I’ve fallen totally uncontrollably in love with my dog. Almost a year ago he arrived in my life like a meteor smashing apart everything I had known and done, all the patterns and habits I’d carelessly accrued; I often felt I had a stranger in my house. A stranger who woke me up at 6 am and needed two runs plus multiple pee walks. A stranger who snored and panted and farted and whose poops I had to pick up. And, after all that, a stranger who would shrink from my attentions like I was about to hit him with a baseball bat, who most of the time loved Cowboy more (although Cowboy was around, given his regular job life, for about 80 percent of Hopper’s waking days), and acted like I was the evil nanny as soon as Cowboy waltzed insouciantly through the door. A stranger who shrank from all my mothering skills, like putting salves on his bumps and cuts from nasty dogs or just his own clumsiness, who acted like he was in Abu Ghraib when I tried to give him his eye drops after he got pinkeye. Sometimes he’d even go in his crate for the whole day, putting himself in a self-imposed Guantanamo because I dropped a magazine about five feet from him, and he felt this was abuse. He’d stare through the bars all day until Cowboy came home and rescued him from the horrible Right Wing Mom he’d been left with and he would dissolve into kisses and such terrible relief while I watched, smarting.
But now, all I do is gaze into his eyes and I melt. We both melt. We’ve moved into true love territory. I’ve told Cowboy that he better be careful or I might marry Hopper. What Cowboy doesn’t know is that I’ve already planned it all out, even picked out a little red-and-white-checked bow tie from J. Crew for the ceremony, and I figure we’d exchange rings made from dried bull’s penises. And then he’d wear a bib and eat his own lobster, shell and all, and we’d go back to the hotel and he’d fart all night (that part might not be so different from the real groom) and pant his sweet doggy breath. I picture him drinking a Shipyard with his lobster and smoking a cigar after he eats cake. I see him blissfully passing out right after the ceremony, leaving me off the hook from any wedding night duties that might involve a randy new husband.
I shared this idea with my friends Parker and Ringo. Later, I received this in my e-mail box:
Ringo and I have talked. Please make sure your therapist is aware of this problem. Then go with her quietly as she escorts you to “a place where you can rest.” Sign whatever she asks you to sign, and swallow whatever pills she puts in your hand. Everything will be all right. We all love you, and we will be there for you. In a few years. Once you’re released from the psych ward.
I imagine my father’s face at the ceremony, having shelled out however many thousands of dollars to make me someone else’s problem, when, with no Cowboy anywhere on the horizon, suddenly his daughter is marrying her dog. In a way, I’d love to do it just to see my father totally freak and then I could pull Cowboy out from behind the special white wedding port-a-potty set. But my mother tells me this is juvenile and mean. And maybe it is.