JB’s family has had Angus, their Scottish terrier, for nearly 7 years.
When I first met him, I was still almost completely on the “dogs are so irritating” side of things, and promptly nicknamed him The Turd. I mean, he’s got a long body, a huge head, and little legs. He looks like a turd wearing a red collar. It fits perfectly.
After I started getting used to Angus, I changed the nickname to Buttnugget, because it’s funnier, and people don’t usually think about what that really means. It sounded more affectionate, for some reason.
I started working at The Veterinary Hospital With No Name this summer, and Buttnugget promptly got sick and had to come in. After taking care of countless other dogs, and treating him, I started actually considering that I kind of liked dogs.
I played with Angus, talked to him in that retarded voice normally reserved for my cats, and called him by his actual name. He, in turn, started doing his “special” greeting for me, which is to jump up and down against the storm door when he knows I’m home, and then not leave me alone until I lean over and let him lick me on the side of the face*. He acted like he missed me when I was gone, and I figured I was in good with him.
The week before my wedding, I was sitting up with my MiL, watching TV, while Angus stood guard on the floor in front of the couch, staring out of the door at invisible possums or whatever it is he thinks he sees out there. After he settled (i.e. wasn’t on High Alert, because I’m not stupid), I reached over to give him a poke in the haunches, making noises and saying his name before I did so so that I wouldn’t startle him. Well, apparently he was half-asleep, because he turned around and grabbed my right hand with the front of his teeth and started to twist the skin before abruptly realizing what he was doing and letting go.
He was upset (like, groveling), so I know he didn’t do it on purpose, but damn, that hurt. I still have weird little marks on my hand (he didn’t break the skin, just bruised it really badly), and my thumb occasionally goes numb while I’m writing. If he had actually meant to hurt me, I probably wouldn’t have a thumb any more.
I chalked it up to him being surprised, and me being stupid, and moved on. I didn’t treat him any differently after the bruises went away**, but I was a bit more cautious around him.
Earlier this week, I was holding him in one of his favorite “cuddle” positions (he likes to sit straight up next to you, with your arm around him, so that he can lay his head on your chest and nap), and I reached up to stroke his chest between his front paws. He has NEVER flinched or anything before when I’ve done this, so I had no reason to think he would react the way he did: He bit my right index finger at the knuckle, and growled.
My in-laws, meanwhile, are like, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, ANGUS?!?” They can’t understand any more than I can why he would be acting this way.
Last night, before bed, I went into the bathroom, and something smelled…funny. It reminded me of the rugs when Cloud was at my house in Memphis…that weird rubber/pee smell. I lifted up the rug in front of the sink, and lo and behold, Angus has been peeing in the bathroom.
He likes to come over and sniff the rug next to my computer chair, so when I get home tonight, I’m going to be pulling it up, as well, to see if he’s left me any gifts while I’ve been away.
If he’d just been biting, I would chalk it entirely up to me just not being used to him, and acting in a way that’s strange to him, and thus causing him to act out.
But the peeing? Nuh-uh. Not my fault. In no way, shape, or form. My bathroom rug was washed at this house, and the rug in the bedroom has been here longer than I have, so it smells like this house. The cats have never been on this rug.
I’ve decided that he views me as a threat to his relationship with JB (this wins for the weirdest statement I’ve made this week, so far), and is treating me accordingly.
I’ve also decided that his original nickname fits him much better, and my retarded voice is reserved for my cats again.
I’m also keeping every door that leads to something of mine closed, whether I’m here or not.
I never thought I’d be competing with a dog for the affections of a man.
*One of my major problems with dogs licking me is because they lick their assholes. I don’t like my cats licking me, either, so don’t think it’s favoritism. Angus, however, cannot reach his asshole because of how he’s shaped, so him licking me isn’t AS gross.
**I had to wear makeup on my hand during my wedding. That’s a story for the non-existent grandkids, eh?