To own a dog is to be blessed with endless gifts of unconditional love, warm snuggles on cold nights, sweet smiles, and lots of laughter. On occasion, if your dog is klutzy or prone to forgetting where he last left his bone, that laughter is at the dog’s expense — but if the dog doesn’t know, it hardly matters, does it? Well, maybe it does. Here are five times my dog embarrassed me so gleefully and thoroughly that I almost suspect he was getting revenge.
My darling Pelle’s first offense as a puppy was not shredding the toilet roll, eating the last five pages of my newest book purchase, or herding all of my shoes into a pile in my living room — all of which he did, but which he did in private.
The first time I knew Pelle was interested in causing my lasting humiliation was when I was tremendously ill and asked my dog walker, Mike, to take Pelle on a group walk for me. Standing in my hallway with eight or so dogs, Mike let out a shriek when Pelle trotted excitedly from my bedroom to present Mike with several pairs of my dirty underwear, which he had lovingly extracted from my laundry hamper. As the eight dogs danced over my lingerie, making it impossible for me to pick anything up, Mike swore this wasn’t the first time he’d unwillingly seen a female customer’s private things. I was not comforted.
Pelle grew apace and stopped chewing on my various belongings, but he was still a young dog with a very big appetite. When we were in Manhattan one day, an unfortunate young woman walking with a large, pillowy Chinese pork bun lowered her arm a bit too close to Pelle’s mouth. The bun was gone before I could process that my dog was sailing through the air, ripping the pork bun from the woman’s hand, and swallowing it as he hit the ground. I shamefacedly apologized and offered to buy the woman a new pork bun from a nearby Chinese bakery. As you might imagine, the walk to the bakery with her was one of the most awkward exercises of my life.
Before I had Pelle, I owned another dog, a lovely, elderly, anxious mutt whom the shelter had named Crissy and who was a bit too ditzy to learn a new name. Crissy had various health problems and was fairly low energy — most of the time.
On a trip to the vet to pick up some medication for Crissy, I noticed that there was a Jack Russell already inside the waiting room. Since Cris was inexplicably terrified of Jack Russells, I tied her to a bench outside of a large window, where I figured I’d be able to keep an eye on her, and ducked inside the vet to quickly grab Cris’s pills.
From that large window, I was able to see Cris notice the Jack Russell inside and take off down First Avenue at a panicked speed, earning plenty of attention since she was still attached to a huge, wooden bench that clattered down the street behind her. I took off down the street with one of the vets, intent on catching her, and it took several more blocks and the help of many strangers who joined in the chase to finally corner and catch Crissy and her poor, hostage bench. I can’t imagine how it must have looked to any passersby or someone sitting in traffic along the way.
Pelle, who seems to have twice the energy my Cris had at the same age, loves strong smells, good or bad. He loves coating himself in strong smells even more. At trips to the pharmacy, he sometimes tries to climb into the stacked, scented soaps along the shower aisle. At the park, he’s happiest if he can roll in mud. Since it’s tough to tell from outside the park if it will still be wet after a recent rain, I’ve made the mistake of letting Pelle inside the dog park doors before I know if he’ll come out a mess. Here’s what happened last time I made that mistake:
Crying, begging, promising treats, cajoling — none of these would pull Pelle from his mud hole. Somehow this amused several other parkgoers to the point that they took pictures of him in the mud and remembered us the next time they saw us. One came up to me at a restaurant many months letter to show me the picture she’d taken of Pelle all muddied up. She assured me she’d shown it to all of her friends.
The first time we visited my boyfriend’s family with Pelle, I was determined to make sure he behaved. After all, Andy’s brother and sister-in-law lived in a pretty, well-maintained house with their three calm dogs, and I didn’t want them to think Andy’s new girlfriend was an idiot who couldn’t control a simple animal. We arrived in the midst of a backyard party.
Things were going well until Pelle, a fish-dog hybrid if ever there were one, discovered that Andy’s sister-in-law wouldn’t allow dogs in the above-ground pool. This was a wise and reasonable rule, so I didn’t imagine it would difficult to follow. Of course with Pelle, every rule is difficult to follow. Pelle refused to wade in the plastic kiddy pool the other dogs were enjoying. He hovered at the edge of the above-ground pool with begging eyes and a wagging tail. “No, no, no,” the sister-in-law reminded us several times. “The dog is not allowed in the pool!”
We swore up and down we weren’t going to help the dog into the pool, and he couldn’t jump high enough to get in by himself. Andy’s sister-in-law was frustrated that Pelle was even looking at the pool, but I figured he wasn’t causing any real harm and none of the many party guests seemed offended. I readied my camera to take some pictures of Pelle’s sad poolside posture and accidentally caught the terrible moment below.Turns out Pelle’s actually a pretty good jumper when he needs to be.
Once he got into the pool, Pelle somehow managed to dog paddle out of the sister-in-law’s angry reach for several long, horrifying seconds before I was able to pull him out of the water. Needless to say, my dog and I didn’t make a very good impression that day.
As I sit at my computer and affectionately laugh at Pelle, who’s gotten tangled in the bedsheets again, I suspect he’s plotting his next bit of revenge.
Please lessen my embarrassment by contributing the worst time your dog humiliated you in the comments section, so we can commiserate together! Dogster readers, you’re my only hope.
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About the author: Lauren Zimmer lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her boyfriend and dog. She is a children’s and young adult book reviewer and licensed social worker. Her dream is to become an animal-assisted therapist for children, and she hopes to someday own a farm where she can house many more adopted pets.