My daughter, Cricket, is a psychology major. She feels this qualifies her to diagnose everyone and everything around. It seems like all things heretofore considered “quirky” now come with a monogram. By this, I mean initials, ADD, OCD, PTSD, ED and other letters joined together in unholy unions I cannot hope to decipher. I see that look in her eyes sometimes and have to shut her down quickly before she pops some lettered identification on the multi-colored floral bubble I’ve created around myself. I KNOW I have, well, let’s call them whimsies, eccentricities, foibles, but I’m comfortable that way.
I’m not the only oddball around our house, though. Working with animals I’ve discovered that they all have their little idiosyncrasies as well. My Jack Russells are freaks extraordinaire. Perhaps it’s because they’re small dogs. I’ve never had small dogs before these and I don’t remember my labs having neurotic fears and crazies. They didn’t come preprogrammed with these neurosis, though, and I guess there is only our environment to blame.
Matilda has been leery of brooms and mops since babyhood. Just walking by the pantry causes her to pick up speed and the whites of her eyes to show. The vacuum causes a full panic. She can hear the noise of the wheels coming out of the closet from two miles away. Once, she got into the barn and ate up 13 chickens and a peacock. My anger was such that I put her in her basket and surrounded her with brooms, mops and the vacuum for 20 minutes. I feel bad about this because I know it has caused some permanent damage. She fears moths, puppets and band-aids. Band-aids? Once, someone lost a band-aid in our house and upon spotting it, she began to moan and cry with the intensity of a tornado alarm. I have no comment on the fact that there was a band-aid laying on my floor. I can’t think about that.
A while back I attended something that necessitated having a “my name is _____” sticker. When I got home, I popped it on Matilda’s head. This caused her to stay frozen for the entire time she wore the sticker. She neither sat nor turned her head. One can only imagine the fun this has caused around my house.
The strangest problem, though, is the straw. The sight of a straw emerging from a drink will cause her to run like she’s being chased by Satan. If a straw is produced in the car, she will crawl as far into the 2” space under the seat as she can thrust her stiff and portly little body. She has spent a lot of time in the car with teenaged boys and I feel this is what’s sent her into full on doggy insanity. She takes to the bed like Scarlet O’Hara now at the slightest provocation, flopping down in mental exhaustion.
In talking to friends, I hear all their weird dog stories with interest. Dog lovers can talk about their doggie loves and their quirks for hours. We adore our dog children. They never talk back like our human ones, they never grow up, never move away and never miss a chance to snuggle behind our knees under the covers. I will sooner drop big money on a fancy collar than give lunch money to my son. It seems this companion species that shares our lives and our beds is as weird as we are. Can it only be a matter of time until someone’s daughter is attending college for dog psychology and our pups become as medicated and as diagnosed as the rest of us?