the terror of the terrier

One of my dogs is in the hospital. He goes into surgery tomorrow. I’m highly bummed. I called up my husband E, who is in Florida tonight (sometimes it’s Florida, sometimes it’s Texas, sometimes it’s D.C.), and told him that the thing I didn’t think was very serious is actually the symptom of something quite serious indeed and could be more so, depending on how the lab results come back. The vet prepared me — sort of — for the possibility of the C-bomb. “I’m very sad,” I told E. “I mean, I know you don’t like him very much, but…”

“Well,” E said gently, “I certainly don’t want him to die or anything. Poor Hobbes.”

To be fair to E, Hobbes can be what you might call annoying. Perhaps extremely annoying. We have four dogs, and when people come through our household it’s interesting to see which dog they choose as their favorite. Bowie: the scarred little dachshund, the fiesty and tough little alpha female who turns into a limpid-eyed cuddle-junkie. Leroy, the good-looking shaggy blonde who’s never had an insecure moment in his life (“that dog,” a trainer told me, “has the biggest ego I’ve ever met in any dog ever. You’re lucky he’s not any bigger than he is, or you’d have a real problem.”) Hamlet, the gentle giant. Big tough men who come to work on our property see him standing at the fence, refuse to come through the gate until we put him inside the kitchen (where the minature dachshund bosses him around and will sit inside his crate, which is like a football stadium to her, until I order her out, while Hamlet looks on unhappily). No one ever chooses Hobbes. There are reasons for this. He can be the most obedient and well-behaved little guy you’ve ever seen; but with the other dogs he turns manic and yappy. The other dogs learned not to bark (or at least, not to bark so much), but Hobbes remains impressively determined. My younger sister suggested he might have a mental problem. I thought she was joking. She was not.

But he’s a sweet, sweet soul, and when he gets back from the hospital I will spoil him. The other dogs will be jealous, but they’ll have to deal. I’m just hoping the prognosis won’t be too grim.

So to switch the topic, and try to lighten my mood a little, here’s a quote:

“We’ve heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could produce the complete works of Shakespeare; now, thanks to the Internet, we know that is not true.”
-Robert Wilensky

(Okay, now that I look at it, it’s actually a pretty depressing quote.)

And if you write at all, or even if you don’t, you should check out Edward Gorey’s The Unstrung Harp: Or, Mr Earbrass Writes a Novel. You will smile to yourself. You might even cry.


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