Ask a dog person what’s so great about dogs and at the top of a very long list what do you almost always find: the welcome home.
It’s good stuff — the wagging tails, the manic licking, the all-consuming joy brought on by your mere presence.
The old school hip-hop, of course — well, at least in my house. That Koopa’s a master at jumping up, jumping up and getting down, and you should see Kollee jump around, jump around — little one’s got the thing on lockdown.
Now if I were to leave, say, my teenage brother stuck at home all day with the homescreen of a “Big Bang Theory” DVD playing the theme song on repeat for eight straight hours, you think I’d be greeted with a House of Pain impression upon my return? Not likely.
But Team Kooplee forgives and forgets the moment I walk through the door. If only they were as understanding on my way out.
Seriously, to the list of acceptable reasons for being late to work, along with alarm clock malfunctions and flat tires, I strongly urge we add doggie guilt trips.
When my boss wants to know why I missed a deadline, I find it outrageous I can’t simply explain that Kollee sat in front of the door and looked up at me with her satellite ears pinned back flat against her head. Like I’m supposed to not fall at her feet, gather her up in my arms and tell her she’s pretty until she falls asleep in my lap and I have to wait for a neighbor to pass close enough to the porch to warrant a menacing warning bark? Be reasonable.
I’ve tried explaining to her that peanut butter-filled hooves and gas money to the Irondale dog park don’t grow on trees, but it just goes in one satellite ear and out the other.
And the only thing worse than a Kollee guilt trip is, you guessed it, a Koopa guilt trip.
Yep, I’m afraid getting down is not the only thing Koopa’s mastered — I’d put his passive aggression up against any scorned woman of the week Lifetime throws at us.
It really is something to see — the sulking in a corner, the death stare that cuts away as soon as I look at him (a trick he also pulls with the camera, by the way) and finally, the long, heavy sigh — you could cut the “fine, see if I care” subtext with a knife.
And if you think Departing Mom has it rough, you should see the guilt trip that gets laid on Distracted Mom.
Occasionally I’ll work from home, which you’d think they’d love, eliminating the need for my departure as it does.
Apparently my presence alone doesn’t cut it. I must also actively engage in one or more of the following: petting, playing, watching them play (believe me, they check), dispensing treats, walking (though adventure fielding is preferred), loudly inserting their names into show tunes or spooning. Notice loading the dishwasher, showering and anything that requires a phone and/or laptop didn’t make the list.
Back in grad school, Koopa picked up a neat trick after one too many nights curled up beside me on the couch while I burned the midnight oil. It started off innocently enough with one paw placed casually on my leg. If that went unnoticed, he added a second paw that led to a full-on cat stretch, a subtle reminder that, hey it’s 4 a.m. and maybe some of us would like to go to bed. Soon those paws would creep up onto the keyboard (ZXvdF!!1 … yeah, I thought that might get your attention). A few calculated moves more and I had a big, black mutt standing between me and my laptop, literally. Like his whole body was blocking the screen.
These days Kollee takes a more direct approach, plopping down on the keyboard like she aimed for my lap and just missed, droopy ears locked and loaded should I object.
Still, Koopa’s method had its merits. Eventually he’d give up and put himself to bed, but not before turning back to let out a heavy sigh of exasperation (fine, see if I care) and sulking off, head hung in defeat.
Thesis or no thesis, that pitiful sight usually did the trick. But looking back, his despondency seems a bit melodramatic. All that fuss over sleeping on the couch? I was the one up all night analyzing dissonant cognition in media exposure data — if anyone should have been sulking it was me.
Yeah right ... like I have the ears to pull that off.