Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Peeing Isn’t Easy

I spent yesterday in Milan, so it’d be hard for me to find something to complain about. But I am a complainer, so I found something.

The airport bathrooms in Milan seem constantly closed for cleaning, and never clean. I was sitting across from one of the bathrooms, and watched it close five separate times in two hours. And the times I used it all the seats were wet and the floors were disgusting. Maybe no one is actually cleaning, and the bathroom is where the janitor takes naps.

It did make me think of Bea and how she must feel as she’s about to pee somewhere and another dog distracts her or a smell prevents it from being just right. Bea is a much finicky pee-er than I am – which is strange to say about a dog who has peed in the middle of a sidewalk, a street, and Petco.

Bea pees in strange places, but they are clearly just right for her. Unlike most dogs, she doesn’t pee right away each morning – she waits, finds her spot, and decides it’s okay. It’s the equivalent of taking a road trip with a rich kid. While the rest of the car would be fine using a gas station bathroom, the rich kid makes everyone else wait for a hotel or a restaurant. And Waffle House doesn’t count.

I wonder if Waffle House could exist in Italy. Its bathrooms are almost as gross as the ones at Milan’s airport.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Bea Arthur Cross Promotion - Have Dog Blog, Will Travel

"Adopting Bea Arthur" was just featured by "Have Dog Blog, Will Travel" I did a Q& A about Bea and why I started the blog. If you're interested: http://celiasue.wordpress.com/2011/06/27/a-good-dog-is-easy-to-adopt/

Are You a Dog?

I admit it – I am scared of some dog people.

I never understood the people who talked to their dog until I became one. It seemed silly to say whole sentences aloud to a dog, since they don’t understand words beyond the basic commands. I quickly realized that we’re not talking to our dogs. We’re talking to ourselves and our dogs happen to be there. I find that walking my dog is very therapeutic, and so talking to her is more me just getting my thoughts out than trying to carry on a conversation.

I never understood the people who talked for their dog until I became one. It seemed silly to act as if a dog has human thoughts, since their thoughts are mainly to eat, sleep, and shit. I hope that most humans think beyond that. But I quickly realized that it is funny to extrapolate on a dog’s actions, and I often do it to entertain my wife. I will say things like “Bea must be plotting how to keep us awake tonight” knowing full well that Bea keeps us awake just by instinct.

But I will never, ever understand people who talk as their dog.

My publicist recently sent out a message to some dog blogs announcing that I have one of my own, and set up a few interviews. It will be fun for me to talk to other dog owners, and it’s a good way to get the word out that I’ve become one. Most replied with friendly “welcome to the team” type messages, and some kind words about my writing and or standup. But a few replied as if they were actually dogs.

Yes, I know that many people write blogs from their dog’s perspective. It’s cute, and no stranger than when the Bronx Zoo cobra had a twitter account. But when someone can’t even answer an email as a human being, that starts to scare me.

I get playing a character – I’m a comedian after all. But you don’t have to stay in character when it’s completely inappropriate. Do you think Sascha Baron Cohen talks to his agent as if he’s Borat? No – because that would be terrible for business. And when he’s done with his art, he becomes himself again.

The emails were also not addressed to the dogs – they were addressed to the people running the blogs. So it wouldn’t even be breaking character to answer them as people. But even if you’re playing a dog, be true to the character. What is the character you’ve built? A dog who can use a computer? If so, you’ve got way more important things to write about than what you’ve been eating. Like how you learned to use a computer.

But the tops for me is the one that wrote back in broken/simplified English – as if the dog can speak English, just not that well. Ahh, theatre.

By the way, if this applies to you, don’t get all offended. Bea was the one who wrote it anyway.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Bea Heckled Me

Bea's fosters emailed us about Bea's progress last night. She went a little nuts when we left her, pawing at the door and crying. But she eventually settled in and went to sleep after being given enough treats. Which shows she loves us, and can be easily bribed.

The coolest note was when the foster decided to check out some of my standup online. He told me that while he was watching one of my videos, Bea suddenly woke up, stood up, looked around, barked once, and curled up to go back to sleep. So she was either happy to hear my voice, or was heckling me.

Either way, she's adorable.

Friday, June 24, 2011

I Wonder What Bea is Doing

My wife and I left for 10 days last night. We dropped Bea off at her fosters, and we left. And I never thought I could miss an animal this much.

It's ridiculous. I wonder what she is up to. I hope she doesn't think that we were just watching her for three weeks and gave her back. I hope she remembers us in 10 days, considering dogs have no memory.

Everything makes me think of her. I see other dogs, and think Bea would love to sniff them. I see grass, and think Bea would love to poop on it. The guy next to us at the airport farted, and it actually reminded me of one of Bea's smelly dog farts. Which hurt at first because I miss Bea, and hurt again because it smelled like a dog fart.

I know Bea is fine and she will wag her butt when we come home. But part of me feels mean for leaving. The good news is it took her less than a day to love us unconditionally. So even if she forgets, it'll just be another day before she's back.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Customer Is Always Right, Especially When You Threaten Him

There's three dog stores in my neighborhood, and I picked the wrong one.

The first day we had Bea, we ordered a license tag from the "Kitty and Dog Lounge" on Vernon Boulevard. They told us we'd have it in two weeks. What they should have said was "at least two weeks," because I went in two and a half weeks later, and it still wasn't there.

I calmly questioned why, and things got ugly. There were two people behind the counter - a girl and a guy. As the girl stammered at my question, the guy threatened to fight me. That's right - to fight me. Because I wanted to know why my tag was late.

I soon found out he doesn't even work there - the girl is just his girlfriend. Imagine that - your boyfriend visits you at work and he threatens to fight a customer. I understand attraction to the knight in shining armor. I do not understand attraction to the high school equivalency degree in a wife beater.

His exact words were "If you want to discuss this, we can take this outside." Yup. As I'm holding my adorable shelter dog, he tried to take it outside. I should have, knowing full well that Bea would have bit his fucking head off. Which would have been the first true benefit of her separation anxiety.

I laughed at the guy's rage and asked him if he had just heard what he said out loud. When he tried escalating things again, I said "you know you're an adult, right?" Finally I began ignoring him, and asked the girl if I could speak to the owner. The girl said the owner was "very busy." So I asked for my money back. The girl said she couldn't do that. I left and disputed the charge with my credit card company.

Before I left, the girl's cro-magnon Jersey Shore extra of a boyfriend said I could give them bad reviews all I wanted, he's still going to standup for his girlfriend. Good idea, Pauly D. Except I'm taking it a step further.

I went on Yelp, Google Maps, Yellow Pages, Super Pages, and a dozen other sites I had to sign up for just to give a bad review. I posted to my neighborhood dog owner group, two neighborhood resident groups, and the Better Business Bureau. Oh, and I encouraged the 25K people I have on my Facebook and Twitter to do the same. I'll also be calling the owner later and telling her exactly what happened. How's that for a Situation?

My prediction is that the girl gets reprimanded, if the business even stays open. Either way, the girl will be pissed at her idiot boyfriend. And guessing this isn't the first (or the last time) his rage got her in trouble, it will lead to them eventually breaking up. Since he was already free to spend the day with her at work on a Wednesday, that will leave him broke and single, while me and my wife and our adorable dog happily buy a tag from Petco.

If you have a moment, go post the worst reviews possible on the Yelp page for "Kitty and Dog Lounge." After all, he did want to take the fight outside.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I Dream of Bea-Nie

It's official - this dog has consumed my life.

For the last three nights, the sleep I have gotten (usually interrupted circa 4 AM by Bea repositioning herself) has involved dreams about Bea. She is the only thing I talk about with people, the first thing I think of when I wake up, and the last thing I think of when I go to sleep. I remember when my wife held that position.

This is exactly why Sara and I may not have kids. We are already losing ourselves in this dog. If we had kids, we would no longer exist as people; we would just be parents and dog owners. There's a piece of me that's not done living yet - though it seems to be distracted by dreams about dogs.

Oh, and a guy tried to pick me up yesterday based on him having 4 dachshund-mixes. Even if I were single and even if I were gay, he had 4 yippie dogs. That's awful.

"Hey, wanna come back to my place and clean up after my animals? Wait, where are you going?"

At least he wasn't in the dream.

Monday, June 20, 2011


I am in my bedroom, hiding from my dog. I was having a snack, but Sara is training Bea to realize that us leaving the apartment is nothing to cry over. I have to be inaccessible while Sara leaves, comes back, leaves, comes back, etc.

So here I am, a grown man, eating grapes and hiding from my dog.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Crate Training Is the Best Idea Ever

In just under 48 hours, Bea has actually become a dog. This crate training stuff is amazing.

Ever since we started crate training, Bea has been much more obedient. Probably because when we say "sit," "down," or "come," it's the only time we pay attention to her. She is now actively trying to please her strict parents. Maybe we should ask her to take up the violin.

Tonight we went to a rooftop BBQ at Jacob and Jenna's, our friends from the dog park. Their dog Leah is VERY excitable, which doesn't always mesh with Bea's laid back "I'm-half-dead" energy. So when Leah started barking and running circles around Bea, Bea growled and showed her teeth. We thought we were in for a fight, but instead, they just chased each other around for a while. Bea was actually acting like a dog.

The most amazing part was after the BBQ when we went to their apartment and Bea went right for Leah's crate. Sure, she was the drunk girl wandering into someone else's house and passing out on the couch - but it was a big step.

The BBQ was a lot of fun - it's great to make new friends, and it's even better to not have to worry about Bea. Sara and I have been really overprotective parents. But now that we've given Bea a little discipline, she can make new friends, too. It's the same reason people give their kids chores. A little structure can be a wonderful thing.

On the way home, Bea seemed happy and playful, and just more dog-like than she's been in the last two weeks. And amazingly, Sara and I are becoming human at the same time.

How To Crate Train Your Dog Without Really Crying

We had to make one of the toughest decisions I've faced as a not-quite-parent. We had to start crate training Bea.

Her separation anxiety has gotten to the point where we can't go in another room without her crying. Luckily our apartment only has two rooms. But she's got to be in the same one with us.

We've been fairly strict not-quite-parents. We don't let her sleep in our bed, and we don't even let her on the couch anymore. But we have to step it up a notch if we want this dog to be a well adjusted mutt. I've thought about reading 'Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother' for inspiration.

I was gone through yesterday afternoon, so Sara did a bunch of crate training without me. Sara took Bea's favorite toys, food, and treats, and only gave them to Bea inside the crate. The hardest part is that Bea also only gets attention in the crate. So we are no longer allowed to pet her, smile at her, even look at her unless she's in her crate. She's got to learn to love it there. It will be good for her in the long run, but it is killing us in the short term. It's like 80s music when it first came out.

After a day and a half of terrible travel, including three fat people next to me on planes and four hours of sleep spread over two nights, all I wanted to do was come home and love my dog. But I could not. My job was to leave her in her crate until she calmed down, then walk her and ignore her. I feel like a deadbeat dad.

I know that it's good for her, but it is hard on us. Both Sara and I melt when Bea looks at us with her wide eyes and wants to play, but we can't unless she's in the crate. She has to learn that her crate is a wonderful place, filled with love and chicken flavored dog treats.

How do you ignore this?

It is incredibly hard to go through this process - we feel like we're being cruel to her. But I got a great reminder of why we're doing it on one of my flights. There was a small child with the volume of a large village shrieking at her mother that she wanted her toys. That reminded me of two things: one, we are doing this so that Bea can be well behaved, independent, and a pleasure to be around. Two, we don't want kids.

Another disappointing piece of this process is Sara has chosen the word "house" for Bea's crate. Every time I'm watching TV and Sara says "house!" I think she's telling me there's a new episode on our Tivo. Only to set myself up for disappointment.

Today is my niece's Bat Mitzvah, so we dropped Bea off with Sara's aunt and drove to Long Island. My first Father's Day and I've sent my daughter away. No wonder she didn't get me anything.

Friday, June 17, 2011

I Miss My Dog

I am away from Bea for the first time tonight, and I already miss her.

I woke up at 3:30 this morning to catch a flight to Montgomery, Alabama. I'm performing at a military base an hour south of Montgomery, and the New York to Montgomery route doesn't give people many options. While I was getting ready, Bea was adorable - quietly following me around and nuzzling my leg. She doesn't follow me out of the room when I wake up to use the bathroom, but she somehow knew today was different. Even though I'll be back by noon tomorrow, her behavior this morning is the reason why people love dogs.

The best part about getting a dog is that I've been keeping earlier and earlier hours, so waking up at 3:30 is only a few hours earlier than she'd have woken me up anyway. I slept as much as I could on the plane, despite a fat woman elbowing me, taking up part of my seat, and loudly jabbering on in Spanish to what I can only assume was her daughter. Her daughter was sitting a few rows back, but came up and stood next to her so they could prevent everyone near them from sleeping. I finally asked them to speak a little quieter.

I felt like I did when I asked the guy to leash his dog the other day and he looked at me like I was the bad guy. You're not a dick if you politely ask someone to respect the people around them. You're a dick if you're the one who needs reminding that other people exist.

Last night we ran into another off-leash situation. This one was a smaller dog so we weren't as nervous - but it ran right at Bea and we had to get between them. His owner, of course, excused it as his dog being friendly. There's a great scene in an American Dad episode where Stan breaks his shin bone, and a dog runs over and starts chewing it. "He's so friendly!," remarks the dog's owner, as the dog is slowly killing Stan.

"Look how friendly my dog is!"

There's a part of me that hopes that off-leash dog gets roughed up a bit by a tougher dog so he and his owner both learn a lesson. It's the same part of me that wants an 8-year-old bully to try to start something with a 12-year-old. Hakunah Matata.

Back at the ranch/one bedroom apartment, we are dealing with Bea's separation anxiety by slowly crate training her. She was able to go in the crate for an hour while we were home last night, and we'll be increasing her intervals when I get back. And just to make sure she doesn't bust loose again, we fortified our babygate with several boxes and chairs. If she breaks out of this one, we'll have to rename her David Blaine. You know, because his tricks aren't really magic either.

Sara is doing a wonderful job training Bea, and I realize that I couldn't have done this myself. Well, I could have but I'd have lost several more ethernet cables in the process.

Sara told me that after I left, Bea cried for a few minutes. That is awful because it was 4AM and Sara needed to sleep. But it's also sweet to know that my dog loves me. And if we keep working on it, she can love me from the crate, too.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Separation Anxiety - Bea Busting Out

We've left Bea home alone a handful of times now, and it's been fine. She cries at first, but by the time we get home, she does her crazy butt-wiggle and all is forgiven.

I promise you, one day I will get video of the butt wiggle. She is part dachshund, so when she wags fervently, her entire butt wags. It's some kind of wonderful.

The problem is that the butt wiggle is caused by her separation anxiety. The common symptoms of separation anxiety can be destructive behavior, peeing everywhere, and some serious howling. Bea's is just crying when we leave and following us around when we're home. Not so bad, and we're trying to train her out of it. As much fun as it is for her to greet us like that, we don't like knowing that she's crying in the meantime. You don't break someone's arm just so they'll be thrilled when they heal.

Training a dog out of separation anxiety is a ridiculous process. You basically have to put your coat on and grab your keys, leave, and come right back. Then you do it again and leave for 2 minutes. Then 5. Then 2 again. Then 15. Etc, etc. The idea is to teach your dog that she never knows when you'll actually leave for a while, so why freak out? We're also supposed to ignore our dog being happy that we're home, and only greet her after 10-15 minutes. That's right - we have to trick our dog into not loving us as much, and ignore her. That's exactly why I wanted a dog - so it can we can be utterly ambivalent each other's presence. This must be how rich parents raise their children.

Yesterday, Bea's separation anxiety got the best of her. Like usual, we gated her in the kitchen/hallway area, giving her more room than the average NYC studio apartment. We leave her water, a bone, her toys, and a dog bed - and hope for the best. Also, we drop a frozen cube of baloney in her food bowl and run for it. By the time she's done with it, we're in the elevator. I don't know if any dog trainers recommend the "distract and ditch" method, but we're giving it a shot.

We have talked about getting a nanny cam, less for safety and more for curiosity to see how she spends her day. Is she as big of a lump as she is when we're home? Or does she rock out a la Tom Cruise in Risky Business? Which, btw, is still one of the strangest scenes in movie history. My parents left me home alone a LOT in high school and I never did THAT.

When Sara and I got home, things were not as copacetic as we expected. Like all spring-loaded baby gates, our gate is a piece of crap, as Bea had pushed her way through it. Seems the living room is much more appealing than the kitchen and the hallway. Or maybe she was just tired of her studio apartment and wanted to expand. Movin on up, Bea. Movin on up.

The damage was not huge. The couch was covered in dog hair, and Bea had chewed through an ethernet cable. Not bad, considering the $80 power source to my MacBook was right there, too. A $10 replacement cable, I can live with. Part of me hopes that when Bea bit the ethernet wire, she got a little shock so she learns not to do it again. Not enough to hurt her - just enough to make her think my stuff has an alarm system.

We were mad at Bea, but that did us no good. First, you can't get mad at a dog unless you catch them in the act or they dont know why you're mad. She knows "sit," "down," and "stay" - she doesn't know "go to your room and think about what you did." Second, her adorable butt wiggle makes it REALLY hard to stay mad.

Bea has been super sweet ever since - but we are trying to crate train her now. We weren't doing it before, figuring that she'd enjoy the openness of her kitchen studio. But I also figured that I wouldn't need a new ethernet cable. Sorry Bea - when you try to break out of the yard, you get put in solitary.

The crate training process is simple - it involves us taking her bone and putting it in the crate repeatedly, and doing the same with treats.

"Look Bea, there are great things in that crate! And soon, you'll be one of them."

We hope.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Your Dog is not Above the Law

Today I went to walk Bea after dinner like normal. Lately, I've been letting her control our direction. I don't really care where she pees or poops, as long as it's legal and not in my apartment.

My wife recently showed me a great quote from Michael Vartan, the guy from Hawthorne (that show on TNT that TNT swears people watch). The quote came from an interview with PETA, so clearly Vartan doesn't actually know much about dogs, or he'd know that PETA's kill rate is 95%. Yup - fur is murder, and so is PETA.

Nevertheless, it was a good quote:

"We decide when our dogs eat, take walks, play with their pooch pals—even relieve themselves. So when I take her on a walk, I make sure she gets to sniff as long as she wants. And it’s up to her whether she walks, runs, or even sunbathes. I always remember this is her walk, so I don’t pull on her, and I don’t rush her. These things may seem small to us, but to our dogs, they mean the world."

There's a grassy strip that Bea prefers to poop on a block away from my apartment, and she headed right for it. But when I got there, I saw a big dog off-leash, chasing a ball and jumping all over his owner.

As I've told you, Bea is not always great with other dogs. Sometimes she's okay, and sometimes she's not. I wasn't willing to risk Bea getting in a fight because some guy thinks he doesn't need to obey the law.

Having your dog off-leash is like texting while driving. It's terribly dangerous when other people do it, but you're so good at it that you couldn't possible hurt anyone, right?

New York City has a simple leash law - 6-foot-leash in public areas at all times, and dog runs are the one exception. And there is a dog run 3 blocks from the strip we were on. Everyone knows that law - I've known it for years and I never thought I'd be a dog owner. But this guy thought his dog was more important than the law. He can train his dog to fetch, but his dog never trained him not to be a selfish asshole.

Meanwhile, I've learned dogs on a leash do NOT like interacting with dogs off-leash, because they feel restricted and thus threatened. So if Bea and a rambunctious dog is a recipe for disaster, Bea and a rambunctious dog off leash is a recipe for disaster cooked by Sandra Lee.

I tried to pull Bea away from the grass, but she wanted to poop where she wanted to poop. So I was left with three choices:

1) I could take her off leash, breaking the law while risking an altercation.
2) I could leave her on leash, obeying the law, and ensuring an altercation.
3) I could politely ask a fellow dog owner, citizen, and human being to please put his dog on a leash.

I chose option three, because I mistook the other owner for human. The owner reluctantly putting the leash on while silently giving me the stink eye wasn't what I was hoping for.

In that moment, I realize what I should do. I would train the dog owner as if he had the mental capacity of a dog.

"Thank you," I said, in the same tone as I say "good girl."

When we walked by him, I said it again. And when we left, I said it a third time.

As I walked away, he took the leash off immediately and gave me the stink eye once more. Clearly I'd made a mistake. But my mistake was not asking him to leash his dog. My mistake was thinking he'd actually be as smart as one.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Celebrating Bea Arthur's Puerto Rican Heritage

I had no idea that this morning I'd be taking my dog to the Puerto Rican Day Parade.

Bea is originally from Puerto Rico. But now like most Puerto Ricans, she lives in New York. And people are constantly asking me stupid questions about it.

"Can she speak Spanish?"

"Sure. Bea, what's the Spanish word for red?"


"Sorry. Her accent is castellano."

The plan was for Sara to work out, and then I'd meet her with Bea and go to Petco. The plan was also to make sure to walk Bea just before we got to Petco to eliminate any chance of elimination. But 5th Avenue had other ideas.

I realized what was going on after I got stuck in traffic on Madison and 51st, and dozens of people walked in front of me wearing Puerto Rican flags. The Puerto Rican Day Parade is known in New York City as a day when it's best to stay home. Like the St Patty's Day Parade, Halloween, and the New York Marathon, traffic is absolutely nuts and the subways are no better.

But there I was, accidentally taking my Puerto Rican dog to the parade. I wonder if anyone would have even believed me.

"I know I'm really white, but my dog is a very proud Puerto Rican. No, I'm not mocking you, she's really Puerto Rican. Okay, I'll go now."

The police wouldn't even let me try though - when I wanted to turn on 57th to pick Sara up, the cops told me to go to 58th. At 58th, they told me to go to 56th. At 56th, they told me to go to 42nd. By then I was pissed, and I told a cop where she could go. Not quite, but I had a heated exchange with her - and Bea amazingly joined in.

Bea NEVER barks. Except for the occasional quick snip at a delivery man and the silly bitches in the dog park, we haven't heard her bark at all. But when the cop tried to stop her from participating in the Puerto Rican Day Parade, Bea wasn't having it. Good for you Bea Arthur - this is your day, and you should be able to celebrate your Puerto Rican heritage. Just don't pee in Petco again.

By the way, we bought Bea a new bed. And if this video is any indication, she loves it.

Viva Puerto Rico!

Curb Your Dog Owner

Before I had a dog, I got annoyed at people who didn't clean up after theirs. Now that I have one, I'm even more annoyed.

When there's dog crap everywhere, laws about where you can and can't bring dogs get more and more strict. There is a beautiful park half a block from my door, and I can't bring my dog there because of previous assholes who didn't bother to clean up after theirs. It's the same reason why we can't use a restaurant bathroom unless we're a customer, we can't take unwrapped Halloween candy, and we get fondled at the airport - a few selfish assholes ruining it for the rest of us.

It is amazing to think that New York's pooper-scooper law has only been in effect for 32 years. I am 31, so I can't even picture a city covered in feces like the way it used to be. Though I have been to Detroit.

I'm surprised there's no dog poop scene in "The Warriors."

When I see un-picked-up poop, I have the same feeling I get when I see a redhead guy being awkward or a Jewish guy being nebbish. Stop ruining it for the rest of us - people are going to think we all act like this.

The amazing part is that even dogs try to clean up after themselves. When Bea is done pooping, she briefly tries to bury it before we clean it up, dirt clump and all. I am amazed that my dog is a more conscientious dog owner than some of my neighbors.

All I can do is hope that people read this and become a little more responsible. But if I ever see anyone walking away from a pile of poop, I'm going to rub the owner's nose in it.

Friday, June 10, 2011

My Wife Got Me a Chick Magnet

I started the day sitting outside a gynecologist's office with an adorable dog. I felt one step away from driving an ice cream truck to the set of Toddlers in Tiara's.

The strangest part? This was all my wife's idea.

Over the week, I've realized how much women love my dog. Of course they do - she's adorable. She has big sad eyes, she's the size of a puppy, and she's got a butt wiggle that would make most strippers jealous. And she's so friendly and laid back towards humans, anyone can pet her. Bea Arthur attracting this many women doesn't do much for the rumors of her being a lesbian.

Who wouldn't love this dog?

While sitting on a stoop waiting for my wife a few days ago, one woman actually came out of the restaurant where she was eating just to pet Bea. Hopefully she washed her hands when she went back in. Even the cutest dog is still a dog.

My wife's office lets people bring dogs in on Fridays, so we decided I'd come in with her today and bring Bea. It was a great idea, if the idea was to halt all productivity. Between people asking us about Bea and us keeping track of her, I had just enough time to write a blog and go home. Not bad for a 7 hour day.

Bea, ready to take the subway.

The reason the day was only 7 hours is because the first hour was spent outside of a doctor's office. I didn't think much of it - Sara had a checkup before work, so I went with her and hung with Bea outside. It wasn't until the 5th or 6th attractive woman passed by us and smiled that I realized, "holy shit - I brought an adorable dog to a gynecologist's office." Were I single, this would be both the skeeziest and most brilliant thing I've ever done.

There's a certain irony that my wife is responsible for giving me a chick magnet. And I feel very stupid that I never liked dogs when I was single. If people didn't have enough reasons to rescue adorable dogs, well, single guys, here's one more.

The good news is Sara and I are both so madly in love that the occasional smile and petting from an attractive stranger doesnt bother her. As long as they're only petting the dog.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Dog Walker That Doesn't Make Me Feel Stupid

Since we're no longer comfortable taking Bea to the dog park, Sara and I are getting nervous about socializing Bea. She is amazing with all people, but she can testy with other dogs. The idea of her making us more social goes away every time she snarls at a dog sniffing her face. Of course, those silly bitches should know better.

Bea is good at walking by other dogs and not paying attention. She's also good at the normal butt-in-face greeting. But when another dog goes nose-to-nose, it's go time. We need to teach her to either greet or walk away, and we need help. Since "our dog has no patience for silly bitches" doesn't exactly make it on to the Dog Whisperer, we have to go locally.

Tuesday, we met Don Spanton, a neighborhood dog walker who is super committed to what he does. Two years ago, he quit his job as a programmer to follow in the footsteps of those who follow footsteps. He is patient, knowledgeable, and really seemed to care about each and every dog he walks. Sara and I were immediately in, especially when Don volunteered to take Bea out today to see if she could walk in a pack. Thanks to Don, turns out she can - in a small pack, for now. Maybe a pack of 4 women, who wear matching pants suits and eat cheesecake late at night.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Bea Arthur is a Hilarious Pooper

I have had a dog for less than a week and I find myself incredibly concerned with poop. Is she doing it enough? Is it the right consistency? What's her favorite surface to poop on? I find myself following this dog around, cheering for it to poop. I remember when I used to be a grown man.

They say humans are at the top of the food chain, because we kill all the other animals. But I submit that any animal who has to clean up the poop of other animals isn't at the top of anything.

The good news is that Bea seems to be terrified to poop indoors. She'd be as embarrassed to poop in our living room as any house guest would. A friend told me that his dog sleeps in his bed, and sometimes poops overnight. As much as I love Bea, the second that action became repetative, she'd be someone else's dog. I am becoming a dog person - but that stops at the idea of bed poop.

The better news is that Bea is a hilarious pooper. She gets that same embarrassed dog hunch that every dog gets - but she poops, stops, waddles forward still in the hunch, and poops a bit more. It's simultaneously disgusting and hilarious. I'd imagine if I pooped like that when I was 6, I'd have gotten in a whole heap of trouble. Or any age, for that matter.

I will not post a picture of her pooping because, well, that's disgusting. Also, I don't want some creep to find it accidentally by searching the terms "Bea Arthur" and "poop." Which, by the way, there are almost 650,000 results for. Even Blanche would find that offensive.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Dog Park is High School With Meaner Bitches

I take back everything I ever wrote about the dog park.

I took Bea there today expecting it would be as pleasant as it was this weekend. My idea was to sit and write while Bea sat and did nothing, as we both love to do. I didn't realized that today is a Monday, and that means school was in session. When you're in high school, the mean kids aren't there on the weekend either.

On the weekend, everyone walks their own dogs. But on weekdays, everyone with a day job hires a dogwalker. The park was full of them. Some of them are nice people. Some of them are crazies who use dog love to replace the human love that is clearly missing. All of them let me immediately know how many things I was doing wrong. I haven't felt so much like a freshman in high school since I was a freshman in high school. Okay, maybe I felt like a freshman as a sophomore, too - I was a late bloomer.

I took Bea in to the park on a leash because she prefers running while on a leash. But the dog walkers freaked out about how that constrains her while meeting other dogs, which is unnatural. I guess I was the equivalent of a father trying to hug his teenage daughter before dropping her off at high school - it'd destroy her social standing.

If I felt like I was back in high school, Bea must have, too. It was no longer the 3 or 4 dogs that were playing in the school yard on the weekend. No, this dog park was so packed it looked like a New York City classroom. And since Bea was basically home schooled, she was not used to the social structure.

Bea has absolutely no aggression towards humans. Anyone can pet her anywhere. I can play pattycake with her and she just thinks I'm strange. I'm guessing, she's never really told me. But when it comes to other dogs, she can be threatened easily.

There were a LOT of other dogs in the dog park. At first it was okay, as Bea found Thomsen, the dog that my wife used to dogsit for, and they were both lumps together at my feet.

What have you been up to? Yeah, me too.

Unfortunately, not every dog is okay with my dog being a lump. Maybe they were trying to find out who the new kid was, or coax the outsider to run for student body president and beat the popular kids once and for all. Whatever the reason, the smell ritual began. Bea is fine when other dogs smell her butt. But if they go for the face, she gives them a quick lip curl, a bark, and a lunge. It's rude in the dog world to go in face first - much like the original Bea Arthur, Bea doesn't have time for all these silly bitches. It's kind of similar to how Dorothy reacted to Rose on the Golden Girls.

After two incidents, I was done. I couldn't write peacefully when I was watching Bea to see if she got into any more altercations with the Mean Girls. The walkers, meanwhile, did a great job watching their dogs instigate with my dog and do nothing about it.

The walkers kept explaining to me that this was all normal in the dog world, and they're just trying to establish dominance. But Bea has only been in my home a few days - she's got enough to adjust to already without worrying about who is Prom Queen.

I left, and took Bea with me. Maybe we'll enroll her in kindergarten first.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Braves and the Brave

It is not common that I spend time with my family. So when my brother, dad, sister, and sister's almost fiance all agreed to go to the same Mets game, Sara and I weren't going to say no. Especially since it was against the Braves. I hate the Braves. Sara doesn't really care, but she loves me, so she hates the Braves.

I have been a Mets fan since I was 4. Maybe it's the same reason I adopted a 6-year-old Puerto Rican stray dog. They're both a long shot that most people gave up on. Also, Bea and the Mets are both predominantly latino, but that's just a coincidence.

Sara, on the other hand is trying to be a Mets fan. So when she comes with me to a game, she's going to be bored. When she comes with me to a game and it's the first time we leave Bea alone at home, she'll be bored and incredibly worried.

We're coming back, we promise!

We made it to the second inning before Sara started getting antsy. By the fourth inning, it was tough for her to sit still at all. By the fifth, it was time to go.

I was less worried both because I'm more laid back and because I've never had a dog before. Sara's foster had some major separation anxiety, so Sara was worried about every worst case scenario. What if Bea scratched up the cabinets? What if Bea tore her snuggie up and ate it? What if Bea assassinated the governor?

I could tell she wasn't enjoying the game, and there was no reason to hold her hostage. I offered to leave with her, but she told me to stay, and she just needed to make sure everything was alright at home. Hey, it was the first time we left our little girl alone, we wanted to make sure she wasn't crying.

When Sara got home, Bea jumped and danced and showed more personality than she had in the previous two days combined. Sara did her best to ignore the spectacle so the separation anxiety wouldn't get worse, but was relieved everything was okay. The cabinets were fine, the Snuggie was in one piece, and governor was still alive.

Oh, and the Mets won.

Pee Arthur

Today was my first time in a big pet store. Perhaps Bea's too, because she didn't know how to handle herself either.

The concept was simple. Sara and I were going to the Mets game later and we didn't want to force Bea into a crate. So we were going to buy a gate to let her roam the kitchen and the hallway. Minimize the damage while maximizing the amount of space she had. Sara knew more about this stuff - so she went off to find a gate while I walked Bea around looking for any toys she might like. Well, for part of it we drove.

13 Seconds of Adorable

The amazing thing about Bea is that she seems comfortable everywhere. Many dogs freak out if you touch their paws, walk them near any cars, or look at them wrong. But Bea has only known us a few days and her love is already unconditional. It's the reason why people love dogs so much, and Bea is one hell of a dog.

There was one place she was uncomfortable: the pet food aisle. Maybe its because she already knows that most commercial pet food is the animal equivalent of McDonald's. Or maybe it was just the cacophony of smells that overwhelmed her. But she peed. My wonderfully behaved housebroken dog peed right in the middle of Petco.

I am sure it wasn't the first time a dog peed at Petco. I bet there was one peeing in the next aisle. But Bea has been so great about obeying rules thus far that it worried us. Was she sick? Terrified? Rebelling? Whatever it was, I had no idea how to handle it. I called Sara over, and she didn't come right away, so I tried to convey a sense of urgence without a loud public explanation. I wasn't going to yell, "Sara, Bea Arthur just peed at Petco!" Though I did contemplate it just for the laugh.

Petco provides incredibly non-absorbant "paper towels" for messes. You know that brown sandpapery stuff in airport bathrooms? Yeah. Way to go Petco - you're only hurting yourself.

Bea was fine in the car on the way home, but it made us nervous to leave her alone tonight. Would she do it again? Or worse? I expected the Mets to shit the bed tonight, but I didn't want my dog to do it, too.

Either way, we did have fun suggesting other people we could have named Bea after. My favorite two were Pee-a Zadora and J Pee Morgan. And of course, sponsored by BPee. Complete with her own leak.

Won't You Bea My Neighbor?

Bea slept through the night, and so did we. She's also regularly pooping and peeing, or as we've been told to call it "eliminating." I feel odd saying that - makes me feel like my dog is a secret agent.

So in 2 days, she's sleeping through the night and can take the elevator without freaking out. That's a quicker adjustment than most rural people when they move to New York for the first time.

NYC is just like Puerto Rico, but with more Puerto Ricans.

We spent the afternoon in the dog park again today. Bea is making us strangely social. We met a few neighbors, including Jacob, a dog owner from two blocks away. He and his wife have a similar background to Sara and I, and his brother is a fledgling standup comic. We're actually going to try to grab dinner with them some time. That is unprecedented for us - we have our friends, but we're pretty much an island as a couple.

If you've moved to a new neighborhood with a dog, I recommend spending some time sitting around in a dog park. It's amazing how quickly you'll meet your neighbors.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Poop Heard Round The World

We took Bea in to the city again today, since I had two shows near each other. It was a gorgeous night, and we thought it'd be nice to walk around with her between shows. Besides, she's the dog that never poops, so we knew that wouldn't be a problem.

Bea's still stressed in the car, but it's not as bad as yesterday. We open the windows slightly now and she likes looking out as we drive (and drooling all over them). We did have a slight incident where the window lock wasn't on and she stepped on the control, opening the window all the way. I quickly put it back up and learned my lesson - always keep the window lock on. Later on I learned another lesson - remember to put the windows back up after you park. Luckily the car wasn't broken into. Though we could have caught the burglar easily by finding a man covered in dog hair.

You have to stretch before your big day of doing nothing.

Who wouldn't love this dog?

Looks like Bea is getting in the mood for a kiss.

And she plants one.

It drizzled for a few minutes and Bea was fine with it. She's also comfortable on concrete, which makes me concerned about the life she led in the shelter. Getting rained on in a concrete floor kennel isn't the life I'd recommend for any dog, and it saddens me to know that's probably how my dog lived. No wonder she loves our couch so much.

After the shows, Sara was freaking out because Bea had gobbled up a piece of a cooked chicken bone she found on the street. I was relieved that the first dangerous thing that happened to our dog was not my fault, since I was sure it would have been. Though I was the one who forgot to put the window lock on. So, nevermind.

I was also glad that Sara knows enough about dogs that when they swallow a cooked bone, you feed them white bread to cushion the bone in their stomach. Once they poop out the bone, they'll be fine. You know, if they ever poop.

Actually, that happened about 20 minutes later. Not the chicken bone. That should come out next time she poops. Which, on this pace, will be in a month. I have never been so excited to watch an animal shitting. I am also terrified to think there are probably websites dedicated to that.

When we got home, we covered the floor of the bedroom with sheets and Snuggies to eliminate Bea clopping around like last night. Yes, we have Snuggies. They were gag gifts from my brother. Or maybe he just assumed we were going to eventually be fat and lazy enough to need them. By the way, Snuggies are super soft to walk on. There is a big market for fleece carpet. I'd invent it, but I'm too lazy. Uh oh - the Snuggies have taken hold of me already.

I just hope Bea sleeps tonight. Because Sara and I sure as hell need to.

Maybe We Should Have Named Her Kato Kaelin

When we adopted Bea, we were told she would be chasing squirrels. While we haven't seen a squirrel (aside from her squirrel toy, which she ignores), we doubt Bea can chase anything.

We took her to the dog park for the first time today, and she was a big ol lump. I wonder why she's so tired? Maybe it's because she didn't sleep all night. I must have kept her up with all of my pacing.

She'll run a little while on the leash, but she prefers to just chill out and relax. She does the same on our couch, but at least the dog park is sunny. On Golden Girls, Bea Arthur always sat home on a Saturday night. Maybe Bea is just getting into character.

This is the most active Bea has been.

At least WE were social at the dog park. Sara and I met a few other neighborhood dogs and owners, which is the first time we've spoken to any neighbors in the 9 months we've lived here.

Sara tells me that when I call Bea, I am not high-pitched enough, and that dogs respond better to high-pitched voices. I'm already trying not to become someone who talks to their dog like they're a person. Instead, Sara wants me to become someone who talks to their dog like they're a baby.

We tried to get her a bath so she smells a bit less like dog, but all the groomers are closed on Saturdays. No, we're not giving her a bath ourselves. It's bad enough that our couch and my car are covered in dog hair - we don't need the bathroom covered in soapy dog hair. The reason I work hard is so I have the money to pay someone else $50 to deal with a wet dog. I already love Bea, but not enough to put up with THAT.

Oh, and she still hasn't pooped. Seriously, this is getting a bit ridiculous. Especially since we'll get very excited when she does poop. I'll make sure to congratulate her on her poop in a high-pitched voice.

Oh My God, Go To Sleep

Last night was rough. Really rough.

Bea may not have slept all night - she didn't bark, she didn't whine, but she did pace back and forth on our hardwood floors. If we'd hired a tap dancer, Bea would have drowned her out.

I got a few hours in, spaced in 10-20 minute chunks. I am sure it's going to get easier, but this may have been the worst night of sleep I've gotten since I saw Night of the Living Dead. I know that's not a terrifying movie, but I was 11.

Maybe Bea Arthur is a zombie dog. Or a dog vampire, who only sleeps during the day. Either way, the sleeping habits of the undead may be better than what we dealt with last night.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Why Won't You Love Us?

It hasn't even been 6 hours, and already I'm worried that I'm a terrible parent. There are a million things that can go wrong when you have a dog, and though none of them have yet, I have this sinking feeling it's a matter of time. Okay, so a few things went wrong today.

We picked Bea up just after 5:30. Friday rush hour traffic - good start. Nothing is worse than sitting in traffic when you're incredibly excited to get somewhere. It's the same reason I don't understand the point of tantric sex. I'm too goal oriented.

We got a great parking spot, and ran in excited. Bea's foster mom gave us her crate and bed, a few toys she allegedly likes, and some food. Bea wasn't thrilled about getting in the car, and she drooled everywhere. Which led me to two things:

1) I love my car, but realize it is a necessary sacrifice. My car is a year old, and is in impeccable condition. Well, it was 24 hours ago. I have never understood people that throw garbage everywhere in their cars. My car is a very small place where I spend a great deal of time. I want it running well and smelling fresh - and it's not hard to keep a garbage bag on the gear shift and some spares in the back. But today, we put a living, breathing, shedding, drooling animal in the back seat and I decided that it's just a way of life now. I will still get my oil changed and my tires rotated and my filter cleaned - but my back seat is going to be full of dog slobber.

2) We want Bea to love us instantly, and that's not going to happen. Right now, we're the people that ripped her out of the one home she's ever had (aside from her shelter in Puerto Rico). She will grow to love us, but it will take time. Meanwhile, we can scream "why don't you love us?" in funny voices, and she won't understand because she only speaks Spanish.

The pet store was a great experience. There was no big Petco or Petsmart near the fosters, so we went to Pet Emporium in Brooklyn Heights. The owner was a guy named Sam who clearly loved dogs, and really took his time with us. He knew everyone that came in, and they knew each other - which was our first glimpse into how social a dog will make us. Sara and I fell in love because our mutual hatred for most of humankind - so us being forced to be social will be a good thing. We think.

We left with her food bowl, a bone, a clicker, some treats, a toy squirrel, and a new leash and harness, which we call Bea Arthur's matching pants suit. She has no interest in the squirrel or the bone, despite the fosters telling us otherwise. She does, however, love our hardwood floor. It's like buying a kid a new toy and watching them play with the box and the wrapping paper.

Bea and her matching pants suit.

The car ride with her into Manhattan was rough - she's clearly stressed, but she's got to learn to ride with us. I was happy I was driving. Sara doesn't drive much - so it's not a good idea to add a dog panting and drooling in the back seat who is trying to get into the front seat.

I had two shows, so Sara walked around with Bea while I went inside. I talked about Bea on stage, and told all the other comedians about her. Partly because I was so excited to finally have a dog, and partly because I had to explain why I was covered in dog hair. I was bragging - I don't know why, but I felt like having Bea just makes me a better person.

We drove home afterwards, and we're exhausted. We decided that we want her allowed on the couch so we can watch TV and hang out with her (Golden Girls, of course), but the bed is off-limits. As it is, Sara and I wake each other up every time we move. We don't need a dog making it even tougher to sleep. Hopefully she's as tired as we are. Somehow, I doubt it.

The couch - another thing for Bea to ruin.

"Why won't you love us?!!!"

We walked her just before bed - which was very pleasant since the weather is awesome. She peed for the first time with us (after 20 minutes of trying to find the right spot), but hasn't pooped yet. Sara says it's because Bea is uncomfortable and stressed. Maybe I'll see if my parents can give her any advice on the matter.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Doggie, Here I Come

We got approved! I don't think we were ever doubting, but even for something that seems like a sure thing, I still get worried. When I got an AIDS test, I was convinced I had AIDS until I got the results - despite having no logical reason to believe I had AIDS. When cops drive by me, I worry that they're going to arrest me even though I've done nothing wrong. Maybe they'll arrest me for falsifying an AIDS test. Anyway, you get the idea - I was worried we wouldn't get approved.

The process was pretty simple - two women from Stray From the Heart came over and asked us if we liked dogs. We said yes, they gave us the papers. There was a bit more to it than that, but it was mostly them trying to think of extra questions and us trying to think of extra reasons why a dog would be happy here, since it was obvious within the first two minutes that it was a good fit. You never want to hire someone the first two minutes of a job interview, so you make up more questions.

"So, um, tell me what you think of, um, stuff."

Quick aside - the women from the rescue were young and attractive, which made me wonder how safe that job is. Sara and I are normal "I won't tie you up and kidnap you" type people, but I can't imagine everyone is. Any job that involves going into a stranger's home is dangerous for a young woman. Hell, look what chambermaids go through. Danger of traveling to unfamiliar situations is one of the reasons there aren't many female comedians. I have been to at least 50 gigs where I thought I'D get raped and killed, I can't imagine how dangerous it must be for a young woman on the road. And that doesn't include the gas stations I stopped at on the way to the gigs.

So we didn't kidnap the women, cause like I said, that's not our thing. Instead, we paid them the $250 adoption fee and signed a contract that said we promise to never ever give away this dog. So basically we signed a contract that the $250 is just the first in a VERY long line of expenses. The expenses aren't what's nerve-racking - It hit us us that we we're adopting a living thing, and no matter what goes wrong, it's our responsibility. My car cost a hundred times what the dog cost, but it didn't seem final because I am allowed to sell my car. And this dog is going to destroy my car.

All that said, I am beyond excited. I am excited to have a dog that will love me and keep me company. I am excited that Sara and I get to have a family without the annoyance of children. (That's another blog for another time). And I am excited to have matured enough that I'm no longer afraid of dogs, and I'm actively looking forward to having one. Sure, she's a small dog, but baby steps. Not actual baby steps, I just covered that.

One strange thing - Sara is oddly nervous. She's always been the one pushing for a dog, and she often talks fondly about the dog she fostered. She is the one that taught our Tivo to default on Animal Planet, and she is the one who wakes up early on Saturdays to help walk shelter dogs that have little to no chance to ever find a home. Yet I'm the one who desperately wants to get the dog tonight, and she is the one who wants to wait until tomorrow.

It does make sense to wait until tomorrow, as I have a show at 9PM tonight and we won't have enough time to pick up Bea and go to the pet store. But I do feel like our dog is sleeping in someone else's house tonight, even if she doesn't know it yet.

Wow. Tonight is my last night of not being a dog person. Tomorrow, I become a father - but without all the crap that comes with having a kid. (Another blog for another time, I promise).

Much Needed Advice That is Not Much Needed

We're getting our home inspected by dog people again tonight. I'd imagine that no matter what it looks like, it's going to be nicer than the average home. We're pretty clean people, and we're minimalists when it comes to decoration. We don't collect hummels or decorative plates or anything else people would never buy unless they were told to collect them.

I do realize that what impresses humans and what impresses dogs are very different things. We've got a great view of the east river, marble countertops, and new fixtures. I hope that the people looking us over are impressed, and forget that a dog wouldn't care about any of that. Though marble counter tops are harder to destroy.

When I told my mother that we were looking at another dog, she suggested that I call a family friend who has a dog for advice. I reminded her that Sara volunteers at a dog shelter, and she's fostered a dog in the past. My mother insisted, as if my offer to not bother someone with questions I already know the answer to would somehow be rude. It reminded me of when my father first met Sara and told her about a website to get discount theater tickets, because Sara works as an exec on Broadway. They mean well, but it is silly to offer someone advice in their field of expertise. I can't wait to get a dog, so my parents give her advice on how to shit outdoors.