The Papa Files by Vincent Cardegin
Both my kids have pests—I mean pets. One has four dogs, two old and small, and two new and tall. The other has two dogs, one as big as a Shetland pony that doesn’t know when it’s pooping, the other not much bigger than a gopher and barks all the time when I’m there, and three cats, one afraid of everything, one sometimes curious, and an elderly feline, a rescue, that I recognize as an old soul that needs some nip every day.
The Shetland and the gopher don’t bother me much when I’m at that house, though the pony dog is often in the way, walking around and taking a nap right where people need to walk. But every time I go in the four-dog house I am accosted. I don’t like dogs barking at me or jumping on me, and I sure as hell don’t like them sniffing my butt and crotch. I think dogs sniff each other that way to see what they’re eating: Sniff, sniff, “Humm, they’re feeding you Kibbles and Bits. Lucky dog!” Don’t know what they’re finding when they sniff me. Maybe tacos of scrambled eggs and chorizo for brunch? A supper plate of rice and chicken strips? A night bowl of flaked corn and strawberries? Perhaps they can tell when I’ve had pizza, and that’s what their sniffing for, thinking, “Ahhh, you’ve eaten pepperoni and mozzarella on yeasty crust. Lucky dog-human!”
Well, I don’t like such canine accostations. To be fair and accurate, only two of her dogs, the bigger, younger ones, do that. The older next size down just walks around and growls with a stuffed chew toy in its mouth, while the other older, and smallest, stands quietly by. Intelligent dog, that one.
My daughter (of the four dogs) recommends I watch Dog Whisperer, but I have only been able to tolerate and appreciate South Park’s episode seven of season ten: “Tsst.” I found it hilarious and poignant to the necessity of teaching children how to be civilized. But I do not want to be the pack leader of dogs. I don’t want to be around animals at all. I would love to live in a high-rise apartment, like I’ve seen in sci-fi movies, notably the Star Wars city backgrounds, a place up around the twenty-thousandth floor where I don’t have to deal with trees, especially palm, or a yard or a garden, and hopefully there’s a sign at the entrance almost forty miles below that reads No Pets Allowed.
However, I suppose I might need to overcome my dislike for pets and at least scratch behind the ears and pat the heads and backs of my kids’ dogs to let them know I’m a friend of the family, and perhaps they will stop accosting me, physically and verbally, with their uncertain allegiance. Then after I wash my hands, I can get to the business of why I’m there. I don’t think that will happen, but we’ll see.
P.S. accostation (ə’kôst ā’shən), n. 1. the act of accosting. 2. to confront incessantly. 3. to jump on and/or stick one’s nose in the private parts of others. [2020; not found in standard dictionaries]