When an angel with a flaming sword appeared and commanded me to take in a second dog, there was honestly nothing I could do. I went to Duncan and tried to explain, but he didn't seem to understand because he only knows 12 words and that wasn't enough words to explain the level of disruption he was about to experience.

I never wanted two dogs. I never wanted one dog.

There was a time, not all that long ago, when I was perfectly satisfied with the people around me having dogs I could visit.

Then one day I met Duncan. He was covered in poop and smelled like horses. A woman who also smelled like horses and had rescued him handed him over to me and told me he seemed traumatized. He dug his tiny claws into my arm and stared his tear-soaked eyes into mine and if this was just an act to get a human to devote his life to making sure Duncan's every need was perpetually met, well, then he deserves an Academy Award for it.

All I know is I started crying and paid the lady nine cents for him and now if the Trolley Problem happened in real life and I either had to save him or the entire human race I would pull the lever to wipe all of you out before they even finished explaining the rules.

That one dog was enough for me. I didn't need anything else. We lived in harmony together. He walked around the house just acting grateful. So did I.

Then the angel with the flaming sword appeared.

I was in the throes of Covid. I truly was out of my mind. I barely even remember doing this. Christmas was coming up. I was lying on the couch with a temperature of 194. I looked like an eighteenth century spinster taken with scarlet fever and depicted in the style of a renaissance painting.

And that's when I came up with a brilliant plan. With my sweaty fingers I googled "bern a dooooooodle utah pupy." I'm not kidding you. That was the google search. I checked later.

I clicked on the very first link and literally 20 seconds after that I Apple paid a nonrefundable deposit equal to the gdp of a mid-sized country for the kind of dog you only ever see in movies of rich white families directed by Nancy Meyers to pretend they have problems. Then I went to bed.

I woke up at 2:00 AM laughing about that bizarre dream I had where I did the one thing you should never do: buy a dog without first consulting your spouse.

Then I thought, "that was a dream, rightttttt????"

I pulled open my google and saw the search. Then I logged-in to my bank account and saw the charge. Then I screamed and lay awake for the rest of the night feeling like the protagonist in Crime & Punishment.

I confessed everything to Skylar the next morning. He was thrilled and has been hoping I'll get covid again ever since because he'd also like a pony.

This dog entered our lives and has been a walking, drooling, biting, shitting inconvenience ever since.

He destroyed our yard. He blows bubbles in his water and then pours water all over our floors on a daily basis so I perpetually walk around my house with two towels draped over my feet in a constant state of mopping like I'm some X-Man who got the short end of the stick when they were handing out physical abnormalities.

Last week I found that he had eaten a hole all the way through the carpet in the one room of our house that has carpet while I was innocently playing the piano next to him. Why did he do this, as he was surrounded by all of his chew toys?

Because Louie is an asshole.

A very, unbelievably cute asshole in a Nancy Meyers film.

But all of that inconvenience has been fine. We can deal with it. It's fine. Frankly, it's good for this high anxiety uptight particular gay who was unanimously voted "Class Neat Freak" in fifth grade because I kept a record of anyone who ever moved something on my desk so I would remember who to trust.

What I didn't contemplate until Louie was in our lives is how difficult it is to deal with going out of town when you have two dogs and one of them belongs on a terrorist watch list.

When it was just Duncan we had a public lottery anyone could enter for a chance to have him come stay at their house. People cried when they lost. That's because Duncan is an actual celestial being. He helps with the dishes. He vacuums the house when we're not home. He reads us bedtime stories, as long as they only include the 12 words he knows.

Remember that dog that used a phone to call for an ambulance on Rescue 911 when his human was unconsious? Duncan would have just treated us on the spot and saved the medical bills.

But Louie?


Louie is fine most of the time. Honestly. But we can't promise anyone he won't burn their house to the ground with a discarded cigarette butt he bummed off of hitchhiker in Vernal. We can't promise he won't teach their children to swear. We can't promise he won't sign them up for a subscription to Playdog. Is that a real magazine? I don't know. But I bet Louie does.

We've been fortunate to have two friends who live near us and have so much patience they should be canonized as Catholic saints. They've taken Louie in the past. But we learned they will be out of town the same time as us soon, so they aren't an option.

I started texting friends to make arrangements for Duncan. The texts looked like this: "Could you watch Duncan on such-and-such date NOT LOUIE DON'T WORRY."

Duncan was quickly claimed. That friend, not-surprisingly, didn't follow up the text with, "and I'd be happy to take Louie as well."

When we could think of no other option, we decided we'd just have to board Louie at the place we sent him to be trained. (None of the complaints in this post are the school's fault, by the way. They made Louie 75% better. But Louie was a genocidal maniac when we enrolled him so 75% better is still not fit for polite society.)

Leaving a dog with a boarder is not a familiar concept for me. If I walked Duncan into one of those places I'm pretty sure he would have a heart attack on the spot and I'd literally see his ghost ascend from his little body to heaven. It would be a very cute ghost. I'd cry.

But Louie? This dog doesn't give a shit about anything. When we take him to the groomer he pulls on the leash to try to get to the door faster. At the dog park he'll sometimes try to go home with other people. Right in front of us. So, yeah. We're pretty sure this will all be fine.

Yesterday morning I spent hours doing yard repair for the damage Louie caused over the winter. He followed me around, staring at me, almost as if to say, "that's right. I'm the captain."

Eventually I collapsed into a chair on the patio. He climbed onto my lap like he sometimes does and used his paw to aggressively pull on my arm, his way of commanding me to pet him. I did so. He settled in and fell asleep in seconds, his hefty body weighing down on me, his breaths and grunts slowing to a soft hum.

I love that little shit.

~It Just Gets Stranger