April 26, 2006
MOCHA SURVIVES THE WATER TREATMENT
This is a column I wrote a few years ago. I was reminded of it because on Saturday both my little dogs Mocha and Oreo went on strike and refused to go out in the rain. I, of course, being a mature adult screamed at both of them, "OK YOU LITTLE BASTARDS, YOU MAKE IN THE HOUSE AND THERE WILL BE NO CHEESE FOR THE KIDDIES."
Let me explain that. The minute I come home every night I shout out "It's Cheese For The Kiddies Time."
Then I hear the thumping of the paws as both dogs race to join me in the kitchen. I reach into the refrigerator and take out a slice of American cheese and carefully cut it in half and then break each half into tiny pieces. The dogs go wild while I'm doing this. Mocha runs in circles and Oreo makes little happy whimpering sounds.
Now ask me why the slice is always exactly cut in half. Because I don't want to have one dog believe I'm favoring the other by giving him more cheese. Can dogs tell who is getting more cheese? Who knows? My being nuts about equal shares comes from having five kids and spending a lot of time making sure that each one of them felt he or she was getting equal treatment. If you're a parent of more than one kid, you know what I mean.
MOCHA SURVIVES THE WATER TREATMENT
Those dog lovers reading this should know that Mocha is still not out of the woods when it comes to my having homicidal thoughts about him. As you know, a few months ago in an irrational fit of anger, I publicly threatened to execute little Mocha if he didn't stop lifting his leg on my furniture and pooping in the house. A number of kindly dog lovers came forward with suggestions on how train Mocha.
One lady stopped me at on the street and told me, "The most humane way to train a Yorkie, after they've had an 'accident,' is to put their nose in it and then throw them into water." She said that they hate being wet and "they quickly learn that every time they go, they're going to be tossed into water." She swore that she had trained her Yorkie by throwing him into her pool.
I decided to try this method and found myself sneaking behind Mocha, secretly wishing I could catch him in the act. Then the day came when I caught him. "NO! NO! NO!" I shouted, putting his nose in it and then running to my pool with Mocha squirming in my hands, I threw him in.
I must admit I got some sort of perverse thrill out of tossing him in the pool. I imagine it's not as satisfying as dwarf tossing, a sport that someday will make it to the Olympics. But dog tossing is right up there. Mocha, soaked and pissed off, came running out of the pool sputtering and, I imagine, uttering doggy curses under his breath.
After two tosses it worked. Mocha went outside and did what he had to do. Unfortunately, Mocha is not the smartest dog in the world so he only got trained for East Hampton. My home in New York City is another story. Which brings me to the other night. I was home with my son J.T. who was going out with one of his little friends. We were waiting for his friend's mom who was going to take them both to dinner. This is a new school friend so I hadn't met the mom. I live in a townhouse in the city and I was up on the third floor.
Mocha came into my bedroom and gave me a look as if to say, "East Hampton rules don't count here," then he lifted his leg and tinkled on a pile of books I was planning on reading someday. "NO! NO!" I shouted and took after him.
Mocha was making tracks down the stairs with me shirtless and barefoot and just wearing a pair of jeans, in hot pursuit. When we got to the second floor I spotted two little neat piles of doggy poop. "OH NO!" I screamed. I just barely dodged them, grabbed Mocha, and put his nose in. Then I picked him up and walked down to the ground floor.
There's a pretty little garden outside my dining room and I was headed for the large fountain/wading pool in the middle of the garden. In the background I could hear the doorbell ringing. I was screaming at Mocha, "YOU'RE NOT GETTING AWAY WITH THIS! DO YOU HEAR ME?" With that, I threw Mocha into the fountain/pool. He went down but didn't come up. I realized I had no idea how deep the little pool was. So now on my hands and knees I reach into the pool; all I could think about was the West Nile Virus. Finally, I find the little mutt and picked him up bubbling and sputtering. Thank God I didn't have to give him mouth to mouth.
Meanwhile my son had opened the door and was greeting his friend's mom. Mocha slipped out of my hands and headed toward the open door. Here's what that poor mom heard: "DON'T GO NEAR THAT DOOR OR I'M GOING TO KILL YOU, YOU LITTLE SON OF A BITCH!" The next thing the mom saw was this big, fat, bald, half-dressed guy running towards her screaming.
I think the dog slipped past her and she thought I was screaming at my son. I pushed past her and my son and grabbed the wet little puppy before it ran into the street. The mother looked at me with that "I think I should be calling the child welfare authorities on this monster" look.
I still suffer pangs of guilt when I think of what could have happened to little Mocha on that busy city street. The other night I found myself sharing a steak with the little pup. "No more water treatment, Mocha, I've learned my lesson," I said. At that point he cocked his head and I can swear he smiled.
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