Does it seem like I am constantly telling you stories about Tallulah escaping? Like, here? And also too here?
I know. Well, guess what.
So, Marvin calls me last night at 6:00, because have I mentioned the ridiculous hours he puts in as an elementary school teacher? He is out the door by 7:00 a.m., and often gets home after 6:00 p.m. Then on weekends he is at the dining-room table, grading papers.
It's all worth it, though, because he makes SCADS of money.
At any rate, I asked him last night if he wanted me to wait until he got home before Tallulah and I went on our constitutional, but he said no, he was exhausted from all that teaching or the torrid affair he is having from 3:00 to 6:00 every day.
Unfortunately for me, Tallulah knows the word "constitutional" at this point, so I do not know why I try to use it in place of "walk." As soon has she heard me say it, she got up on her hind legs and started applying lipstick in the vanity mirror, and tying on her babushka and so forth. So really there was no way I could have waited for Marvin anyway.
Attached please find a photo of Tallulah, in her "BANG!" position, which trust me, at this point I wish my finger were really a gun. But I digress. And yes, that is a dead squished fly next to her, which I assume fell off her body, as she just came in from outside. Owning animals is nothing but a treat.
So I put this creature's leash on her and off we go, on our evening stroll. If by "stroll" you mean she has shot out in front of me as far as possible, choking herself to death on her collar, pulling my arm out of its socket, and charging at every Pug, bunny, and cat that we see.
Here is the thing about my dog. She is two different people: inside dog and outdoor dog. When we are outdoors? My love for her disintegrates by about 3,000 percent.
If we walk up and down each side street in my neighborhood and curve around the cul-de-sac, which people here pronounce "cul-deeeeee-sac," the walk takes about half an hour, which is about as much as my arm can take. By the time I have gotten home, it is 50 feet longer than the other arm, and is dragging uselessly next to me, completely removed from any bones or joints from which it used to be attached.
Right at the last block before the cul-deeeee-sac there is a house on the corner, where three little towheaded girls live, who I have told you about before. They are often playing in their back yard, which I find refreshing because for some reason children do not seem to play anymore.
"HI, LALULAH!" they all scream at once, as we approach. I am bad with kids' ages, because of the whole lack of having kids thing, but I would estimate they are all under the age of seven. One still has a sippy cup, which "Lalulah" has removed from her grip more than once. They all climb their fence to lean over and pet my dog, and they often have a toy or whatever with them, and Lu always thinks it is a gift for her.
I have no idea why they like Lalulah.
In December, these girls got a puppy, Snowflake, and it is the cutest, cutest, CUTEST puppy ever. My guess would be that she is a Samoyed/German shepherd mix, or maybe a Samoyed/Golden retriever. She is cream-colored and fluffy and her ears stick straight up like a shepherd, and when she started out she was just a big ball of fluff.
Tallulah hated her on sight.
And here is the thing about my dog. She has been going to the dog park and to dog day care since she was a pup. So she is sociable with other dogs. But when she is on her LEASH and another dog approaches? She is a dink. Our trainer–and yes we have had a trainer, and yes I have watched Ceasar and read both his books and wept and prayed and gnashed my teeth over this dog–said Tallulah feels she has to protect me when she's on the leash, and that's why she acts like Kim Jong-il when she's attached to me by a strap of leather.
At any rate, Snowflake is probably six months old now, and has gotten HUGE, and Tallulah's barks have gotten less evil because I think she understands this sweet puppy is now larger than her bully-ass self. But in case you didn't read my links up at the top, just a month ago, Tallulah was so busy lunging at Snowflake that she broke her entire collar completely off. And then of course because she was off leash, she was sweet as you please.
This must be how Ted Bundy's parents feel. Or the parents of that annoying "I want it now" girl from Willie Wonka.
And I KNOW I should just not walk past Snowflake, but it is the highlight of my day, visiting that beautiful puppy and those cute girls, who show me tricks on their swingset and tell me stories that make no sense and so forth.
Could this story be taking longer?
Last night I get down there. "HI, LALULAH!" Everything was as it always is. Snowflake started bowing and wagging at Lu, because she continues to want to befriend my dog, sort of like how I am Facebook friends with one of the Real Housewives, and keep leaving suck-up messages to her in hopes she writes me and says, "Let's have lunch soon!"
"What did you buy at Target?" one of the towheads asks me.
"Oh, that's Tallulah's poop. I pick it up after she poops in a yard," I explained.
I was getting all into dog-owner etiquette with these poor girls, and not noticing that my dog was conspicuously quiet, and that Snowflake was no longer at the fence. Do you know why Snowflake was no longer at the fence? Do you?
It was because she was at the door of the gate, SQUEEZING THROUGH. Apparently she had just figured out she could do this. And next thing you know old Jed's a millionaire, and also, THERE IS EVIL SNOWFLAKE, ON MY SIDE OF THE FENCE! And she's HEADED OUR WAY! BECAUSE SHE LOVES MY DOG AND MY DOG HATES HER SWEET SWEET PUPPY SELF!
Here is what the girls did:
Seriously, every human being in Guilford County has broken eardrums today, because you have never heard three people scream louder or in a more shrill manner. And their outward scream matched my inward one, because here comes that loping, sweet puppy and I KNOW my dog is gonna get out her machete and spin her head around and grow long fangs and speak Latin and learn Karate and build a nuclear weapon in the next eight seconds, once she realizes Snowflake is COMING OVER HERE.
I have no idea why speaking Latin would be harmful.
So I dropped the leash. I didn't know what else to do. I knew that would make her become undinklike. And guess what?
The two of them became best friends immediately. Oh, how they jumped on their hind stupid legs and pawed playfully, how they wrestled and smiled and bowed and ran ran ran through the neighborhood like a couple of idiots.
In the meantime, the three girls were still mentioning, "SCREEEEEAAAAAAAMMMMM!" They may have also occasionally screeched: "SNOWWWWFLAAAAAAKE!"
It seemed to take a while for their mom to come out, as she was probably inside doing shots and also immune to the screeching, but finally she realized this was more urgent screeching than usual. She came out, said, "Snowflake! Come home!"
And I will be a monkey's red swollen hind end if that dog didn't turn right around and come home. She just TURNED HER SIX-MONTH-OLD PUPPY SELF HOME.
What do you think my two-and-a-half year old demon dog did? "Oh. Snowflake done? K. Smell ya, Big Hair!" And as per usual, there went the back of my dog's blonde butt, screaming through the neighborhood. And there was me, a Target bag of poop in my hand, knowing that jerk would not return until she felt like it.
The trainer we had, who we paid 8 million dollars to, had me go out and purchase liver, for WEEKS, and cook it in a pan, and take Talu in the back yard and say, "Tallulah come!" and I'll tell you what. If I have some fresh-cooked liver on me? She comes when she's called.
Who stood there next to the cul-deee-sac and contemplated reaching up and yanking out her own liver to get that dog to come? Was it me?
In the meantime, a man was on his front porch with his son, because it's the South, and I heard him say, "That the same dog who was loose awhile back?" and the son said, "Yeah."
Okay, great. So now I am famous. The man got up off his porch, and his perfect yellow Lab galumphed next to him, OFF LEASH. "Hi, I'm Bill. This here's Shady," he said. "Can we hep ya get yer dog?"
"What I want to know is how do you get Shady to just stand next to you like that?" I asked.
Bill shrugged. That's what people with perfect dogs are always doing. They always shrug like having a dog who STANDS NEXT TO YOU OFF LEASH is just easy. It's just what naturally happens.
"You can come live with Snowflake and us!" one of the little girls shouted to us, as I see Tallulah run through her neighbor's yard. Bill's son, who was a teenager, took off running after Tallulah.
FIFTY MINUTES LATER, Bill's son has given up on running and is now on his bike. "Yer dog sure has energy," the kid says, sweaty and red. In the meantime, the three girls are now completely fabricating stories. "I just saw her again!" they'd say. "She ran up a tree!"
As I stood in the road, hoarsely calling "Tallulah," I see Marvin's car come down the road.
Because meanwhile? Back at the ranch-style house? Marvin came home from work, and as he pulled up? He wondered why I had tied Tallulah to the front porch. Then when he got up there, he realized she was just hanging out up there. It did not take him long to put two and two together. He has met Talu. She had run herself out and just came home. Five blocks from where I was with Shady and the half-dead exhausted teenager.
So just as I am trying to come up with a good reason why I have Tallulah's poop but not Tallulah, I realize Marvin has her punk ass in the passenger seat, and she is smiling. The three girls, the mom, Shady, Shady's dad, and particularly the teenage kid, all say, "YAY!"
"Thank you all so much!" I said, and I realize all I ever do is thank my neighbors for helping me with this creature.
Tallulah and I sat next to each other in the passenger seat on the drive home, and I told Marvin the whole story. Marvin said I am no longer allowed to visit Snowflake if I have Tallulah. It always ends in tragedy.
I wonder if we'd be allowed to visit Shady, though?