Ralphie wants to know why I am no longer a frenzy of activity. Why am I acting like a dog, lying around all the time? He thinks it obvious that the loveseat isn’t big enough for both of us. Yes he is in a mid-afternoon catatonic sleep-stupor, and yes he doesn’t mind dosing with a pack member, but why must I hug him on the tiny couch? He wants to know.
I disturb him repeatedly throughout the day. I go out on the patio. I come in again. Other than the in and the out, he wants to know why I haven’t left the house for days. He is sleep-deprived. It is pretty clear he is sick of me. I am sick of his barking for no apparent reason and mad at myself for yelling at him when he does because I know there actually is a non-apparent reason, a strange smell or sound, to which as a non-canine I am oblivious. I know that to bark is his nature. It’s still annoying. Sometimes I make him sit facing the corner until he stops. In my evil mind (which he cannot read so I don’t worry about hurting his feelings) he is wearing a dunce cap.
He also wants to know why our walks are less frequent. And shorter. And slower. And if they are going to be that slow why can’t we just stop instead and spend the whole time sniffing because really what is the point if we are going to walk that slowly? He wants to know.
I tell him I am taking him to the vet to have his nails cut because although I have the eon that it takes to file them, which he hates, instead of cutting them which he vehemently loathes, I worry about breathing in powdered dog toenails. Plus I have no patience for his nonsense. His nonsense includes slinking away, jerking his paws away, acting like I am trying to kill him, etc.
So my plan for Monday is that we two pack members will leave the house and go to the vet where they will take him in the back to do the deed without any effort or involvement on my part. Tap, tap, tap: his long nails will sound on the linoleum floor as he trots away with the smiling vet tech into the back while I sit in the waiting room. Five minutes later they will bring him back to me, padding silently as if wearing slippers. He will be happy to see me because he will think we’ve been apart all day. I will be happy to pay $12 and know that the few nose hairs I have left are free of powdered dog toenails.
After that we will head home, I will give him a pumpkin treat, then we will nap on the loveseat together. I will dream of the longer walks we’ll take in 3 weeks’ time when chemo is done, and how the asphalt will keep his nails in check. He will dream of being pursued by the vet tech with the nail clippers and keep me awake with his stifled, whimper cries and shuffling paws.