#163 – Grading the Houseguest

Last night, our puppy hosted his first sleepover. Prometheus’ best friend, Mr. Tootles, honored us with his presence while his owners went camping. On the whole, I thought Tootles a decent enough houseguest, though my wife and dog may beg to differ.

I prefer to judge our guest’s performance from a macro perspective. Nobody died, and he didn’t destroy our furniture or chew any holes in the walls. Consequently, unlike my wife and dog, I’m willing to cut Tootles some slack for his more boorish behavior.

Even I have to admit he stretched the boundaries of the “mi casa, tu casa” philosophy initially embraced by our mutt, Prometheus. In typical fashion, no matter how many toys we directed his way, Tootles wanted whichever one Prometheus was enjoying. The constant snatching of bones and stuffed animals from our puppy’s mouth clearly began to grate on him. When Tootles yanked a plush rabbit from our boy’s jaws just as he was about to chew an ear off, Prometheus snapped. He chased the speedier Tootles all over our house, stopping only when exhaustion felled him.

Our visitor may not have stolen any toys from Sophia, but he found other ways to test her patience. When he escaped from sight for several minutes after dinner, she tracked him by following a trail of the moss which insulates her indoor plant. The trail ended on our Persian rug, where the Mrs. found Tootles contentedly swallowing his impromptu “dessert.” Later, while laying on Sophia’s lap as she watched television, our temporary boarder demonstrated the championship caliber farting for which he’d been named. Adding injury to insult, he also favored her with one of his odder habits: namely, when he carries a bone, he seems oblivious to the fact his mouth is occupied. Though I’m sure he meant to gently nuzzle Sophia’s cheek with his soft fuzzy head, he instead treated her skin to the gnawed-off, sharpened end of the object clenched between his jaws. It’s safe to say, the woman who guards her face against age lines like the mummy curator at the British museum didn’t appreciate the potentially scar-inducing scrape she suffered in the process.

As if those issues weren’t irksome enough, Tootles reserved his worst indignity for the deep of the night. Sophia had insisted he sleep on our bed, where his four-legged host now spends evenings uncrated. At two a.m., she awoke to the unmistakable sound of a dog vomiting. She opened her eyes to the sight of Tootles regurgitating a mixture of kibble slurry and undigested moss clumps, partly atop our puppy’s hindquarters, and partly over an adjoining swath of the comforter directly beneath her chin.

I didn’t learn about the accident until this morning. The moment Sophia told me that not one, but two, canines would be roaming free atop our bed, I’d volunteered to camp out on the couch in the media room … where I’d enjoyed seven hours of uninterrupted rest.

Mr. Tootles and a bone

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