I owned a dog for three days. Completely by accident, I swear.
I was driving home from work when mom broke the news. “Just so you know,” she told me, “we have a new addition at the house.”
As she said this, I pulled into our driveway and was greeted by the shrill, vindictive yapping of a Chihuahua.
You must understand. I never wanted a dog. And if I had, I wouldn’t get a Chihuahua, who are the animal embodiment of a Karen. Their beady eyes and petty aggression is not the kind of vibes I need in my life. I provide enough of that on my own without some mutated little demon making it worse.
Yet when I opened the car door, there he was. Standing on my porch and glaring like I was the unwanted visitor.
“He showed up a few hours ago.” Mom smiled at him fondly. “I think we own him now.”
(My mother is the kind of twisted soul who holds a personal vendetta against all creatures of the canine variety, so the composure that came with this statement was nothing short of earth shattering.)
The Chihuahua continued to glare at me. I noted, somewhat smugly, that his teeth stuck out. The hair around his nose had turned gray. He kept blinking his left eye at me like he was one fraying nerve away from a mental breakdown. He was heinously bowlegged. He didn’t have a collar, and seemed in no particular mood to vacate our porch.
Go figure. Not only did I end up with a dog (which I didn’t want), and a Chihuahua to boot (the spawn of canine Karen), but he wasn’t even a nice Chihuahua. He was a little train wreck of a beast with bad teeth.
“He looks like a Robert,” I said, and promptly questioned all the life choices that brought me to the point of naming the demented spook trespassing on my front porch.
Having a healthy respect of rabies, we bid Robert a reserved goodnight, went into our house, and promptly forgot about him. I went to bed. The next morning, lo and behold, Robert was still around. He found himself a nice hole in our yard and proceeded to sit in it for the rest of the day.
“He really grows on you,” mom said, watching him through the window. Robert had his back to us.
Still in the hole.
Who knew a demented Chihuahua could be so relatable.
In a burst of unprecedented charity, I put some old towels in a box and gave Robert an upgrade from the hole. In an unprecedented leave of wisdom, Mom gave him a little dish of our cats’ food. (He thought that was pretty swell, even if he could barely chew.)
We bid Robert goodnight again.
The next morning, Robert was still around.
“I really thought he would have wandered off by now,” Mom said with great innocence, as if she hadn’t just given him a compelling reason to stay by feeding him more cat food.
Robert blinked at us with his soulless, twitching eyes. To add a new development to the plot, he started limping.
We now had an old, bowlegged, crooked-toothed, mentally unstable, arthritic Chihuahua.
Who was no longer content with holes and boxes.
Look at this little twerp. Dad left the door open for two minutes, and somehow in that time frame, Robert managed to get his creaky little bones settled. What’s more, Dad seemed in no particular rush to remove the creature. The exact words spoken were:
“He looks so comfy…”
Gee, I wonder why.
(Robert spent the entire day in our car.)
“I guess I should probably make him a dog house,” Dad said, and I took a moment to process the fact that all three of us had just accepted we were keeping this thing, if he didn’t wander off first. Mom was already looking up veterinary clinics to fix his limp. (And, y’know, make sure he didn’t have rabies. That too.)
“But where did he come from?” I asked. They blinked. No one knew.
Several people on our road have dogs, so I corralled mom into visiting all the neighbors with me to see if they could offer any insight into the strange appearance of Robert. I felt like a conning salesman, plastering a fake smile onto my face as I knocked on doors and greeted random strangers as smarmily as I could. They were very polite. (If a bit confused.) Some of them introduced themselves. We had nice conversations.
The extent of my pathetic existence was revealed by the fact that the only reason I was even making myself meet them was for a senile Chihuahua.
Alas, after all that forced extroverting, we returned weary and battle scarred, with still no information. No one owned a Chihuahua. No knew anyone else who owned a Chihuahua.
Meanwhile, Robert was having a great time.
Mom decided to give him wet cat food instead of the dry stuff, on account of his teeth issues and his sad attempts at chewing. He limped over to the bowl like a tragic martyr of dogdom, sniffed at the contents, and–
Robert sat back on his haunches and glared at us, judgement and contempt roiling in the twitching depths of his eyes.
Mom offered him dry food instead.
He inspected, and, having deemed it worthy, helped himself. The self-entitled brat. How dare he turn his nose up at the generosity we offered him? Picky little freak.
(Nonetheless, we let him spend the night on our porch again.)
The third day, Mom and Dad were out of town for the weekend and left me alone with the demon outside my front door. I could see him limping to-and-fro in the yard, dragging his little hind-quarters like he was on death’s door.
A butterfly fluttered past. Robert paused, his eyes twitching.
The limp was forgotten as he streaked off in hot pursuit of the butterfly, bounding and leaping with great agility. Then he caught sight of me watching him through the window. Again, he paused.
And I swear, that little jerk immediately started limping.
He dragged himself onto the front porch.
He limped his way across it.
He limped back.
He started yowling like a sick cat.
(All the while, blinking his soulless, twitching eyes at me.)
And somehow, I was stupid and fell for it. A big thunderstorm was approaching, and I let Robert into our mudroom so he wouldn’t get wet. I felt pretty good about myself after this. Look at me, actually being kind to my enemies! Jesus would be proud. Despite this lying, conning dog weaseling his way into my life, I still took the high road and–
Robert wasn’t satisfied with the mudroom.
Robert wanted more.
Having completed several stages of infiltration, he began on Phase #3: He parked himself in front of the door leading to the kitchen and howled. He scratched. He sneezed. He made little asthmatic wheezing noises meant to give the impression he was dying.
Having been fooled by his sickly charms once, I didn’t fall for it again. I waited until the storm blew past and shoved him outside. But Robert wasn’t ready to give up. He made his way back around the house to the front door, parked himself there, and continued to howl.
He howled for three hours.
Periodically I’d check on him, and there he was; limping in front of the door (unless he caught sight of another butterfly, which also happened periodically) and howling like a canine banshee.
I remained unconvinced.
Our stalemate continued for another hour. Eventually, his pitiful cries died down. I looked out the window (just to make sure he hadn’t actually died, because then I’d feel like a jerk) and caught one last glimpse of him.
There he was. Trotting at a brisk pace down the center of the road, a purposeful gleam in his beady eyes. I walked to the end of our driveway and called him. He ignored me.
I watched Robert stride purposefully into the (literal) sunset.
And never saw him again.
He appeared like a specter in the night and left just as randomly. Where he came from and where he went remain a mystery, though I have no doubt he’s off to find some poor victim who will tolerate his sponging existence more liberally than we did.
They can have him with my blessing.
A Random Aside: I got many fabulous suggestions in my last post on what to paint for the magical fairy moss frame. I compiled the most popular suggestions into a poll because I don’t have the mental energy to decide on my own. Have at it, folks.