Lucky Dog

Read this story* about a dog and get back here. Watch the video clip. I’ll wait. Go read it, if you can stand a sad story that has a happy ending. If you can’t take it, I understand, because, really, any story that even mentions animal abuse or misuse makes me see more shades of red than Chanel offers in lipstick. I didn’t want to read the article, but I figured, What the hell, I’m already sad about Aramis, so why not compound the sadnesses. Sort of like those days when you compound gluttony after eating more home-baked chocolate chip cookies than you have fingers, so you may as well just get it over with and order a pizza and fries and, you know what, a few eggrolls wouldn’t be so bad either. And then some more cookies.
So I read the story, and it prompted me to run out to the living room and hug my big beautiful dog and remember his sad story. (It has a happy ending, obviously. He gets to live with me! And believe me, that’s almost too much happiness for anyone to bear.) But it also brought to mind the staggering quest to find an apartment in New York that would allow pets. Because, you see, while finding a decent apartment is difficult in this city, finding one that allows pets — especially one that comes in the form of a huge dog — is enough to make you take to the drink and chase your own tail into panting oblivion.
But you do what you must. Your dog (or cat or giraffe or human baby) is part of your life. Once you have the supreme fortune of letting one in, he is yours until one of you outlives the other. Or until you enter a murder-suicide pact. That’s just the way it is. No excuses. And if for some reason you must find another place to live, you must find a place that will accept your animal friend. If a prospective new residence doesn’t allow animals, don’t allow yourself to live there. It’s that simple. I have no tolerance for anyone who says he “couldn’t” take his dog to his new place. People like that are no better than the ones who don’t allow the animals.
Other people say their animals have become too much “trouble”. Let me tell you something. When the DOG first brought Taxi home to his apartment in Philadelphia, Taxi was having what I’ll gently call abandonment issues. Taxi expressed himself in a rather creative variety of ways, many of which involved his teeth, claws, and woodwork. One of his most impressive projects was a detailed effigy of me, whittled into the front door.
However, his most brilliant accomplishment was when he devoured a newly purchased mint condition antique mahogany settee with exquisite mother-of-pearl inlay.
The DOG called me at my apartment the night of the event. “He … ate … the … settee,” he said, his voice barely perceptible.
“What!” I said. “What! No! What are you going to do?” I also said some other words imbued with considerably more punch.
“What can I do?” he said. “I have no choice.”
That was almost four years ago. The settee has yet to be revived to its original state and is still in storage awaiting restoration. And Taxi, after that test of his newest dad’s loyalty, settled in for good.
* If for some reason the link to the article does not work, you can read it here, without images. You may be able to access the video clip, though, so check it out.