When I say "tiny, awkward doglike creature," I truly mean it. He is eight disproportionate pounds of solid, broad-shouldered body with the bulging, divergent eyeballs and tragic skull of artificial selection gone awry. His frame is barely supported by four twiggy legs that enable him to run with the speed and grace of a pill bug. His personality is charming and cuddly, if a bit clingy. One thing I will say is that the tiny, awkward doglike creature is a spectacular guard dog(like creature); large dogs, door-to-door solicitors, and passing motorized vehicles beware, and quiver in terror at the cacophony of fierce yaps and wheezes triggered by your approach!
Unfortunately for him, the doglike creature (or "Not-Dog," as I've come to call him) is as intimidating as a baked potato. In fact, most of his nicknames are food-related and equally undignified. Behold, the many call signs of the Not-Dog:
A typical run begins with us setting out at a respectable pace. His ears and tail are up, toothpick legs flying, mouth open in a joyous grin. The punchy beat of industrial metal in my headphones gets me pumped up, and I stride out with determination. At the first intersection, he sees a sign post and swerves over to take a leak. I keep jogging, and the persistent tug on his leash keeps him on track. No biggie, he seems to think as he scampers back to my side, I'll just mark the next one.
No such luck. By the third intersection, the Not-Dog's judgment is clouded by nature's call. He gets increasingly flustered when I don't heed his need - his absolute, unwavering need - to blast vertical objects with urine and canine masculinity. He slams on the brakes and allows his furry corpse to go limp as he is dragged behind me by his harness.
Whoops. Maybe he does need to empty that bitty bladder. So I stop mid-stride, somewhat thankful for a brief respite to catch my shallow, albuterol-hardened breath. The Not-Dog spritzes a mere driplet onto the fire hydrant and yawns, his duty complete. He thinks it's time to go home.
I disagree. The first song on my playlist isn't even over. So we continue our piteous dance of I-run-until-he-flops-over-like-eight-pounds-of-raw-burger-on-a-string. Eventually, my perky trot slows to what equestrians know as a "Western pleasure jog." It's not entirely the Not-Dog's fault; he was spoiled and obese when I adopted him, and our walks at that time frequently turned into "drags" until he learned that it was in his best interest to keep up with me. Now, however, we're both panting and stomping along as best as we can, and we haven't even truly left the neighborhood yet. Time to ramp things up again, stumpy Chihuahua legs be damned. I scoop him into my arms and keep on truckin'.
So his happy break doesn't last long - just enough for him to catch his breath and for me to lose all feeling in my arms. The Not-Dog is lowered to the ground, where he promptly unloads the rest of his bladder on a clump of grass before we set off for home. After being cradled in my arms for about a quarter of a mile, he is chipper and prancing like a mutant fawn while I morph into the lagging one, hauling my disintegrating carcass step by step back to the welcome world of showers and the internet and not wearing pants and not having to move for the rest of the day.
The Not-Dog glances over his shoulder with one glistening eyeball, a buttery baked potato on French fry legs, possibly thinking, Taking the Not-Human out for a walk is such a pain sometimes. I need to ramp up her training - next time, I'll flop over right away at the end of the driveway.