Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A dog's Life

This is our dog, Otto. As you can see he is an English Bulldog. According to George the Elder, Otto is not really a dog at all. He is a cat in a dog suit. Personally, I think he is a great dog. I can support my position with several observations.

First, the activity level in this photo is an accurate representation of what Otto does for the lion's share of the day. In this photo he is lying on the back porch with his back to the ocean view. Obviously, he doesn't care about the vista. In several minutes (or perhaps as long as 30) he will get up, wander to a new location, and summarily plunk himself down in an identical position with a different back ground. More often than not, his movement is based on my movement. For instance, if I am doing laundry, he plunks himself down in the laundry room. If I go up the stairs to do something else, he follows and plunks. This will continue until he gets tired of going up and down the stairs. Then his location generally is related to where the sun is coming in the windows.

Second, he does not drool, slobber, or lick. Sometimes he is accused of licking. This is confusion on the part of the lickee. Because he has no nose he must get his face really really close to a person to smell him. The action of exhaling may result in some minuscule snot particles to be released. This is not licking, this is breathing. However, the attribute of not licking people is not nearly as critical as the attribute of not being able to lick "himself." Bulldogs are physically designed so that their tongues can not reach their units. Big head, fat body and little weenie. A major selling point to me. If, indeed, Otto should ever get up the gumption to lick me, at least I will know where his tongue has NOT been.

Third, and in close relation to the reason #1, he only needs to be walked once a day. This walk consists of a fairly long spin around the neighborhood and the occasional game of fetch in the nearby dog park. The game of fetch cannot last for long since Otto neither has the stamina, nor the interest in fetching for too long. After about 30 minutes he grows bored and then settles in to just chew on the ball. Time to head back home where he will now sleep for the remainder of the day.

Okay, there are some drawbacks to the dog. In the interest of fairness I will list those as well. Otto is an hellacious snorer. I'm not kidding you. Once he gets rolling he could put any napping grandpa in a recliner to shame. When the boys are here, he sleeps with them. When the boys were at camp, he tried to sleep in our room. He was banned in short order. Banished to the hallway where we can still hear him through the solid core door.

Second, Otto is a pansy. He is afraid of most loud noises and crinkling plastic or paper sends him to the furthest corner of the room. He might muster up a kind of a bark, but for the most part it sounds more like a big semi-sneeze-cough.

Last, if a clinical psychologist were to diagnose him with a metal illness it would be some form of o/c disorder. He likes things where they are supposed to be. If you move a chair, or heaven forbid, bring something new in the house (such as a vicious shopping bag placed haphazardly on the floor) his world erupts into uncertainty. He will circle it, bark at it and then just resort to a low continuous growl (while standing at least 7 feet away - - remember he is a pansy at heart.) With most things this is easily remedied by just telling him to "get over it" in a fairly stern voice. The single exception is the screen saver on any TV or computer. If he happens to see either of these, no matter how much you tell him that it's harmless, it doesn't have any effect. Obviously in "Otto World" these screen savers represent world annihilation.

But the real bottom line is that the boys really really really love him.

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