Sandy has three dogs that follow him everywhere. Sleep on him all day in the chair. Sleep
beside him all night on the bed. And piss wherever they please.
“Not a bit spoiled,”
he says daily as he pats the three shrunken heads at his side. Nigel, with his mug full of compost.
Their mother moved to Japan and the emperor of this farm is 83. Being new, I’ve taken the puppies to task. Time is always a factor as I try to rub the fat one’s nose in the morning puddle and shove him through the dog door leg by leg by head before Sandy shuffles across the concrete living room floor.
“Well, if you keep rubbing their faces in it, eventually they’ll develop a taste for it.”
He says over a bowl of raisin bran.
Nigel is top pisser. I know the spots the boy is pissing and he hates that about me. We have
a deal; I clean it and he wears it for a while.
First ambassador to the king himself, Nigel’s favourite past time is surfing Sandy in the recliner. He likes to run through the kitchen and leap from the doorway onto Sandy’s sleeping lap.
“Not on my testicles, Nigel!”
Nigel gets a lot of treats from Sandy in the form of half of every meal. I learned to make Sandy’s bacon ‘n egg sandwiches over-hard after he bit into an over-medium yolk and it sprayed a clean line on all three dogs across his legs. Free range, it was a beautiful golden colour.
The first day I met Nigel, I thought he had been in a terrible farm accident where he’d lost both his eyes. Dreadlocks grew like blackberry bushes on the fence of his face. Scissors and time were all we needed to restore his sight. He looked up at me and mouthed, “Mama”. Finally, he could see all the places he was going to piss.
Emily is a tiny black shih tzu with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Katie can’t afford the tests to find out her exact sensory deficits but its pretty obvious she needs a sweater and possibly a medic alert bracelet.
Emily is darling and sadly she too had lost both eyes to dreadlocks. As I tried to cut her way to visual freedom, I was struck by the similarities between her and a charred, greasy version of Oscar’s little cousin in the garbage can.
Emmy pisses mostly from anxiety and confusion but again budget concerns and lack of funding prevent us from getting the proper diagnosis.
One trip to the groomer and she is my favorite. Emily is everybody’s favorite.
Shayla, or C’est la (she goes by both), yells “charge” every time a car approaches the
driveway. The other two chase her out the dog door in a barking frenzy to weave in and out of the moving vehicle’s front tires.
When I take Sandy to the doctor, I drive very slowly as their barking heads dip under the car out of my sight.
“They go crunch.”
He always laughs at his own jokes. I laugh too.
My job on the farm is to love, clothe, bathe, and behaviourally assess the small dogs that
follow the old man.
Sandy pretends I am stealing them away to gas them as I take them one at a time to be bathed and bring them back to him wrapped in a towel.
“Nooo. Where are you taking them?”
he cries like a mother.
“You’re robbing them of their animalness,”
he laughs to me, but all three dogs are smiling.
“I’m robbing them the evidence of all their naughty behaviour,”
Three tiny pissers. Clean and confident for a new round of pissing.