Ever since I dropped Franke in my parent’s pool last weekend, she’s been terribly behaved.
I don’t know if it’s because the cold water shocked her brain. Or if it’s because she realized, when I flung my iPhone down, and jumped in after her, screaming, that she owned me. Or if it’s just because she is shaken up that Caleb, her rightful owner, isn’t around. But I cannot walk the little bitch without her barking her face off.
The second I take my eyes off her, she bites a random person on the street. She gave my 9 months pregnant friend Cora’s husband a contusion on his leg. She’s adopted this sort of wheezing, squeaking, cascading “Eh hhh hhh, Eh hhh hhh” noise, that crescendoes as she gets more anxious. When I put on her halter, she bows her head, softens her legs, and acts like I’m abusing her.
In my defense, this is better than she acted when I first started dating Caleb. Imagine how great our sex must be for me to have stuck around.
Everyone has something to say about how I should be handling her, my grandmother and mother the most vocal of them all. “Brienne, you have to be calm around her!” my grandmother yelled as Franke took off like a bullet from my arms, and went straight for her legs.
“Do you see what it’s like to have children?” my mother asked on the phone. “Do you really want one now?”
Yesterday, I spent a little time reading Cesar Millan’s blog, which by the way, isn’t helpful at all.
“Use your body, your mind, and your calm-assertive energy to create an invisible wall that your dog is not allowed to cross. Do it with 100% dedication and focus, and the results may surprise you.”
Um, fuck you, Cesar Millan.
Last night, I tried to put a wall of treats around Franke on our way to the wine store. Literally, I held a treat in my hand, and taunted her with it so she kept her eyes on me, rather than on what was going on around us. Half way down the block, she ate through it, and started barking, hoarsely, with abandon.
We passed the pizza store like this. We passed the Italian men’s club. The men standing outside of it in their undershirts, smoking cigars, said something nice about my ass, but I couldn’t hear it over Franke’s barking, and that really pissed me off.
Outside of the laundry store, two little old ladies sat. When they saw Franke approach, they started laughing their heads off.
“Look at that thing!” the first one said.
“Isn’t she adorable.”
I stopped, first to tell Franke, in a firm, authoritative way, “No.” And then to literally clamp her barking mouth with my hands so that she would stop, for one sweet second, with the yelping.
“You must really appreciate your dog walker,” the first little old lady said, which would be presumptuous most places, but in our white-bread, bourgeois, “Pleasantville” neighborhood must obviously be the norm. I secretly kind of detest it here.
Fortunately, for once, Franke started barking again so loudly that the lady couldn’t hear me say, “You’re looking at her.”
Smiling apologetically, I gave them a small wave. Leaving a trail of silence in our wake, Franke and I continued on our walk.