My dad has this fancy toy (it’s not really fancy, but oh well) called the Chuck It. It’s a little handle that you hold onto, and it scoops up this orange and blue ball that dogs love to grip onto with their mouths. It’s an invaluable, ingenius little device that’s really helpful in a pinch and makes going outside in the yard with Roxxie, my dad’s dog, super easy and fun. I’d like to think it’s because of the dog, who’s a big goofball and loves attention more than anything else, but I think some of the responsibility has to fall on the Chuck It for being so easy to use. Scooping up the ball after Rox returns it to me is accomplished in one seamless motion (most of the time) and I get to throw it right back to her, as easily as ever.
In all, I’ve enjoyed being able to take care of my dad’s dog. She’s a goofball, as I mentioned already, and she loves getting rubs and affection. She reminds me of Angus, Alex and I’s older dog, whom I miss dearly and wish was still around with me. Even though I have Jace now, who I still love and care for, he’s not as affectionate as Angus was, and Angus also was my first pet. I owned him as much as Alex owned him, and I felt responsible for his treatment all the same. Every time I see dad’s dog, I’m reminded of the dog I used to have, and how things may have turned out differently had I been a better person. Oh well, no use lingering on the past for too long.
I thought I could write a whole 300-word blog post about this one toy, but I guess it’s harder than it sounds.
Once, a long time ago, I think while I was still in grad school, I watched a dog for my cousin’s neighbors in Madison. It was in this huge, gaudy mansion with a massive, fluffy monster of a dog. Their mansion had three or four floors, with a top floor dedicated entirely to games and arcades. It was immense and incredible, and I wish I got the chance to go back there and scout out how it’s changed in the time since then. But what’s most likely going to happen is I won’t have the chance to go back, considering I accidentally broke their dishwasher. It was an unfortunate situation, but honestly the dishwasher was kind of shoddy considering the rest of the house was such great quality and in such incredible condition.
I remember sitting downstairs at their desk, on the first floor, looking up at the huge balconies above me from the other floors, and blasting Queens of the Stone Age from the speakers. They had speakers that played throughout the whole house, so it felt like a concert going on just for me. I think the song was “You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, But I Feel Like a Millionaire,” which starts really low and then explodes about a third of the way through into thunderous guitar and drums. Josh Homme, the leader of the band, is an absolute maniac and I love him. Such a creative mind, and I love the inspiration behind the song.
Well, originally this blog post was going to be about how I’ve been watching my dad’s dog for the past few days and will be continuing to do so for the next few days, too. It’s been nice being able to go to his place and take care of another animal.
Ango is the perfect dog, and I miss him immensely. It’s not the same being home with Minnie, even though she’s great in her own way too. I’ve known her for longer, first of all; I only knew Ango for a year. But I feel like we had a special connection between us. I saw him more than anyone else over this year, because I got home from work sooner than Alex did and I was around over breaks and the entire summer. We hung out considerably and had lots of fun together. I miss when he would jump up on me as soon as I got home.
To think about it, this has actually been the longest stretch of time I’ve spent without having Angus directly in my life. He’s still alive, obviously, he just doesn’t exist in the same place as I do. And that sucks. I want him to smile, I want him to feel safe and warm and loved. I worry that he’s not going to get that as much with the schedule that he’ll have to adjust to now. The odds of him getting into the trash are likely much higher than they were before, but that’s besides the point. I just miss having him around.
He took some getting used to, that’s for sure, but moving from a place with Ango to a place without Ango inherently sucks. Ango supported me on bad days, and he gave me love when he knew I was feeling down or sad. I know it probably seems unbelievable, but dogs do have a special power for recognizing and acting upon the emotional states of their owners. I know I joked often about how he was mostly dumb and not as smart as Alex made him seem, but I did so from a place of recognizing that he has some smarts that are uniquely Angus.
I also realized recently that I haven’t written about Ango much on this blog since my last post, which was over a couple weeks ago. Since then, it’s been mostly video games and work and things like that, without much of a focus on what’s really important: the dogs and other pets in our lives.
We took Ango to the vet a few times recently, once to get him checked up and the other time so that he could get tested for heartworm again. He’s still showing light signs of heartworm in him, but that could just be from the test, and it likely is because he’s not showing any of the symptoms of having heartworm. He’s not lethargic or anything like that, not even close. This dog is a bundle of wild energy whenever anyone starts moving around.
For example, yesterday morning I woke up and walked out of the bedroom to find Ango panting at me from the couch. It had no discernible purpose to it, just that he felt like panting and needed to get something out of his system. He’s so funny and lovable that it’s impossible to stay angry at him for long, especially because he doesn’t hold grudges. He’s just a dog, after all, and he wants love more than anything else.
Being a dog owner has been a wonderful privilege and experience, though a bit on the expensive side, while we talk about going to the vet. The good thing is that we shouldn’t have to take him back in awhile; he’s good to go and doesn’t need anything else for at least a few months, I think. I always feel a bit worried before we go to the vet because of that. Who knows what they’ll say about him this time? Hopefully just good things.
Speaking of celebrating, Ango is rapidly approaching the 100 mark on his home tracker. By the time this post goes up, hopefully he’ll have made it without any issues or problems. He’s been a really good boy so far and hasn’t made a stink about being left alone in the apartment, even though he has every right to. I feel bad whenever I have to go to work for 8 hours, because I know he’s probably just sitting and waiting for me to come back. It’s like that Spongebob meme where Patrick tells Spongebob that all he does when he’s working is wait for him to come home so they can play again.
But Ango’s big 100 day achievement is not made any less important because of the fact that a majority of those days were spent lounging with me on the couch during the summer. He didn’t seem to mind those days and he enjoyed having constant company, but that doesn’t cheapen the fact that he’s still lasted almost 100 days without wrecking the apartment. He’s just as capable of wrecking the apartment while we’re around as he is while he’s home alone. The only difference is the degree of surveillance he’s under, which in this case was still very little, actually.
I just took a break from writing this blog to give Ango some head rubs. He loves when I grab his head lightly and tug behind his ears with all my might; he just seems to gravitate towards those types of rubs, the more eager and energetic ones. I love when he really leans into it and waits for me to finish so he can give celebratory licks. I love when he puts his head down, as if to say that he’s really enjoying this and needs to savor it while it’s still happening. He’s such a silly boy.
Sometimes we call Angus a big sausage because he looks very much like one. He’s big, full of love, and definitely a sausage. There’s no mistaking it: this dog is a sausage.
I mean, look at him.
He’s a big sausage and there’s no mistaking it.
No but really, this post is going to be Ango, our wonderful dog. The other weekend, he slipped, went airborne and fell on his side on the hardwood floor. It was his own fault, really, because he was getting super excited and running around the kitchen, which he’s not supposed to do, but he did it anyway because sometimes Ango is a jerk and doesn’t follow the rules exactly. He sometimes moans and makes groaning noises from across the room because he has nothing better to do than to do that. He just did it right as I was typing, actually, so he knows I’m writing about him from across the room. It’s part of his nature for him to want to be the center of attention, which is hilarious because as soon as people actually start paying attention to him, he’s already running over to one of his toys to bite and chew on. He can’t stand being excited for too long without having to chew on something close by, whether it’s the blanket in bed or a toy near him. He’s a fickle boy with fickle interests, but we love him for it.
This post might make it seem like I’m not exactly celebrating everyone’s favorite big sausage boy, but in reality I love him a ton and I’d rather have no other dog. I’m glad we were able to rescue him at the age of 6 and offer him a happy place to live out the rest of his adult years. He’s wonderful, and he deserves that kind of happiness above all else.
I’m dedicating blog post #300 to the good boy himself, Ango. He’s been a consistently great part of my life, despite his tendency to be a bit of a butt from time to time, and I don’t write enough blog posts about him. So today, it’s Ango time. Well-deserved, little dude.
Earlier in the day, when Alex and I were about to leave for the gym, Alex had Angus’s kong in his hand with a treat inside, and Angus jumped up and put his front paws on the table, knocking over all the magazines we had stacked up there. We were in the middle of talking about how Angus had been a good boy recently as this unfolded, which was perfectly ironic.
Angus is a wonderful dog, and I’ve learned some of his sweet spots too. If you rub his ears and head and push him towards you, he loves it. He just loves being pet and having rubs all over his head. When he leans into you, and his head is almost right up next to yours, that’s also a sign that he loves it and wants more. He really takes it all to heart. I love when I pet him on a specific spot, and then seconds later he rubs himself on that spot, either with his paws or mouth. It’s like he’s asking for it again but is only able to do a half-hearted job with his own two paws. A shame, but he tries his best and that’s what matters.
If Angus had the ability to pet himself wherever he wanted, he would definitely do so. He’s the type of dog who would definitely do whatever it takes to get there. Sometimes I get the chance to see what that reality would be like when he really gets into the self-petting.
The bedroom is probably Angus’s favorite place in the whole apartment. Without a doubt, he loves jumping on the bed as soon as the door opens, laying his paws down on the blankets, and relaxing his head between them. He is staunch and predictable in his habits. When I come home from work, one of the first things I do is take Angus out, but after that, I’ll open the closed doors in the apartment. Angus will, without fail, jump onto the bed seconds after the door opens. He loves the feel of being atop those blankets more than anything. That’s why we have blankets covering the sectional in our living room; that way, when Angus is home alone for a time, like when both of us have work, he can still relax the way he enjoys. However, it’s not the same for him. If he had to choose between the bedroom blankets and the couch blankets, he’d choose the bedroom blankets without thinking twice, or at all. And we’ve tried switching the blankets around. It doesn’t make much of a difference if the blankets have changed. Angus still prefers the bed, perhaps because of the height advantage, or perhaps because he’s surrounded by pillows and other comfortable stuff to lounge near.
When Angus is off the bed, he likes to rub his head through the ends of the blankets draped near the ground. Sometimes he gets caught in them, and that’s hilarious to watch. When we have company over he especially likes to show off his disappearing magic trick, where he sticks his head inside the blankets and proceeds to run around like crazy. Angus is unintentionally one of the funniest pets I’ve ever known, and I think it’s one of his defining features by this point. Having him around immediately lifts the mood.
When the time arrived, we gathered our things — the backpack, the watermelon salad in a grocery bag, Jimmy’s clothes and things — and left the apartment. It was 11:00am, and we knew we wouldn’t be back for awhile longer. It’s on days like these when I worry about Angus, our dog, who hasn’t been alone for very long over the summer. He hasn’t run into any problems in 52 days, hasn’t tore up the incense holder but has certainly torn a bunch of his toys. He’s been a busy boy, spending time mostly home with me, taking walks or casual strolls around the apartment and back and forth a few times until he decides to pee. He’s a long walker, and he’s got ambitions of his own when we take him outside; sometimes those ambitions include walking around and dragging me through the park until he finally decides it’s time for him to plop down and poop.
But there are other times when Angus is alone, and I feel bad for him. He’s a good dog and I don’t like the image of him sitting on the couch, waiting for us to eventually come back and greet him again. I feel like it must be lonely for him to sit there by himself, eagerly anticipating our return only for it to not come for another hour or more. I know it’s normal, and eventually he’ll get used to it again after I have to return to work, but when that time comes, I’ll still be feeling bad about our dog. The alone time is never fun, and I know that already based on what it was like while I was unemployed not too long ago. This is what the alone time is; Angus mostly being by himself when there’s nothing better for us to be doing with him.
Again, this post is a continuation of the previous two posts, so read those if you haven’t already before this one!
Last time, we were on the topic of Angus and his communication skills, and how novel it is that he’s able to talk to us through his actions.
The silence and stubbornness is, of course, not the only way that Angus communicates with us though; he wags his tail when he’s excited, he barks when he’s angered or alert or in pain, and he lounges the rest of the time, communicating to us that he doesn’t want to be bothered for the foreseeable future. I don’t blame him, of course; I would want the same thing if all I had to do every day was lounge and relax like a big lard boy. It’s almost as if he’s a very old man trapped in a dog’s body, which I say but then remember as I’m writing that he’s 6, not totally a new dog on the block. He’s been around a few times before.
Like Walt Whitman, this dog contains multitudes. He’s full of energy and complexity, whenever I get the chance to take a good look at him. I hate when people say that dogs don’t have real personalities, memories, or affections for their owners; I can absolutely sense a desire for closeness with us whenever Angus is around. He loves attention to the point that he will whine for it sometimes, but not often. When he lets out a moo or a moan, it’s communicating to us that he wants something, or that he’s just gotten into a really comfortable position and does not want to be disturbed. I’m envious of him whenever he gets like that; I can only imagine how comfortable life must be as a dog, when you’re made of fur and hair and able to get rubs whenever you ask for it.