Wednesday, June 09, 2004

It's a Dog's Life

I'm house sitting for a friend this week. More accurately, I'm dog sitting. My charge? One Harpo, the No. 1 Dog of Deb Klein, formerly of Hi-Fi Records in JP, the Mary Reillys -- and now a New Yorker and part of a new band -- my new band, a veritable supergroup -- featuring members of the Anchormen, the Reillys, the Ergs, and the Kung Fu Monkeys.

But this entry isn't about me. No, it's about Harpo. And taking care of a dog. Harp's an aging Chow mix who's a bit of a Snuffleupagus, as well as an Eeyore, but who's still a champ, not a chump. I woke early this morning to walk him down Second Avenue. And I left work early-ish this evening to do so again. I've never really been responsible for another living thing for a long amount of time before.

He's very smart and loving, and I hope he enjoys my stay in Deb's stead. Several things have been fascinating me. One, dog-walking etiquette. You need to be aware of glass, go where the dog wants to go without being led all over, and remain cognizant of other dogs. There's this whole "Is he cool?" "He's cool," thing that happens with dog owners. Or not. This morning, I think I was overly effusive when I assured a woman that "Mine's nice." She sniffed and walked away.

There's also the whole peeing and pooping thing. Dogs sniff a lot. They smell around a lot. They don't pee everywhere they smell, and they only poop if they smell the ground first -- not a tree stump or fire extinguisher. I feel like I'm overly proud of the Harpster -- proud when he walks where I want to go, proud when he pees if I think he will, proud if I pick up all his poop in a plastic bag.

Anyhoo, we're home now, and I go between trying to entertain myself -- and trying to entertain him. He's this big, intelligent, independent being I can influence. But we can't really interact. And I'm concerned that my attention is just irritation.

"Come on, Harpo. Come on, Harpo. Come on."

"Oh. Just leave me alone, wouldja?"

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