Tobias J. Dog is the name we’ve given a stray dog I found a week ago and brought home. I was on my way back from the pool when I saw him sniffing away at something and wearing no collar or leash. I drove on but turned around and went back to see him trotting across the street to my side of the road.
I’d never seen him in our neighborhood before and no one was around, so I decided to keep him off our street where motorcyclists tear around as if it’s a free for all where speed laws don’t apply.
I opened the passenger door, made a kissy sound at him, as was my wont for sailors and construction workers in years past, and up he jumped, right into the seat as if we’d known each other for years.
As luck would have it, the MOTH was just driving by when I pulled into our driveway and he got him into the house. He’s already slipped out a few times to finish that adventure (Tobias, not the MOTH, although I’m prepared for that), but we catch up to him and he’s always willing to come back.
I think he likes us, but he appears to be a non-discerning companion to whomever wants to commune with him. He’s not very picky. I’m glad his standards aren’t very high, because mine aren’t either.
After sharing bed and board with him for a week, I suspect his previous owners-who still may show up one day to claim him-let him out to tinkle, and when he turned to come back in, they’d closed the door, locked it, turned out the porch lights, and pretended not to be home.
Toby, nothing daunted, no doubt shrugged and continued on his way, giving each and every blade of grass a sniff and a watering. Which he did when we brought him home. Lifted his leg on several things. He learns pretty quickly this isn’t nice behavior.
I came to this conclusion about his owners because I’ve never seen a needier dog. If you start petting him, you must be prepared to continue the ministrations for the foreseeable future. It’s good he was blessed with a pleasing demeanor, because he tromps on top of me and shoves his head up under my hand when I’m typing something. Very few people can get away with this.
What odd behavior this whole thing entails. Not on the part of Toby; he’s perfectly transparent and lovable. But on the part of a human, namely me.
Just think; if we went around picking up every homeless person, there wouldn’t be any homeless people. On the other hand, most stray dogs won’t do what Toby did. They shy away and I give up. I can’t chase anything and if I should, I’d probably run into the dog’s owner who would be within their rights to question me thoroughly as to why I’m chasing their dog.
Now imagine if we chased reluctant or shy people we mistake for being homeless. Invite them into our cars and make them stay in our houses.
Right now, he’s curled up at my side while I watch James Bond in A View to a Kill. A rogue Christopher Walken is told by a former colleague that it “isn’t possible to leave the KGB.” I grabbed Toby around the neck and whispered, “Are you KGB? Are you CIA? Are you a fugitive?”
After each question, he rumbled low, like a man just home from work, kicking off his tight shoes and unbuttoning his belt. He was clearly reluctant to corroborate the rumors and was warning me to lay off the questions. So, it’s a possibility Toby’s on the run from government secret forces and as such, deserves our protection.
To clarify, I have not shared a bed with Toby, although, despite his vertically challenged legs, he can jump up on our high-ish bed. He makes short work of jumping. I haven’t invited him into the inner sanctum because he likes dirt and currently our back yard has a significant dirt patch waiting to be paved over.
The hole he’s dug in order to snuggle down and keep cool looks deep enough to tip the house over. I gnaw my lip looking at it, imagining the disaster of an entire house tipping over into a dog dug hole. What a perfect way to hide his whereabouts from government assassins. Just dispose of the entire house and all its inhabitants. No good deed goes unpunished.
I thought Sugar was a digger. She saw the kind of work Toby can do, and she retired from the field. The field no longer existed, having been dug up by Toby.
We haven’t played catch with Sugar since Toby arrived. She requests a game of it every night, catching the ball in one almost every time. But, as soon as a man arrived, her old interests trotted out the door. It’s all about playing with the Tobster now. She and I have barely sat down and talked together for a week.
Don bought the two of them a stack of those round bones that take awhile to chew up. He gives each one, but by the time I see the remains of the bones, Sugar has the only one visible and walks by me with a slow Louisiana sashay and a coy look over her shoulder. Toby trails in her wake, trying to write her a check and sign over the title to his car and his house.
She has him in the palm of her paw. Personally, I think it’s some kind of replay of my life. I’m taller than Don, too. Sugar and I know what’s good.