Sunday, August 26, 2012

Neurosis and underwear

Charlie is an incredibly neurotic dog. If he was a human we would need to seek some treatment for him; probably a combination of therapy and some sort of medication. He is extremely particular about many things, so much so that it can cause him to be unable to accomplish basic dog tasks. Like going outside to use the restroom.

Charlie and I woke up early this morning while Michelle was still sleeping. Immediately, I could tell that he needed to go outside to use the restroom. I opened the back door for him. He just sat there. We have trained Charlie to sit at doors and wait for a signal from us, letting him know he has permission to go.

"OK," I said. He still just sat there looking out the open door.

"OK," I tried again. He just looked up at me.

"Charlie, go outside," I commanded.


It had rained last night. The back step was wet, the cement on the driveway was wet, and, of course, the grass was wet. Charlie hates being outside in the rain or when it has just finished raining. So I closed the door and went about my daily morning business until I heard Charlie pawing at the back door in the kitchen while I was in the restroom. I walked over to the back door again and opened it. Charlie, still, would not go out.

"You're so weird," I said to him as I closed the door. "Fine. You won't go outside today. You'll just have to hold it." I truly believe that he can understand my English, even though I know that is not entirely true.

I began to clean up the popcorn bowl, empty drinking glass, and random napkin I left in the living room from the night before. In the kitchen I threw out the filter full of coffee grounds left from yesterday when Charlie began clawing at the door and whining.

"This is ridiculous," I said as I opened the back door for the third time while slipping on my sandals still on the floor. As I opened the screen door, Charlie still sat inside the house just looking outside. I stepped out, in my underwear, to remove the soaking door mat, and hang it on the railing to drip dry. Charlie stepped out as I was bending down. When I stood up, I turned around and he was not in the back yard. There was no way he ran behind the garage that fast. I swiveled and saw him walking down the driveway.

"Charlie!" I sternly half-whispered in my underwear. "Get over here!" I couldn't yell because I was practically naked and didn't want to draw attention to myself, even though it was only 7:30 on a Sunday morning. Our driveway where Charlie was standing was just four feet from the neighbor's house with an open bedroom window.

Charlie looked at me, lifted one of his legs, and proceeded to take the longest pee right on the concrete.

"Seriously?" I said, glancing at the window, fearing our neighbor would not only see my underwear but also our neurotic dog taking a piss on the driveway.

The peeing seemed eternal. The yellow puddle grew larger and larger as the pool slowly crept towards his back paws engulfing them. All I could think about now was Charlie's soaked paws being all over the floor of our house and furniture. He kept peeing, the puddle then overtaking his front paws also. As he finished, he proceeded to step multiple times in the urine puddle, apparently sapping up any left over moisture not already soaked up in his white-haired feet.

Then, he proceeded to take off walking down the driveway toward the front yard. I was standing on the back step at this time. I looked at the neighbors open window. Still, no one was looking at me. The house was protecting me from being viewed by anyone who might be in the front of the house. But it was too late. My dog wanted to go find a dry place in the front yard to poop. And I had to stop him. In my underwear.

I took off running down the driveway after him. "Get back here now!" I yelled this time, not worrying if I woke up the neighbor because I was already in plain sight of anyone who might be in the neighborhood. I grabbed Charlie's collar and pulled him to the backyard. When I turned around, I saw the old man two houses down, sitting out on his back porch, like he usually does early in the morning. I quickly moved back inside where it was safe but it was too late.

Charlie proceeded to prance along the brick landscaping along the side of the garage, like he always does when walking in the backyard. He does this with precision. This is his neurotic routine for walking into the back yard as he doesn't quite like to walk on grass. But he particularly stays on the brick when it is wet outside.

I watched this, shaking my head to myself, resigning myself to the fact that I somehow deserved what had just happened.

After a few minutes, Charlie came running back from behind the garage, heading straight for the back door. This means that he just finished pooping. When I opened the door, he immediately went to walk around on the newly washed kitchen rug, circling, leaving wet, muddy Charlie prints everywhere. I wondered whether or not those rug prints contained urine residue but it was too late. So I called Charlie back to me and wiped his paws dry, probably for no reason.


  1. Todd, usually I try to draw a picture in my mind of what is happening when I read your blog posts. It helps place me in the moment and visualize what is going on...but in this case I tried as hard as I could to not create a mental image of the scene. Unfortunately, it did not work. I think my coworkers must be wondering why I'm laughing so hard!

  2. I love this story! And I love dog blogs. Keep up the great writing, Todd! I also have a neurotic dog, but I haven't written anything about her lately. You may have inspired me.

    Charlie's character comes through so well in this post, especially with the precision landscape-prancing and the need to relieve himself on dry surfaces only. Thank Heaven for dogs!