Why do we put up with the Willful Ways of Wonderbutt? I often ask myself that question. Particularly at moments like this:
Wonderbutt is certainly not the only one in the household who behaves strangely. Perhaps you have lived with pets that do not suffer from any sort of psychological disturbances. I have never had that pleasure. It’s entirely possible that I am the reason for each one’s idiosyncrasies. So, I partly suffer their insanity out of guilt. But, I have to say that, 99% of the time they give me joy. And that makes it all worthwhile. And makes me both remorseful and greedy.
Today, I arrived home to one dog – Wonderbutt. I am normally greeted by two. My first thought was that Cap’n Firepants might have accidentally locked Mrs. P.I.B. outside this morning when he left for work. My second thought, which was probably a bit unfair to Wonderbutt, was that our overly boisterous bulldog had given our sweet 11 year old Golden Retriever a heart-attack.
But Wonderbutt, the Tattle No-Tail, quickly led me to the hallway, where I found this:
It briefly stormed today, inspiring Mrs. P.I.B. to storm the gate to the Forbidden Section. Although brave enough to leap over it once, Mrs. P.I.B.’s fear of repeating such a hazardous undertaking trapped her in the hallway.
Since we had prudently closed all hallway doors this morning, knowing there was a chance of rain, Wonderbutt saw no benefit in taking the risk, himself, and, in an unusual turn of events, became the Good Dog.
Mrs. P.I.B. panted exaggeratedly on the other side of the gate, despite the fact that the storm had passed long before and there was absolutely no threat to her well-being other than herself.
I took pity, and moved the gate, allowing Wonderbutt to barrel through to the Forbidden Section while Mrs. P.I.B. jumped over him to get out. On the other side, she seemed to reconsider this decision, particularly when she saw how delighted Wonderbutt was to replace her.
I set the gate aside, and allowed them to both romp beside me while I made my way to the computer. As soon as I was seated, Wonderbutt plopped down on the floor beside me, and Mrs. P.I.B. curled up in the hall. They both put their heads down and went to sleep.
When you realize that you have the power to bring contentment to two living beings with your mere presence, it gives you a certain sense of worth. And, believe it or not, that is far more valuable than a smelly old couch with lumpy cushions.
I guess we will find out in about another month how it compares to a brand new couch and a husband who is nearing the end of his tether…
Dimples and I came home to this on Friday:
It took us a moment to identify Wonderbutt’s new toy. He proudly led us to the remains of the toy and its companions.
In case you have not figured it out by now, it was originally a collection of Easter Bunny straws that Dimples had washed had laid out on the counter on a paper towel to dry. It had been there for two days before Wonderbutt decided that the straws were meant for him. Because that’s why we put things on the counter, you know. To keep him entertained while we are gone.
I did try to get a holiday photo that would be a bit more appropriate.
It won’t surprise you that Wonderbutt would not cooperate.
That dog is determined to dismantle society as we know it – one calendar page at a time.
My whole life, I have been a one-dog person. Even during the years that I didn’t have a dog. I feel like I am missing a limb when I don’t have a canine companion.
For a little over a year now, I’ve been a two-dog person. And I really like it. Particularly since the two dogs are so different. They are perfect complements to my bipolar personalities.
It’s interesting to watch the dynamics between the two dogs. Mrs. P.I.B., our golden retriever, is going on 11 years old. Wonderbutt, the bulldog, is about 18 months old. He harasses Mrs. P.I.B. regularly. It’s pretty clear that Mrs. P.I.B. would be perfectly content if Wonderbutt walked out the door and never returned. Wonderbutt, on the other hand, is completely forlorn when his counterpart is not around. When we let Mrs. P.I.B. outside to do her business, for example, Wonderbutt pines away by the door until we let her back in. Then he pounces on her happily and trots around after her for a few minutes. I like to think he actually misses her – and not that he’s just jealous she got to go outside when he didn’t.
The human members of the Firepants family were discussing this the other day when my husband, Cap’n Firepants, stated that Wonderbutt was “going to be lost when Mrs. P.I.B. passes away.” I had made this observation, myself, but it sobered us all to hear it out loud.
Jokingly, I said that we should get a third dog, so that there would never be one left alone. And, I said, “We’re always saying the best time to get one is the summer because I’m home to train it. We should get a puppy this summer.”
Dimples almost spit out her dinner. That was pretty much the reaction I expected from the Cap’n, too. He hasn’t been exactly thrilled with Wonderbutt’s concept of interior design, and most likely regrets daily that we ever became a two-dog household in the first place.
Instead, the Cap’n slowly said, “Maybe.”
Dimples’ mouth opened wide in disbelief. I’m pretty sure both of my eyebrows went up to the top of my scalp.
“Are you serious?” I said. “You would consider getting another dog this summer?”
I wasn’t even sure I would consider getting another dog this summer. I had only said it because I was 99% sure it would make him jump – and it’s hard to rile the Cap’n.
“Really, Daddy?” Dimples said in a very worried voice.
“Yeah,” the Cap’n said slowly, almost as though he didn’t believe that he was saying it himself. “Just not another bulldog.”
Pondering this out-of-character response from the Cap’n last night, I suddenly sat up straight in bed.
I know what he’s doing, I thought. He did this last week when I said, “Let’s open a bookstore in that bar that’s for lease.” He said he would think about it, and then I lost interest. Well, I didn’t lose interest. I just realized that it was going to require a heckuva lot of work – and money. And I know absolutely nothing about owning a business. The point is, he didn’t say, “No” because he figured time was on his side. I’m hip to this whole reverse psychology thing.
I think it’s time for a little game of ‘Chicken’.
Some might wonder how, with a dog like Wonderbutt, our saintly Golden Retriever could have been saddled with a nickname like Mrs. Pain in the Butt.
After all, she is the Lady to Wonderbutt’s Tramp, right?
Looks can be deceiving.
Mrs. P.I.B. has quite a few habits that have helped her to earn her nickname, despite her well-mannered appearance.
I alluded to one of them in yesterday’s post regarding my super duper cooking skills and the involvement of a smoke alarm.
The pacing and panting and major freak-out are not infrequent reactions on the part of Mrs. P.I.B.
I do have some sympathy, however, because I’m pretty sure her anxiety is all my fault.
Years ago, long before Wonderbutt, and months before the Smoke Alarm Incident, Mrs. P.I.B. was fairly well-adjusted. One night, we went to bed as normal, only to be woken several times by a whining dog outside our door. Mrs. P.I.B. does not sleep in our bedroom normally because she makes all kinds of noise while she is sleeping – from smacking her lips loudly to whining while she chases squirrels in her dreams.
When we opened the door that night, she was frantic, and tried to sweep past us into the room, but we wouldn’t let her, thinking it would set a precedent that we would have a hard time breaking.
It was not a fun night.
The next morning, I got up early, and went out to the kitchen to deal with our panic-stricken dog. As I neared the kitchen, I heard a beeping sound. I finally tracked it down to my cell phone. Apparently, the battery had died. It wasn’t completely dead, though. It emitted its pre-flatline regular beep all night, which would probably be considered a particularly cruel form of torture for canines with sensitive ears. As soon as I plugged the phone in to recharge, silencing the beep, Mrs. P.I.B. noticeably calmed down. The mystery was solved.
But the fun was just beginning. Starting with that incident, Mrs. P.I.B. became a nervous wreck whenever something beeped. We were more conscientious about keeping our phones charged. But, then we had a couple of thunderstorms that caused the electricity to go out, causing the various electronics to beep. After that, Mrs. P.I.B. became deathly afraid of thunderstorms. There doesn’t even have to be a beep anymore. Now, as soon as the wind begins to signal an oncoming storm, Mrs. P.I.B. begins to cling to our heels.
I was watching the Friends episode the other night when Phoebe’s smoke alarm won’t die even after she: removes the battery, beats it with a hammer, and throws it down the garbage chute (hilarious episode, I highly recommend it!). Mrs. P.I.B. ran into the room at the first screech of the smoke alarm on T.V. She looked at me as though I were crazy to allow this to continue, couldn’t I hear that blasted sound? I finally had to change the channel because I was afraid the dog would expire before the alarm did.
So, all of you Mrs. P.I.B. fans out there, let me assure you that she comes by her nickname honestly. She’s got some other bad habits, too. But a Lady has to have some secrets.
Nervous wreck of a dog that she is, she’s still just as lovable as Wonderbutt.