This is my dog, Roo.
His name is not actually Roo. When I first brought him home, I named him Riley. I was desperate. I adopted him from a shelter when he was eight weeks old, and I couldn’t pick a name. After three days without knowing what to call him, I finally went with the least offensive of the options suggested to me. I began calling him Riley Roo, and then just Roo. This was for two reasons: first, his mother was a hound dog. He may be smallish, but he has a deep, distinctly hound “roooo” bark that would surprise you if you met him. Second, when he was a pup, he had one of those cute, round, pink, puppy bellies. It stuck out when he sat down. But he was on the portly side, even as a puppy — in fact, he was so chunky that when he would sit with legs splayed, he wound up looking a bit…marsupial.
Regardless, he does not look like a Riley. If he were a black lab, maybe. But he’s a shaggy mutt. And where I am sporty, he is lazy. Getting this dog to walk farther than to the end of our block is like torture. Where I am healthy, he is a garbage hound.
Which leads me to:
Things I have pulled out of the dog’s mouth on the street.
1) half a decomposing mouse (*)
2) used condom (*)
3) unused condom
4) lit cigarette(s)
5) turkey leg, Disney style
6) multiple Sophie la Giraffes
7) underpants; owner unidentified (*)
(* denotes whether or not I gagged)
Over the weekend, I’d stopped on the street to talk to someone who lived in my building. Roo had sat quietly on the curb while we chatted and he chowed down on the breadcrusts that some lunatic woman routinely left out for the pigeons. I hadn’t noticed until he made his way through the equivalent of half a loaf of bread.
The dog and I are disciplined — at least, we try to be. He is crate-trained; we have a schedule, even if it doesn’t always look like it. But I’ve been injured lately; overworked; sleeping poorly. I woke up last night, multiple times in the night — with horrible nightmares — to discover that the lights were all up on bright, and the dog had never made it into his crate. That wasn’t the first time that had happened in the last few days.
Maybe I need a break!
Or maybe I need to stop worrying so much.
In my heart of hearts, I know that the dog will be fine. I know that a week or two of my own scatterbrained neediness will not break him of his good habits. I know that my nightmares and end-of-day inability to focus won’t cause him to run around, stealing teethers from babies and snarfing up street garbage while I remain blissfully unaware.
I will be fine. We’ll all hit our groove again — dead mice and used condoms notwithstanding.