You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog
Cryin’ all the time
You aint nothin but a hound dog
Cryin’ all the time
– Elvis Presley
Mr. Big was tasked with babysitting his parents’ dog this weekend.
And trust me, this almost 5-years-old blonde Labrador Retriever, is quite the house guest…
It was December 2008 when Big and I picked Phinn (short for Dolphinneas [And yes, that is really his real name. Poor thing, I saved him from being named Shula.]) up just days before Christmas. I remember going all the way across town to Labrador Ln. to get him in the Danger Ranger. I remember taking pictures of his daddy – a huge chocolate Lab – from behind a wooden fence. We didn’t stay too long, just long enough for Big to meet Phinn’s parents, and for us to ask a few questions before we loaded back up in the truck and left.
He was such a lively little guy – this 8-week-old puppy – not timid at all to leave the only home he had ever known to come home with us. Phinn was beautiful too. His fur was the perfect shade of blonde, his eyes the color of honey, his nose was pink, and his head big and masculine just like his Dad’s. He played in the front seat with me, yapping at my hands, and gnawing on my wrists. “Aww. So cute,” I thought, “and he has such a happy disposition! Perfect for Daddy B!”
Phinn would make the fourth puppy gifted by Mr. Big to a loved one. “The gift that keeps on giving,” we all joke.
And boy did Phinn turn out to be a giver…
The afternoon of the pickup, it was cold out, so Big ran into Tractor Supply to grab a bag of puppy food and left me in the truck with our Christmas surprise. I sat in the truck with the puppy and tried to cuddle him. I tried to love on him and snuggle him as I had my own puppy just months before… but this guy wasn’t having it. His playful gnawing began to break skin. He would pounce on my wrists and hands like a cat and go to town. And honestly, I never would have guessed that an 8-week-old puppy would know how to hump my arm… but this one did.
What the hell kinda dog had we just bought? Was this puppy somehow a Charlie Sheen reincarnate? Naturally, Mr. Big thought the humping was hilarious but I was worried. Puppies shouldn’t know how to do those sorts of things. But what could we do? Take him back to Labrador Ln. and ask to exchange him for one slightly less promiscuous? No. He was our little Christmas slut puppy now and he was coming home with us regardless.
On Christmas Eve, in an effort to keep our big surprise concealed, Big tried to make the puppy sleep with him in his bed. However, Phinn had other plans. The energetic pup romped, and played, and wallered all over Big all night long. So at daybreak on Christmas morning, after a night full of head gnawing, yipping, and no sleep, Big finally just gave up and handed the dog over to Daddy B (mainly for relief). Surprise! Merry Christmas! Ho! Ho! Ho! Here’s a new dog! Woo!
Reviews were mixed. Mixed because Momma B wasn’t too thrilled about the idea of having to worry about another dog (they already had a Boston Terrier, Gracie [another Big gift…])… much less a large, smelly one, with a humping problem. Nonetheless, Phinn became part of the family and many, many, many horror stories later, here we are! The end!
Well, not so fast…
I have always loved Phinn. Loved Phinn as if he were my own canine. Anytime Momma and Daddy B head out of town I have no problem offering up Mr. Big’s babysitting services. After all, Big did so graciously bring Phinn into our world. He should have to reap the benefits every so often, no? Anyhow, the problem is, Phinn went through a very tumultuous puppy stage (he was humping at 2 months… what did we expect). And we’re not talking a little shoe-chewing or doing #2 in the house every once in a while either. We’re talking gnawing every single nob (including the gear-shifter) off of the dash of every one of Daddy B’s vehicles, chewing sticks until he gave himself colic, and locking himself inside of the truck when Daddy B was pumping gas. And this dog didn’t just chew on sticks and plastic either, his specialty was glass. Yes, glass. He could get a hold of a box of light bulbs or mason jars and have them shattered from one corner of a room to the other in seconds.
It seemed like every week for the first three years of his life, we were getting a phone call about something Phinn had done. “Phinn’s been rolling in cow turds again!” “Well, we can’t get Phinn to stay out of the pool long enough so we can get in and relax.” “Phinn ran out in the road and got his balls ran over by a car.” (Not exactly sure how the last one happened, but it’s true, his balls really never dropped all the way after that accident…) As sweet as he was, he was a handful. Although, he did eventually grow out of all of the shenanigans. He matured. Of course, we couldn’t ever break him of his love of swimming. But then again he is a Lab – what can ya do? So when Big told me last Thursday he would be keeping Phinn for the weekend I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Okay.”
We did a test run Friday night.
Sonny and Phinn have spent copious amounts of time with one another. Actually, truth be told, they are the best of hump buddies. However, Sonny immediately wasn’t diggin’ the idea of Phinn being on his turf. Sonny went into jealous bitch mode and started barking and shoulder checking him the moment he came through the door. My 50-pound wild beast protecting his territory – so cute. Phinn, on the other hand, strolled straight through the living room and into the kitchen. In one swipe his tail liked to take out my entire bar. To the deck he went.
It was going to be a long night.
Throughout the evening, Big would bring Phinn inside and try to force the two dogs to sit in the same room together without moving. Sonny would stretch his body over our feet in-between the couch and the coffee table and growl the second Phinn got too close. And then Phinn would growl back. And then Sonny would growl. And then Phinn would growl and let a burp slip. It was all very comical but too much for an entire evening so Big and Phinn went home around 10:30.
On Sunday night we tried it again.
It started out with more of the same – growl, growl, deck, growl, growl, hide under a chair, deck. But when I got out of the shower, I walked into the living room to find both dogs sleeping on the floor and Big watching football on the couch. Wow. Everyone was being civil. So, I slid onto the couch with Big and we watched Walking Dead. When our show finished up Mr. Big looked at me and said, “Can Phinn and I just stay the night?” I cut him the eye. “He’ll sleep on the floor just like he is right now. They will be fine. I promise.” Ugh. I promise. I was workin’ with a six-year-old. “Whatever,” I rolled my eyes and walked off to bed.
Getting them both wrangled into my room and to sleep wasn’t too bad. Sonny slept at the foot of the bed on his night-night and Phinn sprawled out on the floor beside of me. I finally started to relax enough to close my eyes and then suddenly it caught me right in face. Phinn farted. It stunk so bad it left a bad taste in my mouth. “Are you kidding me, Phinn?!” I yelled, swatting at the air. Big flopped around on his side of the bed laughing. “Phinn has no shame does he?” Ha. Ha. Ha. (Note to self – check for holes in your carpet when you wake up in the morning.)
After the air cleared, we all fell asleep.
Until someone decided it was go-time at 4:25 in the morning.
Phinn was up rummaging around my room nosing into God knows what.
I quietly got up and padded both dogs to the door, “Alright, all dogs outside.” Phinn darted towards the deck. Sonny didn’t move. Damn it. I let Phinn do his business, let him back in the house, and then ushered Sonny outside. The bastards couldn’t even go outside and use the bathroom together. I felt like I was transporting inmates. Ugh. This was getting exhausting.
At one point, I remember laying down and resting my head on the back of the couch. Just as I closed my eyes I felt something blowing on my face. Phinn. I peeked through one eye in the dark to find a pink nose resting millimeters from my own. “Hi Phinn,” I said, as I ruffled his ears. He may be a pain in the ass but he is a sweet… and cute… and smart pain in the ass. I got up to check on Sonny. He was somewhere in the yard peeing on everything Phinn might have touched in the last three days. Ugh. “Hey Sonny, you wanna treat?”
He cheerfully hopped up the stairs and trotted through the door. I shut the door behind him, “You’re not getting a treat, fool. You assholes are going back to bed.” And then Sonny saw Phinn, and Phinn saw Sonny, and Sonny darted for the living room chair. Really? I made a sorry attempt to rescue my little nugget from under the furniture but he wouldn’t budge. “Fine. To hell with you both,” I said as I walked back down the hall and flipped on the bedroom light.
The light startled Big.
It was supposed to. It was 4:00 a.m. and he was sleeping through everything. This was supposed to be his job. His dog. His job. He promised, remember? Even in my 4:00-in-the-morning haze I distinctly remember thinking, “He better not think this is how it’s gonna work if we have kids. Sorry, brah, but you can get your silly ass up too.”
I crawled back into bed.
Soon after I tossed the sheet over my legs, in came Sonny. He laid down on the floor beside of me. “Hi, Buggy,” I whispered as I scratched the top of his head. Soon after Sonny laid down, in came Phinn. I rolled out of bed again to shut the door, climbed back over bodies of fur, and fell into bed.
Evidently Phinn hadn’t realized Sonny had stolen his spot.
I warned Sonny to drop the issue and told Phinn to go lay down.
The quiet only lasted for so long though. Phinn couldn’t get comfortable. He paced the room in front of my bed. He walked into the bathroom. I heard the click-click-clicking of his toenails on the linoleum. And then it stopped. He started lapping up water. Big huge gulps of water. Whole mouthfuls of water.
“Damn it Phinn! Ya don’t drink toilet water! What the hell is wrong with you?!”
I couldn’t believe that he was actually drinking out of my toilet. I thought dogs only did that in the movies? Still shocked, and sort of laughing, I hopped out of bed again and tried not to trip over the sleeping hound at my feet. Phinn went for another water break and then met me at the bathroom door. He buried his wet face into my bare legs. “Eww! Phinn! You just got toilet water all over me!” He kissed me one last time before he walked to the center of my bedroom and shook.
I shut the bathroom door and went back to bed… again.
On Monday morning I woke up to a big wet Phinn kiss planted right smack in the middle of my face. Toilet breath and all. He rested his head on the edge of the bed until I finally acknowledged him, “I just washed these sheets yesterday, Phinn.”
I was exhausted. I felt like I hadn’t slept all night long. My room smelled like an ASPCA and I could only imagine what my mirrored furniture looked like with toilet water slung all over it. But oddly enough, I didn’t really care. Having two dogs was funny. It made the house feel fuller (okay so maybe that was just Phinn’s tail…). Their personalities were so different and comical together. Then again, being a mother of two for a couple of days wasn’t always dog treats and sunshine. They fought over toys, and overturned furniture, and barked incessantly in the backyard. There were a few times I thought Sonny was going to have a nervous breakdown… but he didn’t. Everything turned out fine – farts, toilet water breaks, burps, and all.
So I’ve been wondering…
Kinda thinking that just maybe… Sonny needs a SISTER!
What do y’all think, Ballas?!