Anytime B is gone and I work too late too many nights in a row, I come home expecting at least one household item to be sacrificed to the doggy gods. So earlier this week when I arrived home after dark I took a deep breath and braced myself for the destruction that awaited me…and I found nothing.
As usual the dogs greeted me first thing, wagging gleefully and telling me how appreciative they were that I’d returned to the dungeon to rescue them from eternal boredom. I didn’t see any remains of books, walls, or furniture, so I loudly praised them as we went about our normal evening routine, checking the mail and setting out their dinner.
Then I spied the damage.
In the middle of the living room lay the empty carcass of one of the dogs’ overstuffed beds, covered by a thick layer of its innards. The second my eyes rested on the carnage, both dogs began their disappearing act around the corner, where they could observe the wrath of Mama without being in the path of any flying objects. When I turned to face them, their eyes widened in fear and they both nervously started licking their lips. (Really, you’d think I beat these animals, from the act they put on when they’ve been bad.)
I called both dogs to me and commanded them to sit while I thought about what I was going to do. Gromit obeyed, and Molly slowly crawled over to where I stood. And the second she got within a few inches of the mountain of white foam and cedar shavings, she turned on her doggy third grader kung fu and became dead weight, flattening her entire body to the floor. With her legs splayed at all angles and her big brown eyes gazing fearfully up at me, I was reminded instantly of Allie’s “helper dog” when it encountered snow:
What could I do? I was immediately seized with laughter. In all my experience–yes, there’s a long history–with Molly’s destruction and resultant groveling, I’ve never seen her take the act this far. She was really outdoing herself, transforming her stout 87-pound body into a filthy white “bear” rug with huge brown eyes.
My anger evaporated and I banished both dogs back to the yard, trying to hide my laughter from them. And while they frolicked and celebrated their narrow escape from death, I set to work cleaning up the mess. As I stuffed batting and cedar chips back into the dog bed, I marveled once more at all the things Molly has destroyed in her three years.
This morning I emailed an account of the story to B, whose laughter was followed by, “The girl eats her emotions–that’s just the way she is.” And that’s when it hit me, because I’ve heard him utter a nearly identical statement about me.
The truth is, Molly’s dog bed…and chair legs, and books, and woven rugs…are to her what Ben & Jerry’s is to me. When her world turns upside down and she can’t seek comfort in a carton of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, she goes for the next best thing: a table leg. No wonder she’s got issues!