Monday, July 14, 2008

The Birthday Party

Yesterday's NY Times Magazine ran a story about the trend toward treating pets with psychotropic medicines developed for humans: Prozac for separation anxiety, that kind of thing. The real argument boils down to whether or not one believes that animals have emotions similar to humans, and living with a dog and a cat it's easy for me to see that they do certainly feel what we feel - anger, pain, fear, confusion, joy. On the other hand, as I read the article I imagined facing some of the pet owners featured in the story, shaking them, and yelling, "Nitwit! You got a cattle dog! You can't leave it alone all day and expect to come home to an intact house! Your dog was bred to run all day! You don't need Prozac; you need to all go out for a run!" Then I remembered the events of Saturday night, and realized I have no room to talk.

Brody, my Brittany, will turn three on the 21st. His girlfriend, Lucy, turns nine on the 27th. Bella, who lives down the street, just turned one. So, we decided to have a birthday party for the three of them. Bella's human made a cake (complete with icing) comprised of dog-friendly ingredients. I thought this would mean cat food, cat feces, and deer poop, but it turned out to be a combination of wheat flour, shredded carrots, and peanut butter. Lucy's human brought birthday cards for Brody and Bella. I provided wine for the humans.

Lucy does not like female dogs. This is known. So, when Lucy trotted in to the party and immediately snapped at Bella, I at least wasn't surprised. Lucy then had to spend the remainder of the party leashed and in the down position. Bella is a small beagle, and when Brody meets smaller dogs he always tries to hump them, not sexually, but because he's generally so far away from alpha dog he approaches "zeta" status, and he enjoys the chance to pretend dominance. So, when Brody immediately tried to hump Bella, I wasn't surprised.

When Brody spent the entire party dragging Bella around by her hindquarters humping away, I was surprised. When Brody attempted to climb on whatever lap to which Bella had retreated in order to continue humping her, I was surprised. When Brody trapped Bella under the couch and humped the air next to said couch, I was surprised. When the only break from humping all night was to eat the cake in one bite and then eat everyone else's Frosty Paws, I was surprised. Bella finally spent the last half of the party in the safety of her human's arms, while Brody lay on the floor and stared lovingly at her. She is a cute beagle; at least he has taste.

If dogs are capable of learning the kinds of lessons humans can learn, then the party should have taught Bella that some people love you and some people hate you, and there's nothing you can do about it. I'm just hoping I remember the lesson of the night for humans: dogs don't know it's their birthday, and their idea of a party involves humping and snapping rather than cake and presents.

The whole thing was a nice excuse to sit on the porch drinking wine. Next time, we'll just leave the dogs at home.


Sandy said...

Now I see what you meant when you said you were "busy" on Saturday. A Doggy Porn party. Well. I hope Heritage Day was less X-rated.

tunsie said...

during my under-graduate days.I studied briefly the biological science of eythology,study of animal behavior,there r behaviors that r almost instinctual 2 animals.the problem is that if the humans that r around these behaviors view them as abnormal,then something must be wrong with that dog or cat.if your dog is always tring 2 run away from you and running 2 route is not the dog that has a problem,it is u with the mental shortcomings,that dog is just trying 2 get away from your crazy ass.happy birthday 2 brody.brody needs 2 know that some of those pretty dogs can have some problems that they try 2 hide 4 as long as possible so as u will not think they r a crazy woman and run away from instead of running 2.i luv u el tunsie.tunsie.tunsie

Scott said...

you didn't mention how Lucy sat on her human's lap, sulking because her love interest was humping somone else!! Poor old Mrs. Robinson...