The T-shirt named All I need is this dog and that other dog and those dog over there. I was never a dog person, nope, not me. Growing up we had cats here and there, and I assumed a dog was a bigger, smellier version of a cat without the dignity needed to poop in a litter box. Why bother with that mess, I’d think all smug, watching the dog people in my neighborhood walk up and down the street holding plastic baggies filled with vileness, letting them swing precariously back and forth like they were the latest Coach wristlet. And then, a decade ago, we were robbed. It was mild as home invasions go, which is the absurd kind of thing you learn to say after a lifetime of urban living. Either way we weren’t home at the time and all the perps made away with was an old clunky laptop and a large beer growler we had re-purposed into a change jar.
See more All I need is this dog and that other dog and those dog over there shirt
They’d looked for more, throwing my collection of hoochie hoops I’d bought at Claire’s around my bedroom in disgust, but we didn’t have much. Pro tip for people looking to rob houses: stay away from the ones with kids. We can’t afford anything nice and even if we could, the kids would break/rip/pee on it. Later on I’d laugh at the image of these tough guys running away from our house with jug full of pennies clinking around, but not then. Because all I need is this dog and that other dog and those dog over there shirt. Then, the break-in left me unnerved, which is a polite way of saying I had a complete full-on nervous breakdown: crying, wailing, writing passive aggressive messages to the robbers in my kids chalk on the driveway. Eventually, I caught my breath, clear headed with purpose. I knew what we needed to do.
All I need is this dog and that other dog
So the next day my sister and I followed a newspaper ad out to a farm and a man put a puppy into my arms and before Nick could finish saying “OVER MY DEAD BODY” we were home and the dog was named Boss, as in Springsteen. He was sweet and crazy and bite-y and bark-y and crazy and did not, despite my best intentions, have any interest in using the litter box. Because all I need is this dog and that other dog and those dog over there shirt. I’d say it happened all at once, this not-a-dog-person becoming one, except it wasn’t like that. It’s a slow creep, so slow you don’t realize it until it’s too late, until you’re out there scooping up poop and carrying it around in a little bag like it’s cute or something.
And those dog over there
Eventually I was talking to him too, and not just commands or directions but asking questions, like what should we make for dinner tonight or who was going to win in the midterms or would he like his belly scratched, would he, would he, who’s a good boy, who’s a good boy, who’s a good boy. Barf. It’s amazing how I didn’t realize I’d lost it, still fancying myself not so much of a dog person as I TOOK HIM INTO THE SHOWER WITH ME once after a flea medicine mishap, using up half a bottle of the good shampoo and letting him take a the good towel while I drip dried, shivering.