Steve Rogers, Captain America, can cut his bulbous eyes in your direction and you think he’s about the cutest Chihuahua in the history of Chis.
And you’d be right.
He’s small, he’s funny, and many times just looking at this tiny dog is good for the soul. I love him dearly.
But he’s still a butthole, and I fear he’ll always be one.
If you remember, I bragged on him last week for showing rescue skills. He alerted me that Charlie, our Sheltie, had wandered away from the backyard and aided in a successful search and rescue. Yet I was taken to task by my wife, Mary, for using the “b-word” to describe Steve’s personality.
She insists he’s “sweet” and “precious.”
Sorry, but as the ol’ baseball umpire used to say, “I calls ‘em as I sees ‘em.”
And when I sees Steve, I sees a butthole.
Let’s examine the evidence, shall we?
Steve has bitten (or attempted to bite) me many, many times. Admittedly, it would be hard for his little teeth to do much damage, but that’s beside the point. Dogs shouldn’t bite their humans (unless their humans deserve it, and I do not).
Usually, it happens when I try to pick him up from the futon. I know, I know … one isn’t supposed to “startle” an animal and research shows this behavior is because a dog is staking out his territory.
Well, guess what?
He has no right to be territorial because we bought the futon in Asheville several years ago – long before he was born. Yet he acts like he owns it and that’s infuriating.
The books on dog behavior suggest that yelling at or somehow punishing the dog will only make the aggression worse. Instead, you should establish yourself, “… and members of your household as leaders that need to be respected.”
To that end I’ve started dressing like a Brigadier General in the United States Army but, so far, Steve still tries to bite me (even though I outrank him).
And if he’s not biting, he’s barking – and the barking is shrill and incessant.
I could understand if he saw something out of the ordinary and used it as a warning, but Steve barks at cars, trucks, motorcycles, airplanes, helicopters, drones, chemtrails, satellites, planets, birds, flora, fauna, people, ghosts, aliens, other dogs, cats, snakes, scorpions, air, water, odors, thoughts, concepts and lasagna.
It’s absolutely horrific and nerve fraying, and usually comes without warning. Adding injury to insult is the fact that he violently leaps from my lap in his quest to get to the window and start barking, which often causes major discomfort in my tender regions.
Oh, and then there’s his relationship with his brothers.
Charlie is the sweetest dog who ever lived, but even he loses patience with Steve, snarling and growling as the diminutive dog nips at Chuck’s legs.
Thor, our oldest cat, is frequently menaced by Steve. He’ll be laying there minding his own cat business when Steve will charge him, causing Thor to take one quick swat before retreating under the bed.
The only creature in the house who knows how to handle him is Bane, a cat who shares his age (2) but is double his size. Bane will play with Steve and let him get away with a good deal of mischief before growing tired of the shenanigans. At that point Bane will use his large paw to pin Steve down, and I must admit I feel a deep sense of satisfaction when I see Steve on his back, his legs wildly churning while his eyes dance like a drunk stripper.
This goes on from the time Mary leaves for work until she gets home, and by then I’m shaking and twitching like Barney Fife because Steve has me so addled I want to scream.
Naturally, Steve saves his best behavior for her.
He wags his curly tail, smiles and puts his best fur forward, making her believe he’s nothing more than just a high-energy little dog.
As she picks him up and holds him tightly, he’ll look over at me with a smug expression.
Sometimes he’ll even shoot a bird.
But just because Steve’s a handful doesn’t mean he’s not a huge and wonderful part of my life. He’s a rescue who was passed around quite a bit before finding his forever home with us, and maybe – for the first time in his life – he just feels comfortable being himself.
And I can live with that.
Because although he’s a butthole, he’s my butthole.
OK, that didn’t come out right …