There are few things more pleasurable in life than putting your small, yappy dog in the basement bathroom. Excepting those self-righteous gruff and huff folks who’ve grown up with their Goldens we’ve all been there. Oh how satisfying is it, that moment when your dumb dog realizes that it, yes it, is getting placed in time-out for its transgressions? You go upstairs to the bedroom, let out a deep sigh, and enjoy the quiet of the house … appreciate that your blinds may now be open without Sparkle Doggie slavering and screaming into the single-pane at its own reflection … love that you may sit at the kitchen table and eat a scone without Sparkle Doggie whining in that high throaty pitch for a crumb, just a little crumb, pleeeeeeeease a little itty bitty nibble for pretty little itty bitty Sparkle Doggie … enjoy that with each footstep there is no clacking of paw-sized nails on the hardwoods, expectant and demanding attention. So you sit on your couch, and stare out of your open blinds, and take deep breaths, content in the moment. There’s Sparkle Doggie two stories below, and Sparkle Doggie is growing antsy. Somehow sounds of Sparkle Doggie’s clawing at the basement’s bathroom door reach you from your bedroom’s couch. It’s inconceivable, and you shudder to think at the damage done to the basement door – of the hundreds of foot-long, millimeter wide gougings into the soft wood with its red paint finish. You exhale, and consider for the thousandth time killing your Sparkle Doggie.
Such morbid thoughts are cast aside as the sounds of Sparkle’s frantic attempts at escape subside. Dreams turn to that nice family home out in the country where there are acres for Sparkle Doggie to run and prance and play with the cows and goats. You think that – yes, maybe a change of scenery will be good for the both of us. He’ll have the space to be a small irritating lapdog, and I won’t have a small irritating lapdog. He’ll be able to chew up another’s socks, vomit partially digested cotton on another’s upholstery, and then poop uncontrollably on their nice family rug while I’ll be here, relishing in the mornings I get to sleep in without worrying that Sparkle Doggie will revenge pee on my leather loafers for staying in bed through the breakfast hours. It sounds nice – a win for you, at least – but you wonder how long it would take the adopting family to realize their new puppy is a neurotic psycho hell beast bent on destruction and agonizing hours of indulgent irritation? Perhaps the kennel may be the best place for Sparkly Doggie, but you worry that he’ll be eaten by the Matterson’s antisocial Doberman, which was sent to the kennel last week after mistaking one flabby forearm of Big Pete from Apple Street for a meaty dog bone. You want rid of Sparkle Doggie, but sending him to die at the hands of Sniper is not a fair sendoff. So you sit back, exhale deep and long again, and attempt to clear your head. The peace of the bedroom is tremendous.
And then the sounds of Sparkle’s high pitched whining wafts in through the vents. It’s long and soft, a cry for help. You shudder at the sound, your skin crawls up and down your shoulders. The kind of cry that makes one want to stick a long straight syringe in the left ear canal, the kind of call that sends grown men into fits of nervous sobbing, women into long bouts of fitful hand-wringing, as if they’re massaging out the strong, strident desire to throttle the small creation crying in front of them. You consider once again Sparkle Doggie murder, this time more seriously. How would you do it? Box in the river? Cruel, but clean. Maybe just throw him into the deepest, thickest section of the deepest, thickest woods this side of the Appalachians and wash your hands of the whole experience. Tell everyone that you did give Sparkle Doggie to the nearby family with their nearby farm and hope nobody corroborates your story with a visit to the named farm, although the likelihood of that is small considering the most positive conversation revolving around Sparkles was your cul-de-sac neighbor commenting in the most overtly sarcastic way that ‘Sparkle Doggie’s bark has gotten a lot louder since he was a puppy!’ Sparkle Doggie is now whining and scratching and yelping, likely counting down the seconds until he revenge poops and pees and then rolls about in his foulness in a fury of spite. He’s done it before, and considering Sparkles is only four will likely do it again in his long, small dog life-expectancy. Oh, what have you gotten yourself into?
This is why you don’t get a dog with your girlfriend in college, and especially why if you fail to follow this advice then at the very, necessary least you get to pick the pup. This is why small yappy dogs are the worst, and the reason dog-owners name their small yappy dogs gooey names like Sprinkles and Fluffy and Saint Barktholomew and even Sparkle Doggie is to in some small way chip away at the horrible traits these dumb little dogs carry with them from generation to generation. As if calling these demon spawn something cutesy will help us forget that Widdle Snoogams once ate an entire party bowl of cocktail peanuts, wandered about in a bloated daze for hours, and then expelled such a fiery bunch of poo that an expensive trip to the doggie hospital was necessary, but we as humans are awful good at turning the truth about, just as you are convincing yourself perhaps a new home for Sparkle Doggie would be for the worst.
You can’t take it anymore. You tell yourself Sparkles has learned his lesson … he won’t nip your fingertips next time you offer him a treat, or growl and bite when you attempt to push him off the sofa, or pee into the next girlfriend’s purse when she leaves it on the floor … but you know the truth. Sparkle Doggie has won again. You let him loose from the bathroom door and he rockets forth, covered in his own feces from tail to ears. He races up the stairs – flinging bits of brown wet poo onto carpet and wall – and goes straight to the window. As you chase Sparkle Doggie into the living room he starts up a manic orchestra of yipping directed at the Golden walking calmly in its front yard. You stand in the doorway and watch the spectacle unfold, and you begin to cry.