Tag Archives: Teddy

Shut the Pod Bay Doors, Hal

 

I’m not so much a gadget freak as a gadget mutant alien virus.

My technology jones runs deep. I have four outdated cellular phones, a half dozen MP3 players and four digital cameras. My middle name could be iSucker.

I even like the ads for electronic stores. When I lived at home, I would seek the Sunday fliers for Best Buy and Circuit City, simply to marvel at Moore’s Law, the theorem that technology doubles every 18 months — so your computer and cell phones should be twice as fast, hold twice as much data, every year and a half — with requisite price hikes.

So Cyber Monday has become my Black Friday, as it has for millions of Americans: Roughly $6.6 billion sales are logged on Cyber Monday, a figure that must give brick and mortar shops a raging erection. Though it’s surprising that the ever-clever internet denizens didn’t come up with something more clever than Cyber Monday. If the creators of e-shopping really wanted to mock traditional stores, which is clearly part of the strategy, they would have called it “African-American Monday.”

Regardless, Amazon has gone nuts over the phenomenon it helped manifest. The site has created a cyber-flier that is replete with gizmos and whatzits. It’s terrific reading.

There’s a laptop about the weight of a candy bar. There’s an Alexa-powered webcam that looks like it came from NASA, with night vision and motion detector alerts sent to your phone.

But my favorite by far was Furbo, a remote dog treat dispenser.

The idea is fascinating. A remote camera keeps an eye on Fido, using your computer and even cellular phone to monitor the pup, scold it to stop incessant yapping, and reward it when it’s good. Tell Spot to sit, and you can remotely eject a dog treat to your canine.

This is the stuff of The Jetsons. As I read, I wondered: Are we really this bored and wealthy?

Turns out the answer is “goddamned straight.” Furbo had 1,049 reviews and a four-out-of-five-star rating. It also had 271 questions from interested buyers: Could you use your own dog treats? How long is the warranty? Does it works for cats? (For what do you even reward a cat? A furball-free day?)

As I scrolled through the questions, I noticed it didn’t address my primary one: What happens when a dog jacks its leg to pee on it? I’m guessing it happens, as there’s an entire YouTube cottage industry of dogs peeing on myriad targets: cats, new shoes, sunbathers, etc. Teddy once peed on chair at the dog park. An occupied chair.

So, on a smartass-ian lark, I asked the simple question 271 others  would not: “Is it urine-proof?”

I expected that the seller would not even post the joke. At best, I would get a similarly snarky response, like “No, but it is fecal-resistant.”

Instead, I immediately received a spate of replies. “No, it’s plastic but still an electrical device;” “Perhaps — I would elevate it to the height of a treat jar,” etc. Apparently, the question raised a real issue — one not mentioned in the entire ad for Furbo.

But there was one reply in particular that caught my eye, from Lisa S. I knew it would have the inevitable, anonymous air of the internet era, which has ushered mankind into the Iron(y) Age. The primary advancement of the period: veiled asshole-nish. The letter began with “I don’t know,” which begs another question: Then why reply in ‘Answers?’ It also was clearly her chance to brag on her pets.

“I don’t know,” she wrote. “Mine sits on the counter and my dogs are housebroken.”

So I sent her the only response I could think:

“Oh, I don’t have a dog.”

Have a holly jolly!

 

 

 

 

 

Please like & share:

The True Dog Whisperers

 

Esme and I have been enjoying the Westminster Dog Show, and were thrilled that a Teddy-sized hound finally took Best in Show, though, as Esme points out, none proved they could fetch.

Much less train their humans to.

For years, despite scores of dogs attempting to teach me, I couldn’t master the throw-and-return maneuver. With Ted, for instance, he’d just bring the ball back to engage in a game of tug-of-war or, even better, Chase-the-Retriever-with-the-ball.

Esme, though, trained me in a day. Maybe less. She even taught me how to play from the jacuzzi: Throw it toward the south fence, and she’ll teeter it on the tub ledge. Really. Here she is, trying to teach my aunt Lessie to fetch. (Says Esme, Keep goin, champ! You’re almost there!)

Now she’s got me working with another fetchable: a foot-long stuffed squirrel that eerily resembles roadkill. Except this treasure squeaks, from squeezable head to its whoopee-cushion tail.

For the purposes of this story, we’ll call the toy Chew-Barka — for story purposes only. I mean, what 51-year-old adult man would name his dog’s stupid stuffed animal? That’s crazy. You’re crazy. So drop it, ok? Jerk.

Anyway, Esme loves Chewy. Carries it everywhere. When friends visit, she invariably brings them her slobbered precious.

She even uses it to nag me. All dogs have an inherent sense of time, particularly when it’s marked with food. And it was hard to miss my dogs’ hunger pangs; Teddy would begin to pace in front of the TV everyday at 5 p.m.

Now, I get a squeak tone when it’s dinner time.

But I can never get angry, so deft is her touch with it. Linus would be impressed with Esme’s fondness for a security blanket.

One chilly night, as we were turning in (Esme always brings Chewy to bed), she burrowed close to borrow my body heat. I put some spare blanket over her — it’s gotten so that I can’t fall asleep without her — and put a hand on Esme’s belly to warm her.

Then I felt her fur, which was matted and moist, the way Teddy’s coat would turn after an epileptic seizure.

Panicked, I sat bolt upright, reached for the light switch. And realized I was petting Chewy.

For a moment, I may have angered. I can’t remember, because it fades whenever Ezzie gives me that look: Hey dummy, you’re petting a stuffed animal. But don’t worry. We’ll play in the morning. Yes we will. Yes we will! Who’s a good human?? Who’s a good boy??

I am!

 

Please like & share:

Theodore Ruxpin Bowles (4/10/07-7/27-16)

 

Teddy wasn’t supposed to be a big dog. Or a furry dog. Or a male dog.

He wasn’t even supposed to be Teddy.

The plan had been to get a little hound after the divorce. For I can no more live without a dog than I can without a pulse.

I was thinking Puggle, a mix of Pugs and beagles. I fell for their faces and wanted a small, smush-faced female, diminutive and bright. Her name would be Henrietta Pugglesworth.

Then I saw Teddy in a forwarded email.

dogpark

He was born in a litter of 11, an unplanned miracle for a Beverly Hills couple who thought their Golden Retriever was fixed. She wasn’t.

The pups were as small as gerbils when I first saw them, each suckling with vigor on a very fatigued mom.

I chose the smallest girl, the runt of the litter. She would be named Esme. You see, it’s humanly impossible to see a Retriever puppy and not take it home. That’s just science.

The owner put a pink ribbon  on her so he could tell the sexes. I waited for my pup to turn six weeks old as impatiently as I did for Christmas morning as a boy. I picked it up, brought it home, showed it the new home, wrestled a little on the floor.

That’s when I noticed the penis. Esme was, in fact, an aptly hung male. I knew the pup looked bigger than expected when I picked it up. But I never looked under the hood.

I called the owner, who was mortified. He apologized profusely, even offered to give me a full refund.

But it was too late. Looking at his tiny maw, chewing on my finger like a rawhide, I realized I would never give him back. To see a Retriever puppy is to fall deep. Again, science and all.

Esme became Teddy, and so we began life together, one often entwined. He was diagnosed with epilepsy in his first year, so we took our meds together. He was once run over by a car, so we both had to sport foreign body parts. We both had shitty eyesight, unreasonable optimism and very keen ears. Though he liked doctors visits more than I.

atpark

Which is good, because he went often. He once ate an entire weed brownie he’d swiped off the counter. He ate anything that smelled like me: wallets, pants, underwear. Even a bathrobe. He once ate $86 in cash. ‘What’s mine is yours,’ he seemed to be saying. ‘And, of course, vice versa.’

teddyatcounterteddyplaysfetch

True to his word, he did share. I did get that smush-faced Esme, who Teddy treated like the little sister she was. She may be the smartest dog I’ve ever seen; he is the kindest. She would routinely place her head in his jaws, unafraid he would dare bite her. He didn’t.

Patience, say hello to Trust.

inmouth

His body would slow over the years, though never his nature. He still greeted every visitor like a prodigal son, and shed on them like a fur retailer. He still barked  in mock anger at the lawn guy, who wielded the Machines of Great Ruckus.But all he’d do if he broke into the yard was run to play with the guy, who would gently walk him back inside. Ted would never pass up a car ride.

inpt

Teddy left today.

This afternoon, I sat in the shower to mourn and reflect and let the external rains wash away the internal. I left the bedroom door open for the first time (Teddy would feast on underpants otherwise). Esme came to shower and lay on the bathmat. She knew something was different. And I realized she’d feel the loss as much as I.

One day, I decided, she’ll have a younger brother. I don’t know what breed. I don’t know what size. I certainly don’t know what name.

As long as he’s nothing that he’s supposed to be.

imwithted

 

 

 

Please like & share: