying on the floor chewing on a cardboard box, which, other than the hose, is probably his favorite toy. (He has unbelievable amounts of real dog toys, but he prefers to eat cardboard, because, I mean, come on.) We will all be reading, calmly, quietly, and out of nowhere he will drop the box, stand up, and start barking and snarling and snapping at one of us – usually me – like, “GET OFF THE FUCKING COUCH, ASSHOLE! WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, SITTING ON THE MOTHERFUCKING COUCH LIKE THAT, READING A GODDAMN BOOK?! STAND THE FUCK UP AND LEAVE THE GODDAMN COUCH ALONE BEFORE I SHANK YOU WITH MY FACE.” My response is usually to climb farther and farther up the couch like a monkey until my dad, who is like 6’3″ and a total bamf, eases himself up out of his seat and takes the dog outside.
Bubby has seen a lot of doctors and been to a lot of obedience classes so these things are getting better. Some things that are not getting better are the head-butting (and subsequent falling over) and the insistence on stealing (and tearing up) whatever it is I happen to be holding. I am confident that Bubby imagines himself to be The ULTIMATE DESTROYER.
When I water the garden for my folks he tries to play tug-o-war with the hose, poking holes in it that subsequently spray him with water (which sends him flying across the yard in a limp-y panic). Sometimes when he has forgotten about trying to wrestle the hose away from me, he calmly follows along, taking a bite out of every plant in the garden. Mom doesn’t have tulips any more because he ate them all. I assume they tasted exactly like the cardboard box he loves so much.
Bubby can be very sweet. He likes to fall down on your feet and crawl into your lap. He also likes to climb on top of whatever you are working on, like an 80-pound cat. Sometimes he is an absolute menace and tries to chew on your shoes. While you are walking him. Even if they are flip-flops.
His favorite game is keepaway. Usually keepaway involves Bubby picking up an object that is definitely not his, like the dishtowel you are currently using to wipe the table, and then running the hell away with it. Then when you try to take it back, he bites you. It is not a very fun game for anyone except Bubby.
On the bright side, Bubby is incredibly cute.