One of the most endearing things about my dog, Snorp, is that when he gets drunk—really, really drunk—he gets all emotional and starts telling the truth. Normally, he’s one of history’s greatest liars, but when he's snorkeling down a half-rack, well, he tells it like it is.
I came home from work early yesterday, and there he was, sprawled across the front porch. Drool was slowly pooling on the third step, and there were empty beer cans everywhere. The remnants of a couple bags of Doritos and some gnarled dental floss gave mute testimony to the fact that Snorp meant business.
I’d seen this before, but normally, Snorp reserved his really heavy drinking for the weekends. He once told me he liked to get hammered on Friday night, because he didn’t have to go to work the next day. I remember pointing out that he’d never had a job, so that logic didn’t exactly fit.
So, here it is, late Tuesday afternoon, and my dog is drunk. Go figure.
I found a quasi-drool-free spot, patted him on the head, and asked how he was doing? Have you ever tried to understand an emotional, drunk dog? Snorp normally slurs his words, but today was as bad as I’ve ever heard it.
My question opened the floodgates of tears, drool and not a little dog snot.
When it was all said and done, it seems I had made Snorp feel insignificant and buffoonish, by holding on to his favorite neon green ball when I pretended to throw it. He recounted his undying love for the ball, and me, and in the same breath hammered me for being so cruel and heartless. He recalled the many times I’d pretended to throw the ball, and, in his efforts to please me, had bounded over fences, off piers, and into bushes, all looking for a ball that wasn’t there.
His voice softened as he recalled his sense of betrayal, when I would urge him on to find the un-thrown ball. Head high, eyes bright, and tail up, he would pranced back and forth, searching in vain for the sequestered orb.
(I challenged him on the ‘sequestered orb’ thing. He opened one bloodshot eye, and indignantly informed me that he’s enrolled in an online “Word of the Day’ program, aimed at ‘embellishing’ his vocabulary. Who knew?)
He recalled how, having witnessed my fraudulent throw, and his overzealous attempts at finding a non-existent ball, the other dogs in the neighborhood had begun to mock him.
To scorn him.
To shun him.
To ridicule him.
To diminish him.
To belittle him.
I told him I got the picture.
His voice sobered, and dropped a few octaves, when he whispered, “Does it make you feel superior when you make fools of those of us without an opposable thumb?”
I stood up, walked into the house, and returned with two more bags of Doritos, and the 5 remaining beers.
I told him I was sorry, and that it wouldn’t happen again. I tore the bags open, poured the beers into his water dish, and patted him on the head.
The stars were out, and the moon high when he finally drifted off into an alcohol and Doritos infused coma. He twitched a few times when I moved his massive head off my lap. My pants were soaked with drool and smudged with Doritos dust. I had begun to detect the first vestiges of an unfamiliar itching in my slobber-soaked nether regions.
Quietly walking back into the house, I reflected on what a small price some gooey clothes and a peculiar itch were, when atoning for such a serious breach in canine etiquette.
As I turned the front porch light off, Snorp raised his head, burped twice and twitched in response to a dream involving a ball, three cats, and a catapult.