By COLLEEN LEDDY
We almost became part-time dog owners this weekend. We were lined up to take care of Ben and Sarah’s dog, Annie, until they leave for Abu Dhabi. You remember Annie. Annie is the dog responsible for a grown man wetting himself.
She’s the dog Ben was walking at the end of his street at 2:30 in the morning when he decided to do like Annie and ended up peeing all over himself while 23 fire ants bit his foot, causing a dangerous allergic reaction throughout his body.
It’s Annie who makes me know that Ben is going to be a wonderful father. He gives her baths, he gets up in the middle of the night to walk her, he plays with her and is just generally attentive to her needs.
We met Annie last November when we spent Thanksgiving in Miami with Ben and Sarah and their roommate Chris. Annie’s a wiry little thing, a full-breed Yorkshire terrier cranked to full throttle.
She’s 10 years old, but she sure doesn’t act her age. She tries to attack bigger dogs and she races in circles around the house—around and around and around she goes. She even sneezes in circles, Chris points out. That’s right, as she sneezes, she walks around in a circle.
She’s a pretty smart cookie. She gets a little worn out in the heat of Miami, so when Ben and Sarah take her on walks, she walks even slower in the shade. That way she limits the amount of time she has to spend in the sun.
And, when she runs away or hides under the bed, all Ben has to do is yell, “Treat!” and she’ll come running.
I feel an affinity toward Annie because she has good taste in the finer things in life, like food, for example. She whines whenever she smells good food cooking. Ben’s a bit of a sucker, and gives her bits to taste.
I know I am responsible. He grew up in a family where we couldn’t let a baby cry. Sure, my kids cried as babies, but one of us was always there, trying to give comfort and figure out what was wrong; only one of us could breastfeed and that was usually enough to quiet any unruly Green baby.
So, Ben can’t be blamed for caving to Annie’s whining, he learned it from birth. He will have to learn not to give in to all the other childhood demands when he has kids of his own, but then, he learned a lot about that along the way, too.
Annie’s pretty lucky that Ben and Sarah are planning to take her to Abu Dhabi. She kind of got stuck up north in Suttons Bay as a result of some miscommunication when they went on their honeymoon. Now Ben and Sarah are back in Miami, but Annie hasn’t made it this far south yet.
Perhaps it’s just as well. My experience with dogs hasn’t been great. And we all have heard the antics poor Sam suffered at the hands of the Green boys. Stuffing his feet into toilet paper rolls and placing him on top of the spinning record player is probably what sent Sam running off to Spain.
My brother Kevin “gave” me a puppy for my graduation from junior high school—a wild, pre-named puppy I had no use for. Chippy was a crazy dog who lunged for every person who passed her on the street. This was the Bronx—there were lots of people on the street. Thus, I hated walking her and resented that she was “my” dog.
It always seemed like a cruel joke my brother played on me. He really wanted a dog and what better way to get one than give it to your sister as a present?
Sure, it was “my” dog. “My” dog, who I had to feed the grossest gaggiest Alpo dog food and “my” dog who I had to walk with the fear she’d kill a stranger. “My” dog who chewed my dirty underwear and left tiny bits of cotton strewn all over the house. Oh, the memories were pouring back. Is this what it would be like with Annie?
I called Ben.
“Does Annie eat underwear?”
“Yes, but only dirty ones,” he said.