Jimmy Tomlin: The slippery slope of dog ownership

Apr. 08, 2013 @ 01:00 AM

I thought we were rescuing a greyhound.
As it turns out, we merely brought him home from the kennel. He still needs rescuing.
Or therapy, whichever comes first.
Spice is our 3-year-old greyhound. He’s a sweet, beautiful dog, but he’s also — and I mean this in the most loving way possible — a complete doofus.
Sometimes, in the heat of the moment — say, for example, when he lands his big, fat, toenail-laden paw on my unsuspecting bare foot because he’s trying to sniff what’s in my hand, even though I just showed him there’s absolutely nothing in my hand — I actually call him Doofus.
As in, “Ye-owwwwwwwwww!! Get off my foot, Doofus!!”
If he doesn’t get off my foot, his name becomes You Big Doofus. And if he starts wagging his tail while still standing on my foot, he becomes DOOFUS in all capital letters.
This is not politically correct, of course. Calling my dog a doofus to his face may scar him for life, except for the fact that — I know this to be true — Spice doesn’t actually know what a doofus is. He’s too much of a doofus to know what a doofus is.
Name-calling aside, we love Spice. He’s sweet, he’s loyal, and he only barks about once a month. He has never tinkled or pooped in the house, and his tail wags furiously when he greets us. Those are all qualities you want in a dog.
On the other hand, though — in addition to being a complete doofus — Spice is also neurotic. His fear of our living room and kitchen floors — yes, floors — is legendary in the Tomlin household. It’s tantamount to a lot of humans’ fear of spiders.
And our kitchen floor, in particular, is a black widow.
This, as you may have guessed, is because Spice finds the floor to be slippery. When we first brought him home, he skidded a time or two on the floor, and he’s been terrified ever since. With those long, gangly legs of his, I started referring to him as “a giraffe on ice skates.”
Yes, we’ve tried putting down throw rugs and towels for Spice to walk on. They help, of course, but they also make the house look like some sort of surreal video game, where you have to hop from one towel to the next to get around, and if you miss, you tumble into the The Great Abyss.
In a moment of desperation, we even bought him a pair — er, um, a set — of dog booties for his feet. Please, I’m begging you, don’t ever make your dog attempt to wear apparel that was intended for humans. A dog trying to walk in Chuck Taylors is like you or me trying to walk barefooted in six inches of mud.
And then, of course, Spice tried to chew up the booties so he wouldn’t have to wear them. If it had come down to him having to gnaw his paws off — you know, like a coyote might do if he were snared in an iron trap — I’m pretty sure Spice would’ve done it.
Don’t get me wrong: We don’t regret getting a greyhound, because that’s what we wanted. My wife, Becky, went to North Surry High School, home of the Greyhounds. I went to Statesville High School, home of the Greyhounds. So it just seemed like a perfect fit — we adopted a greyhound.
In retrospect, I thank God we didn’t go to High Point Central.
Home of the Bison.
But I digress.
Here’s some good news: Spice has learned how to enter a room with a slippery floor — he walks backward. I’m not kidding. Somehow, he discovered that if he walks backward, he has better traction and doesn’t slide.
That’s right, my dog can moonwalk — and he thinks it’s perfectly normal.
You see? This is why we think Spice needs therapy.
If not him, then us.
jtomlin@hpe.com | 888-3579