Maeby the Wayward Dog

Maeby is my 6-year-old boxer. She is much like the Simple Dog. In fact, when I read Allie Brosh’s account I had to go and make sure that Maeby had not run away and realized I was still going to have to teach her stairs mechanics. Lesson 1: if a ball falls off the balcony you can go down the stairs instead of whining for an hour. Course time: 3 weeks.

She was always going to be trouble

Everything about Maeby is hopelessly quirky. She doesn’t mean to be complicated. In fact she is a very gentle spirit, but her brain operates on a very short repetitive cycle. For example, she has to wear boots to protect our new hardwood floors, so her thought process seems to go something like this: “Hey! I am a dog! I am wearing boots! Step. Step. I am wearing boots! Step! Boots! Step! Boots!”

I am a dog!

Her bad habits include:

1) Barking at everything that scares her. What scares her? Everything. We think she has poor eyesight because she occasionally goes ballistic over plastic bags caught in trees. I could understand this except that she is often only three feet away and should be able to rely on her other senses at that point to tell her that it’s not alive.

2) High garbage and bread depredation rate. Maeby might solve the world’s garbage problem. She turns into a stealth ninja dog if there is the slightest chance that she will get bread.

You know, actually, not much is safe

3) Coprophagia. THIS IS ABOUT TO GET GROSS Y’ALL. Maeby eats her own poop. She was terribly difficult to potty train and would just stare at the door willing the magic door gods to open it for 3.9 seconds before she’d find some suitable floor. Then she would get nervous and eat it before we discovered it. Problem solved. Except that she would later vomit = nerves = eating = really big mess. The last time I remember her doing this my husband had to bathe her, she vomited in the shower, the word palpate was used and we threw away a lot of towels. I don’t want to think about it, and probably couldn’t live with the fact if the shower hadn’t been ripped out for renos the very next day. It is an issue.

Here is a picture of Don Draper to help you get over that (photo by Christina St Marche)

She used to have a partner in crime, Willis (aka. ComfortSeeker 3000) , who was ten times smarter than her and would have been a great companion animal for Curmudgeon at Large’s couch, disdaining everything and enjoying naps as he did. Willis liked tums and bourbon so much, you guys. Maeby would follow Willis blindly into trouble in whatever form he could find it. Willis died of a heart tumor at the end of February after being in the kennel nearly five months because of the house flood we had. He literally died of a broken heart. That is the last sad thing about this post unless you count Maeby’s astonishing lack of intellect.

Willis. Photo taken a long time ago by a dude whose name I can’t remember but he was a really good photographer. You should look him up.

Since then, Maeby has sort of been without a rudder. On most days Maeby’s source of affection is from toddlers who try to see if her ears will stretch to the floor (no), whether you can pick her up by her tiny little docked tail (also NO), or whether you can ride her (NO! DAMMIT. NO! STOP THAT! YOU’RE GOING TO BREAK THE DOG). Having a very busy household with poor communication occurring before magic delicious coffee time, Maeby sometimes gets overlooked.

So it is no surprise at all that we discovered Maeby was missing right in the middle of our fourth anniversary dinner. Moments after we had ordered our food I made the classic mistake of bringing up any notion of domestic life, and we both realized that neither of us had seen the dog all day. We called home but the dog was gone. So we speed-ate our meal, barely acknowledged each other’s thoughtful gifts (New York, yay!) and skipped dessert so we could go searching for her. No luck.

The next morning she still wasn’t home and I called everyone I could think of. Nothing. Without Willis to guide her home, I was reasonably sure that she would either be found by a human that would love her to death or she was trapped in a corner by scary plastic bags of death somewhere and would die of starvation if there was no accessible garbage.

Evil incarnate, according to Maeby (photo by zen)

Then I saw this on the pound website.

This is now fridge art as a reminder to KEEP THE DAMN GATE CLOSED.

There was Maeby. Still with three of her four boots on for maximum shame. Of course this was an hour before I had to go out, but I dropped everything and schlepped over to break her out of dog jail.

Bylaw enforcers do not just let you pay your fine and let you walk out of the building. No; you are in it for a lecture, a fine, a threat of more fines, a detailed description of all laws pertaining to dogs and houses, a long chat about your plan to ensure that such atrocities are not repeated, and then some down time to think about your actions. During this time you must be polite and try to conceal your rage at the fact that you are clearly a responsible owner, yet you are being treated like you are running a meth lab.

She was picked up not two blocks from our house in the wrong direction from the dog park by a family who wanted to adopt her. I admit, I contemplated their offer before realizing that I had already posted that I found the dog on Facebook and I didn’t want to look like an asshole.

Maeby was cowering from all the other unruly dogs who were losing their shit at the fresh meat (so much tastier if it’s still alive!) walking into the kennel. Good thing it wasn’t an open prison yard because she wouldn’t have lasted ten seconds. I got her out, got her boots, spilled my purse contents in the dog urine trough, declined getting my lip gloss back, thank you very much, and we busted out of there. She had completely forgotten about the whole scary dog jail thing by the time she hit the parking lot.

On the way home I tried out my future parenting lecture. “Maeby,” I said, “I work with endangered species all the time, and do you know what they’re begging for? Habitat. You have habitat that you totally take for granted! You have dog beds in every room, food at mostly regular intervals, all the free buns you can manage, and a very liberal pottying outside policy (author’s note: her policy, not mine, mine is VERY STRICT) yet you run away at the first opportunity? DO YOU KNOW WHAT A SWIFT FOX WOULD DO FOR THAT KIND OF SECURITY? DO YOU?”

She blinked like the slow three eyed fish on the Simpsons in full acknowledgement that my words sunk in and she will never do that again.

Yeah, it’s going to be Fort Knox up in here

25 comments

  1. In the video, was that Willis that was the high fiving machine and Maeby, the one, that did 2 1/2 high fives she was so focused on what could possibly in your hand? Yeah, she is a handsome hound but I don’t get the impression that she’s doggie Mensa material, either.

    1. That’s right. She got beat in the face a lot of times by the same trick, but it never deterred her hopefulness. Maybe there’s a lesson in there somewhere. Probably to always wear a faceguard if you’re not terribly bright.

          1. If I was the Sigmund Freud of dog shrinks, I would think that implies she’s trying to hide what she did in the worst way imaginable, but I’m not a pooch shrink so I don’t know what the hell that’s about. I had a friend who’s dog did the same thing, so Maeby’s not alone. A revolting thought is that they like something about the taste.

            1. For her it’s definitely hiding her misdeeds. She’s a very nervous pooch. She has gotten a lot better, but every now and again she loses her goddamned mind and has a relapse. I suppose that happens to the best of us.

              1. I guess that’s the price you pay for having a pooch that’s not the brightest light in the doggie marquee. At least she’s easy on the eyes and has a very sweet face. I’d just avoid her breath.

  2. This was great, RG. I loved the video – Willis was way cool, may he rest in peace. For some weird reason, I’m reminded of the old kid’s joke, “When they handed out the brains, Maeby thought they said trains, and went ‘Woo-Woo.”

    1. She does say woo-woo a lot, so that totally explains things. Poor Maeby. i feel a little bad writing about her lack of intellect, but someone has to be at the low end of the curve, right?
      And yes, Willis was a superstar dog. I am sure if there’s a dog heaven he’s got his corner of the couch all staked out.

        1. RG,
          I just had to share this with you. I went for a bike ride this afternoon and on the way back, got behind a truck sporting a bumper sticker that said: “Woo-woo!” Nothing else, just that. I kid you not! What do you think? Willis’ ghost confirming our suspicions?

          1. You are kidding! I love when the universe does funny little things like that. I would like to think that Willis is still taking the opportunity to take a swipe at Maeby as he did so often in life. Thanks for sharing that, Cathy.

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