That Dog

"Where is Partick?"
"He and Sophia went to get the dog."

But first a little background.

I am allergic to dogs; actually, to all animals with fur. Or feathers. Or scales. After some waxing and waning of the non-human population in our house, we had finally reached a comfortable pet level. The love birds, Sid and Nancy, had returned to Sophia's school and Partick's nasty iguana Adrian had finally passed away. All we had left were a couple of betas and a handful of snails. And life was good.

Then one day, Partick and Soph bought two "hairless" rats. They (not the rats) looked at me with their big brown eyes, and said they would return the rats if I insisted, but they promised to keep them on the porch and clean the cage (the late Adrian's terrarium) every week and the rats didn't have any hair and oh please. I relented and the porch became a toxic zone because those rats are not as hairless as advertised. Before long, they were joined by the hirsute "blue" rat, which they reasoned was no big deal as I was hardly ever on the porch these days. That rat was followed by a tank of lizards and a couple of tortoises. That wasn't so bad, but this, this dog is a whole different ball of animal dander, and one I had specifically declared off limits in conversations such as these:


Partick: These people at work want to give me a dog.
Sharon: Don't get a dog.
Partick: It's just adorable!
Sharon: Don't get a dog.
Partick: You'll just love him!
Sharon: DON'T GET A DOG.

Or, when we were looking for a new place to live:

Sharon: This one has three bedrooms, two baths, and a carport.
Partick: Do they allow dogs?
Sharon: Don't get a dog!

Somehow, I had failed to communicate.

I was at the new place unpacking when Partick, Sophle, and Peggy drove up with an Italian Greyhound and a big hamper of its toys. If you're not sure what an Italian Greyhound looks like, but have seen Santa's Little Helper from The Simpsons or Dobby from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, that's close enough. "Mojo," as it was newly christened, was dainty and frail and quivering up a storm, but he could stand up like a little Rory Calhoun and I had to admit that was sort of neat. We agreed that this would be an outside dog, and I began to cool down a bit.

About an hour later, in a desperate bid to gain indoor dog status, Mojo dashed in front of a moving car and had to be whisked away to the after hours animal hospital. It heard us talking.

At this point, you might think I am mean and nasty and horrible, and you might be right. But let me tell you something: Mojo is the biggest faker God put on this earth. True, it came home with some very authentic looking stitches in its back left leg, but I saw it, saw it standing up on its hind legs like a little Rory Calhoun the very night it returned from getting them. Naturally, it couldn't be expected to endure the brutal central Arizona night after that ordeal, and Partick installed him in his bedroom.



For the next couple of weeks, Mojo would limp around the house just as often as he remembered to, and would occasionally YIPE to let me know its injury was serious. I was getting all the YIPES. I would let it in the house and it would YIPE as it entered. I thought maybe it hit its hip on the way in, but no it didn't. It would whine and scratch, then YIPE when I opened the door to tell it to knock it off. I wouldn't even get to the knock it off part, it would just go ahead and YIPE and skid across the porch as if I had given it a good solid kick before I so much as drew a breath. "All right then," I'd say, then wonder if Mojo was actually plotting to expose me as a villainess on that cop show on Animal Planet. I've seen it watching the program with Partick and Soph.

Long after the stitches came out, I kept getting the YIPES. To everybody else, Mojo was charm incarnate. Even the vet was taken in ("All the other Italian Greyhounds bite me!" she said). The dog roamed freely in the house. I coughed and wheezed and shut myself in my room.


At some point, Partick made the mistake of teaching Mojo something. Who knows what—to get one of its toys or something. The important thing is, the trick drove potty training right out of its tiny brain. But it was not my problem. Allergens? Yes. Urine stains? Nope. Nope, nope! Then one memorable Saturday, I was in my bedroom listening to a Helen Reddy cd with Soph when we heard the sounds of a dog being tortured. Not that I believed for a second that a dog was actually being tortured. For one thing, Partick just doesn't torture dogs. But more important, I was onto Mojo and his cheap melodrama. Turns out, Mojo had committed an indiscretion the carpet and Partick was evicting him.

Since that time, very few YIPES have been directed at me, but Partick's bottle of pet stain remover is nearly empty and the effect of Mojo's whines an screams is wearing him thin. I have to admit I think less of our neighbors for not reporting us to the ASPCA. Or maybe they did, but as soon as the operator heard the words "Italian Greyhound" told the caller to relax, that's just what the breed is like. I don't actually care as I am no longer the target of this Machiavellian pet. I think we will get along fine.

Better once he moves outside.

Written by Sharon C. McGovern

From Volume 37
Back to Cobra Miscellany

In October of 2003, Mojo made his fashion debut on the dainty dogwalk of Scottsdale, AZ. To view the results, click here.

More Mojo--Click Images to Enlarge