Monday, June 15, 2009

Barking Man

Oatie, also known as Barking Man, is my best friend in Portland. I take him everywhere with me. He's Mr. Casual, looking like he's riding a rollercoaster, rather than hanging over my orange-fleece-covered arm, not even bothering to feel nervous by the thought that with a little slip he could be on the floor. Nah, he trusts me. We are buds like that.

We go way back. Back to when I first visited Carrie in Grand Forks, North Dakota. She'd told me that she got a chihuahua. I thought, "Why in God's name would you ever get one of those ugly things?" I went to visit at Christmas, braving the death-welcoming tundra that is December in North Dakota. At Carrie's house, she tried to get me to hold The Dog. I have never liked dogs, ever since they chased me down the street in Alexandria, trying to eat me alive. I know that's what they were thinking. Anyway. I said, "What if he pees on me?"

"Oh, he's never peed on anyone!" Carrie pushed him at me. She's like that sometimes.

What could a little rat dog like this do, anyway? I tried fake like him. But he knew I was lying. He peed on me. At end of the visit, my sister insisted on photodocumentation of me holding the dogs, pretending I thought they were cute. I did not think they were cute.

I flew home, happy to return to my solitary existence.

A couple years later, I agreed to let Carrie move in with me. Well I was VERY HAPPY to have Carrie move in with me. I decided I could PUT UP with The Dog.

For three months, I hated him. I ignored him. He peed on things. I got mad. I wanted him to move out.

I decided I should fake like him again. So I started to pick him up and hug him and tell him, "I love you." This is where the psych degree comes in handy. I started to LOVE the dog. It must have been that mind training that I was doing on him. It backfired.

So I moved to NZ. And I missed The Dog. I would think of him jumping up and down when I came in the door. I was sad.

I returned home to Portland and the first person who I saw was Oatie. He squealed in his kennel and jiggled the door. It was a fantastic reunion, complete with smelly dog breath licking on my face. (Of which I am still not a fan.)

We've settled into our routine. Walks every other day to the coffee shop. Picking up strangers everywhere. Peeing on everything that looks like it could be a tree or bush (that's just Oatie, not me!) I jump into the car. Oatie jumps into the car. (Okay, sometimes he's too lazy to jump into the car and just looks at me pathetically until I pick him up.) We cruise the streets of Portland, hanging out the windows.

Sometimes when I'm not looking, he sneaks a lick on my face, aiming for the lips. Sometimes he misses the mark and gets his tooth caught in my nose in his fervor. He knows I don't like it, but he does it anyway. He's a man like that.

Today we dressed him up in his Gap sweatshirt. He abruptly became comatose with warmth.

I took him to our coffeeshop. The one that lets the dog come in and sit on my lap. Yes I am now one of THOSE people. A dog person.


Josh and Molly said...

Cute:) Oatie is quite sweet!

auntie dj said...

If you turned Oatie facing backwards it would look kind of like your blog picture - ears could be dogtails instead of pigtails....or maybe you could take one of you facing frontwards and open your mouth like that and you could be Oatie too!
love, auntie dj