The Seasonal Plight of Theo.

I admit, I haven’t been the best dog owner lately. While sure I’ve been giving them more exercise than usual and still succumb to Theo’s daily need of having his food served in a quarter-inch pool of water and not an ounce more or less, I have been showing and ugly selfish side of myself that I normally like to keep hidden. Well, actually that’s mostly untrue – my ugly selfish side is usually front and center but I felt like if I were to say that, people would wonder why I haven’t tried to lose that trait over the years. And frankly? That side of me ensures that I get more things and food and money than I actually deserve which is more than I can say about kindness, generosity and empathy.

That’s right, Care Bears, I said it. You’re not only to blame for a rise in childhood obesity after parading your roly-poly, tramp-stamped asses all over our televisions in the nineties, but you’re also full of lousy advice. If more kids stuck with my life lessons, they’d know the true, deliciously fleeting satisfaction of short-term rewards.

But as the weather starts to cool and our thoughts turn to why dear god why do we ever live in this horrible place, I have a really hard time adjusting to the change in season. This could be because even in the summer I wore two to three layers of clothing every single day and now that it’s actually getting cold I can only add so many cardigans, sweaters, jackets, coats, parkas and sleeping bags into the mix before I start looking like a drifter who might fight you for a cigarette butt. Simply put, the cold weather makes me unbearable to live with. I can never get warm from head to toe unless I’m either making sweet love to our hot water heater or face-humping our oil tank – neither of which the newf appreciates as he’s the one who has to pay for both.

My solution, however, seems to suit all of us except for poor, little, defenseless Theo, now know as the world’s most expensive hot water bottle. I get home after work, walk until his little legs are worn down to stubs and wait for him to collapse of exhaustion once we get home. Then, once he’s out like a college girl who never learned to keep an eye on her drink, I cart him around like my personal heating system, shoving him all up in my personal space wherever I go.

I’ll cram him underneath my legs on the couch, I’ll wrap him around my neck in my office, and I’ll even stuff him down in the covers of the bed ten minutes before I get in so that there’s a dachshund-sized warm patch for my feet. All the while the poor guy can only muster up enough energy to give me the sad eyes in hopes that I’ll just leave him be – a tactic that might work had I not BOUGHT him, making him my personal plaything, slave and apparently unwilling companion. Actually, this is not unlike my summer habit of giving Theo his flea treatment which I’ve learned makes my dogs like living, breathing mosquito zappers for a whole variety of insects, picking him up, flipping him over and using him like a ecosystem destroying lint-brush on any fabric service in the house.

So the moral of this story is that I’ve found entirely new ways for my dogs to earn their keep since I have no confidence in their ability to alert me of danger (unless danger equals blowing leafs, plastic bags, or sinister tree shadows), or inform me when and if the newf ever falls into a well. While it may seem cruel to you, understand that I’m on year two of picking up his feces and allowing him to wake me by jumping directly onto my face. I don’t think he’ll get a whole lot of sympathy from PETA just yet.