The Dog Toy

I feed them, take them for rides in the car to do fun things, and show them undivided attention. I cater to their every whim the way one would spoil a child.

And that’s why I don’t think the dogs are trying to kill me.

Late one night they woke me to go outside. Not bothering to turn on any lights, I trudged to the backdoor, and stepping into the family room, my foot landed on something. WHAM! Down I went.

It was a rope pull toy that took me out.

The dogs just stared at me on the floor. I was grateful for escaping serious injury, but not for the reason you’d expect: it was because I was naked from the waist down. The idea of being found splayed out on the family room floor, incapacitated or dead while half nude, was horrifying.

A more suspicious person might find a pattern here. Innocent items left in odd places, a dark figure curled up at the bottom of the stairs. Is it an accident that they linger in the most awkward spots, where you will trip over them while walking through the house?

For answers I turned to Alexandra Horowitz’s “Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know.” In her book she explores the behavior of dogs, and why they do the things they do. Sure, you know that anthropomorphism plays a big part in our relationship, but this is more interesting: she describes dogs as canine anthropologists who are constantly studying our behavior.

Judging from what the dogs have been up to, I’m not so sure they’ve been paying close attention. Haven’t they noticed the way I scream when stepping on their toys?

But honestly, I don’t really believe they’re trying to kill me. Actually I think they are just careless and sloppy, not unlike teenage boys. And like teenage boys, they can be headstrong and self centered. It’s all about them and they leave their stuff everywhere.

Thank God they can’t drive.

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