I’m not an animal person; let’s just get that out of the way. I’m not much of people person either, being as people are also members of the animal kingdom. My girlfriend’s dog is the bane of my existence, a real bete noir (the dog’s name is Black, go figure…) and a constant wedge in the cracks of what is a normal, loving, committed, argument-filled, yelling-with-the-windows-open, long term relationship.
I’m around the damn thing (the dog I mean) almost 24 hours a day; she is not. I’ve got the dubious ‘luxury’ of the home office—meaning I’m just another under-employed freelance slacker in Berlin. Nothing in life is free. My payment and my penance for being a fool with little or no ambition is to take care of El Perro Diablo while the lady of the house is toiling away in an office somewhere in West Berlin.
I know; dog is man’s best friend. My human friends don’t fetch my slippers, my paper, my pipe and my crested smoking jacket, but neither does the dog—which makes him about as useful as an asshole on my elbow. The dog’s function: 1) looking cute with the big doe eyes, 2) sucking up love, affection and food from anyone who falls for the big doe eyes, 3) eating and begging for more and more food, full time. As soon as the dog’s loyal sycophants aren’t in the room, he morphs into El Perro Diablo. He scratches doors; he pisses on doors and floors and barks so much I had to take the door bell receiver off the hook permanently.
Back in Prague, Cat gave the dog the name ‘Buckethead’ because of the plastic post-op cone he was wearing--you know, the one that keeps them from licking themselves into an early Nirvana. The poor beastie had some kind of growth on his nether organ which had to be removed. Years later in Berlin, the 7 year itch has returned with a vengeance. After a week of quack vets prescribing useless ointments for what is an obvious and hideously deformed and painful growth, we are now considering the inevitable: Buckethead may kick it. Buckethead is 12 years old; he spent the first 6 years of his life as a homeless/train station dog. He was fed garbage, kicked around and used as a pillow for sleeping inebriates. For the second half of his life he was spoiled rotten. It was getting to the point where the dog got more love than me. She says he deserves the love. I put up with it. So no matter how many times the dog scratched and pissed on the floors/doors and no matter how many times I yelled and waved my arms at him (Violence is verboten. Not my choice), Buckethead just rolled those big doe eyes at me as if to say ‘Is that all you got, beeotch?’
Thursday is the day of The Big Decision. Soon we will find out if the growth on his thang, his defective heart and the fluid in his lungs are going to somehow, suddenly disappear—or if we will pay for a syringe full of Big Sleep. For the longest time I wanted the dog out of my life so I could get on with it. Many exotic ports of call beckon us—if only in my mind—and El Diablo Perro is the Reason We Can’t Go. His age, quirks, illnesses and inability to travel are the proverbial thorns in my side. I don’t want to end this with a cliffhanger. I don’t want my girlfriend to completely lose her mind when the dog eventually shuffles off this canine coil. I guess I’m saying that I don’t want the dog to die.
Then I would have to find a new bane for my existence.