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Our Moderately Medicated Mutt

When Tucker dies, we will not get another dog. I’ve said it to my wife and kids, and I’m pretty sure they’ve accepted the decision. “No more dog hair in the corners! No more pestering to go out every five minutes!” I’d exclaim, knowing damn well how foolish I look, grandstanding in my boxer briefs with much of the elastic waistband chewed out.

I even told Tucker himself when I was sitting with him the other day. And after he took a moment to consider that he was, indeed, the last of the Vander Ark dogs, I let him off his leash to go after the squirrel that he’s been pestering me about. The one that has been clucking at him from the tree, teasing Tucker with it’s bushy tail. Though he never stands a chance against those taunters, it was the least I could do to honor him and our new understanding.

We picked Tucker up from a shelter in the middle of a cold winter back in 2005. His name was Bucky back then, and his body was emaciated and his head full of snot. Massive gobs of goo would soon be flung about our house, but we were thankful to have it, having searched for months for the perfect puppy.

We hated the name Bucky, but he responded to it pretty well. My wife had the idea of changing his name to Tucker. It seemed perfect, because it sounded enough like Bucky, that he might come to us, thinking we were mistaken, or he had been mistaken these first 6 months of his life.

Tucker was a great name, until I heard our 3 year-old daughter singing the ‘name game’ song, and running down the list of our family members. After Mama Mama Bo Bamma, Daddy Daddy Bo Baddy, Evie Evie Bo Beevie, came Tucker Tucker Bo Bucker, Banana Fanna Fo Fu…”NOOOOOooooo!!” I screamed, running into the room.

Nowadays, when I’m upset with Tucker for eating another diaper, or tearing up a kids toy, I walk away shaking my head and gritting my teeth, cursing “banana fana fo fucker!!”.

Over the last 8 years, Tucker has eaten more chocolate than any other dog could have handled. He’s eaten brownies off of the counter and Halloween candy that’s been left within his reach. I’ve read that it’s the caffeine in the chocolate that you have to be concerned about, and I would have been more concerned had he not once lapped up an entire venti bold from Starbucks that he himself had knocked over.

Tucker loves crayons as well. Whenever the kids are using them, he’ll hover around, waiting for one to drop so he can devour it. He passes them just fine, in fact, after he moves on from his movement, sliding his ass on the grass, his master picks up after Tucker And His Amazing Technicolor Dream Turds.

My wife and I both dabble on the piano a bit, and when we decided to finally break down and buy one, it was a glorious day. The piano was a beautiful old grand, and rang with such charm at the estate where we picked it up. We got it home, both of us anticipating nights of candlelight, plucking out beautiful melodies of Bach or favorites by Elton John. I pulled the stool back, sat, slid into position, and placed my hands on the keys, careful to keep my wrists up. I played a chord…and Tucker howled as if he were undergoing a second round of neutering. Our dreams of quiet evenings shattered by the groans and baying of our dog. Even when we force him in the farthest room in the house, all doors shut between that spare bedroom and piano room, we can still hear him in there singing away.

I’ve thought about taking him on the road and making him part of the show. Maybe have him come out and howl for a tune while I sing. That would be rather entertaining. My fear is that he would just flop down and start licking his empty ball sack. (I believe Tucker suffers from Phantom Testicle Syndrome). Though, that might make for an interesting show as well.

When we go on tours, Tucker stays home, and usually a friend or neighbor will stay over with him. The last time that happened, it thundered a bit on the first day of our absence, and Tucker, completely freaked out by it, would not go out for the sitter. He sat in the corner of the house, and growled and snapped his disapproval for being forced out into what he thought was the end of days for dogs. For 2 days, he held his bodily functions, until we arrived back home. I let him out, and happily he went to his favorite bush, and peed for a good 3 minutes. (I’ve actually timed him before, and that’s no exaggeration.)

Tucker knows when the storms are coming a day ahead of time. He paces, and flops, and whines and moans. And sure enough, thunder will be heard the next day. He as a much better track record than our local weatherman. We asked the vet what to do, and she prescribed prozac. So we took that plunge. I drew the line at therapy.

Tucker loves the smell of human breath; the worse the better. He’d just as soon sniff your human butt as he would chase a varmint. Literally, human butt is his crack. Play on words intended.

Yes, Tucker is nasty and smelly. He sheds long black hairs that absolutely will clog up the ‘uncloggable’ Dyson vacuum. He’s as black as the steps in our house, and on occasion likes to lay there camouflaged at the bottom of them, for me to trip over him in the early morning. He scurries off. I know he knows that I should be thanking him for not being at the top of the stairs. Thanks, buddy. Good boy.

So that’s it. When Tucker dies in a few years, it will be the end for us. My wife and kids don’t have to know that it’s not for the reasons listed above. Fact is, he’s the best goddamn dog I’ve ever had or known of. Smelly, howlin’, whinin’, thunder fearin’, squirrel-chasin’, crayon chewin’ Tucker fo fucker.

Ok. Off to clean up another mess.

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