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Monday, August 18, 2008
I'm getting to an age now where people look at me weird when I tell them that I still haven't settled down. Despite this, I get even weirder looks when I reveal I also don't own a pet. Maybe it's a Portland thing, given the local humane society's ongoing, creepy and apparently successful "END PETLESSNESS!" ad campaign.
I still have yet to come up with an appropriately snarky response for the "no marriage, no dependents" inquiries and the "where's the grandkids?" guilt trips from certain family members but I've got a good one for the pet question: I know plenty of people who'll happily lend me theirs for an afternoon, week, or even several months at a time if I let them. There's something about pet ownership, especially dog-ownership, that really brings out a sense of charity in those foolhardy enough to voluntarily share their living quarters with a furry slobber/poop monster.
Meet Zoe, my parents' German Shepard/shiba/husky/who knows what else. This pooch has enough energy coursing through her to power a nuclear submarine with enough left over for a 747. Dog parks, day trips to doggy daycare centers, long walks and chew toys are incapable of wearing her out. As such, I have an open invitation to "borrow the dog" whenever the mood strikes. Last week I had a day off with nothing better to do so I took Zoe on her first trip to the beach.
Despite her rough and tumble attitude, the dog has some odd prima donna quirks. She jumps over puddles, hates the rain and can't stand the thought of mud. I once watched Zoe elaborately circumnavigate a small trail bog in Forest Park because she didn't want to get her feet dirty. Would she be able to handle things like sand between her toes and a gigantic body of salt water?
She took to the sand on Cannon Beach like a champ and, after flashing an impish smile worthy of, well, an imp, she proceeded to get into as much trouble as possible. She interrupted a passionate kiss between two lovers, chased a flock of seagulls, tried to jump on a teenager's skim board and failed to steal a small child's sand bucket. Like a surf nazi in an surf nazi movie, she seemed determined to rule the beach with an iron fist, er, paw.
Why didn't I stop Zoe from engaging in full-scale and wanton bad dog behavior? Because she blasted off down the beach once she lost interest in fetch and managed to pull off all of these acts of doggy mischief in the space of 45-seconds flat. The mutt is quite multi-tasker.
But the ocean calmed her down a bit. Mesmerized, she observed it carefully and dipped her feet in. As a small wave approached, she decided to turn back to look at the shore. Not realizing this wouldn't magically stop the wave, she took off like a rocket once it reached her back legs. Later on, after learning the "never turn your back on the ocean" rule the hard way, she hopped back in, making a point of getting as much of herself covered in salt water as possible, probably as an act of revenge against my thwarting of her sand bucket heist.
Cannon Beach proved capable of doing what nothing else can, getting her to sit still for longer than five seconds. She slept at least 45% of the way back to Portland.