Theo Fannybrice is my dog, my little bastard, my stubborn, aloof Cairn terrier. Crap, he’s practically a cat. And if he were, I wouldn’t have to walk and shovel after him. Anyone who says, “A dog’s love is unconditional” hasn’t met this pooch. He’s loaded with conditions. Like, you can be near me, but you may not touch me. Sometimes he’s so adorable I can’t stand it, so I’ll reach over to stroke his husky blonde body. Inevitably, he looks down his nose at me, gets up, and moves a good foot or two away, as in, “You had to ruin it. You had to put your hands on me.”
I do all the work – the feeding, the walking, the 2 a.m. tag-jingling i gotta pee runs, the shoveling sand back into the craters he leaves all over our main hangout, Fort Funston. I spent the better part of a month on a bed nursing Theo post-surgery for a torn ligament across his right rear knee, even after he bit the watch off my wrist because he was royally pissed about the operation and its aftermath. So pissed that he spent six hours in the backyard unwilling to look at us and waited until 5 p.m. the next day to relieve his bladder.
Still, the Lord & Master is his favorite. Yep, the L&M gets all the licks, all the waggy tail action, all the I’ll roll onto my back so you can pet me. I’m merely the hired help.
I urged Hot Pants to get a dog, and she did – the sweetest little lady, Pancake. When I visit Lady P., she showers me with a good three minutes of French kisses, not to mention cuddles galore. Her warm heart shows in her every move. Like Hot Pants, Panny is known and loved by all within a five mile radius. My beast growls if you even try to lift him up, let alone break one of his many commandments, like don’t approach me from behind. Or, don’t come within a foot of me if I’m chewing on a bone.
Mr. Fannybrice is a polarizing hound out at Fort Funston. I’ve been screamed and cursed at for allowing him to dig, even though I take my shovel and rearrange his handiwork. A six foot tall grown man complained to the Park Police that my 25 pound rascal “threatened” him. To his credit, the policeman couldn’t help laughing when he saw the scamp in question. Some cheer Theo on, an infamy to which he remains blissfully unaware.
That I have a dog at all amuses my family no end. You see, as a first grader I watched The Wizard of Oz from the safety of Daddy’s armpit. As everyone sat misty eyed murmuring “There’s no place like home,” my confused face caught Mah’s eye.
Wiggles: Why is everyone saying “there’s no place like home”?
Jeanne: That’s the point of the movie.
Wiggles: That’s not the point of this movie. The point is don’t get a dog! A dog is nothing but trouble!
Jeanne said she knew then and there that I would take the rocky road through life. My version of the story was just the beginning of a skewed reality that has led me stumbling along to dead ends and haphazard judgments.
Little Toto, too, you may remember, was a Cairn Terrier. Canine justice, no doubt.
Bottom line: for all my complaints, I LOVE THIS DOG. To bits. To bits & bits & bits. My cantankerous, withholding, grouchy old man of a dog. Come on Theo, one cuddle, that’s all I ask.