Wednesday, July 14, 2010
This is not meant as an insult to dogs, by the way. They have lots of redeeming qualities such as loyalty and playfulness, and it's kind of fun to watch them run around in confusion when you pretend to throw the tennis ball. But let's be honest here, if dogs were any dumber, they be cats. Or reality television stars.
You won't be surprised to learn at this point that I am not a dog lover. I am, at best, a dog liker. This means that while I have formed a tentative cohabitation agreement with the two dogs that live in my home, I'm not particularly fond of the rest of the species. And in the case of some breeds (I'm looking at YOU, poodles), I have what would best be described as outright loathing.
Which brings us to my cocker spaniel named Munson.
So yeah, Munson is pretty cool. He's no genius, but he seems to have things figured out around here. He's able to distinguish between indoors and outdoors when it comes to doing his business, he's an accomplished fetch player (though the "return" part is hit-or-miss), and he is consistently able to outwit the other dog in our home, Newton, when it comes to finding and then hiding the best toys. To be completely fair, though, this isn't real impressive. Newton is, even by dog standards, a bit of a dunce.
Over the past several months, though, I've come to the conclusion that Munson has obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Sufferers of OCD have certain behaviors that they MUST perform, otherwise they will, and here I use the medical terminology, go all batshit. For example, some people with OCD wash their hands hundreds of times a day because they are obsessed with cleanliness. Others have to have things organized a certain way, some have rituals like tapping a door five times before closing it, and in one bizarre case (I'm not making this up) a guy had to go thorough the motion of wiping off his hands whenever he saw an El Camino or even heard the WORDS "El Camino."
Munson's case isn't that extreme, but he's still kinda quirky.
Another example, he always has to lay down or sleep in a corner of a room. Not on the bed, not in the middle of the floor. It has to be a corner. And he normally gathers up all his toys and surrounds himself with them. The rubber teddy bear. The stuffed bone. Even the squeaky pig which, given his sordid past, is kind of ironic.
He's also a compulsive digger. This is somewhat annoying when he's tearing up the back yard, but it's hilarious when he's on the tile floor in the kitchen. He gets the front paws going real fast, to the point where he looks like Wile E. Coyote spinning his feet in place, trying to avoid plunging to the bottom of a canyon.
For all his idiosyncrasies though, Munson's about as good a dog as one could hope for. He's not going to be performing on America's Smartest Canines or anything, but on the other hand, he doesn't eat his own poop. He's one of the family, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention his single greatest quality:
He's not a friggin' poodle.