Tuesday, February 13, 2007


In Which We Raise the Alarm (and Our Gorge)...

I have to admit: My dog is not the brave and loyal hound I make him out to be.

Sometimes, he can be a real pain in my ass, even worse than taking care of a fish (and as you know from my misadventure of last week, that's saying something).

Early this morning, at around 4:30, he started barking, this short, yappy "Come quick!" bark that makes you leap up and feel for the cricket bat underneath the bed. By the time I was fully awake, I was halfway down the stairs, hair and underwear wildly askew. I flicked on every light as I went. Which was a good thing.

Since I was able to see the vomit from a long way off.

(Unlike last time, this time, I will spare you the pictures.)

I still can't quite figure out how, but Blaze managed to get his muzzle up against the corner of his kennel and yark in a straight line across the kitchen floor, leaving a five-foot long ridge of steamy, chunky badness from the spattered cushion in his cage almost to the back door. And then he called me down to come clean it up.

Now I realized it wasn't his fault, that he obviously got a bad clam or something, but it was not quite five in the morning and I had only gone to bed around one, so I heaved a great sigh and swore for a bit. Blaze stood there in his cage, trembling, licking his foamy chops and gazing at me with a kind of don't-be-mad-I'm-just-a-dog expression.

"Awright, awright, I know," I said, opening the door to the kennel. "Come on, get out of there." And as soon as I said this, Blaze bolted past me and up the stairs. Oh great, I thought, now he's going to redecorate upstairs. But I had nowhere else to put him til I cleaned the current mess, so I set about that job as quickly as I could.

All I could think was that Blaze was obviously easing me back into my lifestyle as dad to a baby. When Thomas and the Brownie were each little more than a set of stunted limbs surrounding a giant screaming mouth, I always took the night shift, wiping spit-up off of faces, cribs, ceilings; changing out diapers that had been tested to within an inch of their design specs; and in general being the filler of gaping maws and cleaner of hard-to-reach crevices. And that duty seemed downright pleasant compared to mopping up half-digested bits of (Freak of) Science Diet from between the bars of the kennel.

At last, though, I got the damage contained. All that remained was to pick my way verrry carefully upstairs and retrieve Barfy the Dog. After determining no land mines had been left for me, I found him planted firmly in the doorway to the Brownie's bedroom and with much coaxing, got him back downstairs, where I fluffed up some old towels for his kennel and got him situated inside it.

For about 25 minutes.

No sooner had I started to doze off when the damn dog started in again--that same irritating yap that seemed to say, "Quick! Quick! Quick!"

This time, there was no vomit, and I should have been grateful for that, but I wasn't. I was really pissed and I yelled at Blaze for a bit. Instead of cowering, though, he pawed at his kennel door and I let him out. He then bolted for the front door and started doing the dog equivalent of The Pee-Pee Dance. I suppose the full-muscle effort of shooting the contents of his stomach across a room must have put a certain strain on his bladder.

So here's me, at 5 in the goddamn morning, suiting up in snowpants, scarves, a parka and gloves and walking my damn dog.

Oh, and did I mention that it was in the middle of a snowstorm?

Well, I will say this: Blaze had to go. Within five seconds, he had transformed half of the front walk into the Yellow Brick Road. Then he dragged me off across the snowblind wastes of my neighborhood, insisting on making his usual rounds, even though I was kind of thinking of this as a pit stop. No, we were out there in the white-out for a full 20 minutes.

Luckily, I didn't have any problem finding our way back to the house. Because when I rounded the corner to our block, there were some helpful red and blue lights flashing in the driveway next to mine.

Our next-door neighbors just moved and the new owners had been slowly moving in this week. I hadn't even had the chance to meet them yet, but I was naturally concerned. The patrol car had just arrived. Officer Jimbo--who replaced the recently retired Officer Peltz--was just getting out of the car. Blaze and I trotted across the street. I waved. Jimbo recognized me from the neighborhood watch meetings and nodded.

"You see anybody on your walk?" he called out through the wind.

"No," I said. Between the storm and the ungodly hour, the streets had been totally deserted. "What's wrong?"

"Attempted break-in," he said. "These folks have been moving in all week, somebody was probably casing the place, figuring to go in and walk out with stuff while it's all still neatly packed. But with the storm they spent the night here tonight, instead of going back into the city, so they heard the guy trying to break in through the back door."

All of a sudden, I felt dizzy.

"When was this?" I asked weakly.

"Little less than an hour ago," he said. "Why? You see something?"

Without answering, I started running across the neighbor's driveway to my house. Blaze was next to me, and then a second later he was pulling me, around to my back yard.

The wind had been blowing pretty hard through the night and the snow had been steadily falling, but not so hard that it obscured the single trail of footprints that snaked across my backyard, running along the fence, then under the tree.

Then up the stairs to the back door of my house.

Officer Jimbo caught up to us on the steps to the back porch. Blaze was literally running in circles, sniffing and making a keening whine, with intermittent yips. He got so worked up, in fact, that he started dry-heaving again. This time, I was ready to join him.

As you can imagine, what with making out the police report--Officer Jimbo theorized that the prowler came to my house first by mistake, probably disoriented in the storm--and the general excitement, I didn't bother going back to bed.

At 6:30, with Officer Jimbo next door and Blaze and me back in the house, Her Pregnant Self came downstairs to the smell of fresh coffee and breakfast being cooked.

But not for her.

In fact, she caught me in the act of sliding a big, fluffy ham-and-cheese omelet into Blaze's food dish. "What are you doing?" she howled as the dog gratefully tucked in.

"Just resetting the burglar alarm," I said.

I have to admit: My dog is not the brave and loyal hound I make him out to be.

Sometimes, he's even better than that.

From Somewhere on the Masthead

Did Blaze enjoy the coffee too?

(Give that dog a rub from me too!)
Mag Man, I cannot begin to comprehend just how much odd crap goes on in your little orbit of the universe. Crrrrazy stuff. Resetting the burgler alarm. Heh. Sounds like another story to add to the Legend of Blaze...
Way to go, Blaze. Sorry the alarm uses projectiles though, MM.
No wonder he went right to the Brownie's door! What a perfect dog!- and a perfect reward!
Good ole Blaze- the most wonderous of all Wonder Dogs :)
Blaze is one hawesome dog!
Aww, can we clone Blaze? I wouldn't mind my own burglar alarm that can love ya back!
Good boy.. Very good boy!!
Blazey, you rock!

MM, I'll bet you never again complain about cleaning up a little barf...

T ;)
I'd love to hear that story from Blaze's point of view!

cheers :)
Go Blazey!!

You really have to write a book about him.

The Straight Poopster
Very cool. You've got a pretty marvelous dog, and you tell his stories so well.
Rock and Roll, Blaze!
What a good boy! Give him a scratch behind the ears from me.
Of course, now you understand that the projectile vomit was Blaze's Wonder Dog plan to make the intruder slip & fall flat on his ass; buy enough time for you to make it down the stairs with your cricket bat & let him out of the crate to rip the intruder to shreds.

Trust in the Doggie powers!

I know I could count on Julieta to be snoring in her bed if ever an intruder entered my home.
Hmmm. Car Stereos & Brandy??? I think maybe Blaze is posting under a couple of pseudonyms and leaving hints concerning further remuneration.
yay, blaze! really, mm, you need to start listening to him.

should i be worried that as i was reading it, i had another version in my head as well - told from blaze's perspective? he was quite exasperated with you, oh chittering one. ;-)

jim - lol. i thought the same thing.
Blaze is seriously amazing. I think you guys might have to build a shrine soon.
I always thought that the mark of a great writer is the ability to make a mundane anecdote a spectacular story. Now, I must say, you are a great writer, but I have yet to read a post that began with mundane material.
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