Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Perfect Pet: A Cautionary Tale, Part 8 of 10

Most little boys want to be like Jimmer when they grow up. Danny does, too. Only not the Jimmer you're thinking of.
“What is this?” Scott asked one evening. He picked up a small wrapped package that I put on his pillow.
“Just a present.” I said.
“What for?” he asked.
“Just because.” I smiled. Actually it was the first step in my “Protect Turkeyboy At All Costs” plan. Though Jimmer had proclaimed himself to be Scott’s Best Friend Forever, I had a hunch that his intentions were not what they seemed. It was up to me to keep my husband safe. Especially since Scott was completely clueless about Jimmer’s mystical powers. Scott spent hours throwing Frisbees to Jimmer, proving that Jimmer had already wiped out Scott’s ability to detect the passage of time.
Scott opened the package.
“A can of mace?” he said, his eyebrows raised. “What is this for?”
I shrugged. “You know…just in case.” Just in case Jimmer decides to go for your jugular, darling.
I pointed out that it came with a nifty little clip that could hook on to his belt loop.
“That way you can take it with you whenever you go outside.” I said.
“Gee…ah…thanks, Chelsea.” He said.
The second part of my plan was harder to carry out: making sure that Scott and Jimmer were never alone together. When I was able to, I would sit outside and watch them play. When Scott wasn’t looking I would narrow my eyes at Jimmer and make the ASL sign for I’m watching you.
You might think this was time consuming and tedious, and it was, but I worked hard to get such an extraordinary spouse, and I wasn’t going to let Jimmer take my husband without a fight. Plus, I had to hang around just to make sure Scott didn’t forget who I was.
One afternoon I was sitting on the back porch steps, chaperoning Scott and his best friend as they frolicked together in the yard. While I watched I reminisced about my pre-dog life and ate chocolate to calm my nerves.
Scott was training Jimmer with the Frisbee, hopeful that Jimmer would someday become the world’s most amazing Frisbee champion. It was hard to tell who was having more fun, the man or the dog. I heaved a sigh when I noticed Scott wasn’t wearing the little bottle of mace I gave him. Well, it is a good thing I’m out here, I thought.
When Jimmer was too tired to run anymore, Scott came and sat by me on the steps. Jimmer squeezed in between us, panting.
“Down,” said Scott. Jimmer instantly flopped to the ground and leaned against me.
“This dog is so smart. He has totally exceeded all of my expectations for dog intelligence.”
“Mine, too.” I answered.
“He already knows five commands, can fetch balls, and catch Frisbees in mid-air. And he’s only 5 months old!”
I did have to admit it was pretty amazing. And ironic. Our son Danny was 18-months-old and he still hadn’t walked yet. (Not only that, but his vocabulary consisted only of “DA!” which, with only a slight change in intensity, meant both “dad” and “dog.”)
I reached down to give Jimmer a pet (I try to pet Jimmer at least three times a day, just for appearances) and as I ran my fingers through his thick coat, thinking how it would make a lovely bathroom rug, Scott said, “He’s so soft, isn’t he? And he always seems so clean. It is like the dirt just doesn’t stick to his coat.”
I nodded and took a bite of chocolate.
“He’s such a good-looking dog, too. Just look at his eyes…you see the see black all around them?”
Yes. I thought. It makes him look like a bank robber. Jimmer looked up at me and his white teeth gleamed. No…he’s too smart to be a bank robber, I thought. More like a terrorist.
“I think he looks like Zorro.” Continued Scott. “You know, I was flipping through the channels last night and I can’t believe there aren’t any dog channels.” He was clearly perturbed about this. He scratched behind Jimmer’s ears and Jimmer gazed at him devotedly. Then after a while he said, “Don’t you think it would be fun to get Jimmer a mate and then they could have a litter of puppies?”
I almost choked.
He smiled, “And I could quit my job at Duke and we could be full-time trainers and breeders.”
I started to cry.
“I’m just kidding, Chelsea.” Scott said, clearly remorseful. “Its okay, I won’t quit my job.” He probably would have put his arm around me, too, if the dog hadn’t been in the way.
After I pulled myself together he asked, “Hey, by the way, why do you put numbers up above Jimmer’s food bowl?”
A few weeks ago I had taken down the dog stew recipe (which Scott didn’t find humorous) and replaced it every day with a different index card. Each card had a number on it, in descending order.
“Well,” I said, “If he’s so smart he ought to know his numbers, right?” I smiled pleasantly. Jimmer looked up at me, narrowing his eyes. He could smell my lie. Actually, the numbers are a countdown. I want Jimmer to know how many days he has left before he is neutered.
“See? You are coming around, Chels. I’m glad you’ve been such a good sport, putting up with having a dog. Isn’t she, Jimmer?”
I got up and left. But not before I gave Jimmer the rest of my chocolate.

Here are some videos of Jimmer taking over Scott’s mind. I mean playing frisbee. Enjoy.

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