There are few things worse than people who brag about their pets; like they have anything to do with it. Your pet is not part of your gene pool. Unless your dog can give handies, no one wants to hear about it.
“Chad caught a ball!” So did I. No one cares. And certainly no one bragged about it.
“Santana saved me from being burned to death in my own shed!”
Well, yeah. Santana should do that. He has instincts. He’s an animal. And you don’t get credit for that. If anything, it’s a miracle Santana has any semblance of instincts left after all the sweaters and doggie colonics. What I want to hear about is the dog that is beyond hard to love; not the dog that has been treated poorly and then rescued and blah blah blah. I want to hear about the pet that isn’t cute or sweet or “now thriving in its new home.” I want some animal realness.
My sophomore year of college I needed to get a job. I found a posting for a personal assistant just a few blocks from campus so I hauled ass over there for an interview. A sick building on Park Avenue, I stepped off the elevator and heard barking; like maniacal, frantic, barking. It sent a chill down my spine. With each step I took closer to the apartment, the barking became more maniacal, more panicked.
“What the fuck kind of X-File-esque animal is behind this door??” I wondered.
I swear that dog opened the door because there was no person standing there. I looked down to see....a 12 pound Shitzu. A 12 pound Shitzu with some kind of mange. Between maniacal, panicked barks it was trying to chew off its own haunches. It was absolutely disgusting, all patchy, with crusty eyes wild and snapping.
It didn’t take a step towards me but its barkbarkBARKING was enough to make me want to jump out of a window.
“Oh, for crissakes, be quiet!!” I exclaimed and this Upper East Side stain laid on its back, wagging its shoelace of a tail. In a moment I will forever believe was the most dangerous moment in all of my life, I bent down to find some part of its psoriatic belly to scratch. Its barking silenced, shoelace wagging like an old flower stem in the wind.
“You’re hired,” a voice behind me stated. And thus began the adventures of me and Mr. Brindy.
I got paid 10 bucks an hour, twenty hours a week, to hand feed Mr. Brindy veal meatloaf, walk him, and pick up his poop. I did not realize the job posting was for a personal assistant for a dog, not a human....
But what the fuck did I care? Mr. Brindy and I owned the Upper East Side of Manhattan. We took walks. We sat in the park and people watched. Mr. Brindy looked like he had just escaped doggy Alcatraz; no one wanted to pet this thing. One eye was crusted shut with mange. I had to put ointment on it so it was all wet, goopy. He kept trying to chew his ears. They looked like thinned out old leaves.
One morning, Mr. Brindy was taking a poop on Park Avenue. I bent down with my baggie covered hand to pick it up and when I stood back up, Cindy Crawford walked by. She was stunning. Cindy Crawford took one look at Mr. Brindy, the morning sun not softening his hideousness one goddamn bit and she practically ran away in her tan mules.
“It’s ok, Brindster. She doesn’t deserve you,” I said, scratching the one centimeter on his back that wasn’t inflamed. But he couldn’t have cared less. Mr. Brindy knew his place at the table. And it wasn’t at Cindy Crawford’s.
We walked by children and heard them scream.
“Ewwww!!!!! What kind of dog is that, Mommy??”
He was the kind of dog that postal workers had been warned about, that’s what kind, you jags.
Mr. Brindy didn’t do tricks. He farted in the elevator and made Mr. Bowman, the 85 year old man that lived next door, dry heave, which is a trick, I guess, if you chose to look at it that way. And I did.
Mr. Brindy snarled at roller bladers, barked insanely at anyone within his field of vision - except for me - and once squirted a quick stream of piss on a dude who fell asleep with a book over his face in the park. Right on the dude’s left leg. I fell to the ground with laughter. Mr. Brindy didn’t need Cindy Crawford. He knew who and what he was. That’s more than I can say for most people.
When the semester ended, I had a final walk with Mr. Brindy before I left for the summer. We went through the park and to the duck pond so he could bark at the ducks. I let him off his leash and beamed with pride as he ran around like a lunatic, barking and scaring the shit out of everyone. I hand fed him veal meatloaf and liver treats, let him drink from my Poland Spring bottle. I loved that gross ass dog. I saw him how God saw him......though I don’t think God had taken a glance in quite some time.