I’m a good boy.
Mom and Dad say so all the time.
I know when they make a sound like “Tut,” I’m supposed to look. I know not to pee until we go outside. I know I’m supposed to stay off the bed until Mom and Dad say I can jump up. I protect the house from strangers and shadows. And I don’t fight back when Sharkpuppy slaps me. I know Mom and Dad don’t like it when we fight. We get along okay. She even booped my nose with hers when I came back from the doggie place yesterday.
Mom and Dad wrinkle their noses when they get too close to me now. I think their noses don’t work right. They put on their foot-coats and body-coats. Does this mean we’re going for a walk? I jump up in excitement. I love walking, even though it’s very very cold outside. Sometimes it feels like the snow is biting my feet. Mom and Dad sometimes give me foot-coats like theirs, only mine are softer. They make my feet slip out from under me.
They put on my leash and I get to go outside! I go quickly to my pee spot and my poo spot, because I’m a good boy. The leaving-box is making a soft rumbling sound, and clouds are coming out of the back of it. I want to go with them. I like riding in the leaving-box much better than being locked up at home with Sharkpuppy.
Sure enough, they open up the back of the leaving-box for me! I jump in excitedly. I vaguely recall how I once was scared of the leaving-box. I like it now, though. When I sit patiently in the leaving-box, Mom and Dad tell me again and again what a good boy I am.
Today is no different, except there are stacks of blocks of paper things in my seat. There’s still room for me, just not as much. That’s okay. I’ll guard the blocks of paper things. I know they’re important because sometimes Mom and Dad will quietly stare at the paper things for hours, with their eyes moving back and forth. It’s like they’re dreaming, but not really. Sharkpuppy tries to get them to snap out of it by getting in between Mom and Dad and their blocks, and they usually just move her away and maybe scratch her ears absent-mindedly. I don’t know why the blocks are so important. But I will guard them anyway. I’m a good boy. Mom and Dad say so.
The leaving-box stops moving a few times, and Mom and Dad get out. I dutifully guard the paper blocks and the leaving-box until they get back. A few times, strangers get close to the leaving-box and I bark at them until they walk away. Mom and Dad will be so proud.
We stop again, and this time, they open up the back door. Mom and Dad start to take away the paper blocks. I let them. Then a stranger steps up too. I bark at him, and Mom and Dad calmly tell me to hush. Clearly, they don’t understand Stranger Danger. I will have to guard them even more carefully than before. I let the stranger take the books because Mom and Dad are taking them too, and they are all going to the same place, but I am still suspicious. I watch him carefully.
Soon, my seat is empty again except for me and my blanket, and Mom and Dad tell me again I’m a good boy as we leave the stranger behind. I sit happily in my seat. It’s bigger than Mom and Dad’s, so I have a big responsibility to protect it.
We stop again, and this time I get to get out and go with Mom and Dad! Time for a walk? One time, we walked in a place where there were water-birds! It was a lot warmer then, though. I don’t have my foot-coats today. I hope we aren’t going very far–wait…
I sniff the ground. There have been a lot of other dogs here. I know this place. I remember it. Why do I remember it?
We walk inside. We’re in a big clean room with a lot of boxes. Something about those boxes reminds me of something I don’t like, but Mom distracts me with a treat. It smells like dogs in here. There’s someone in another room, but nobody else in here.
I’m nervous. Mom and Dad fidget for a few minutes, and then two strangers walk in from another room. I growl at the lady holding a little black dog with a silly haircut. They better not come near my people. Mom and Dad back away and let the two strangers and their little dog talk for a minute, and then there’s only the one lady left. She notices me, but talks to my people for a while. She even walks up and touches Mom on the arm, but for some reason, I trust her okay. Besides, I’m nervous about what’s going to happen. There are a lot of smells in here.
Mom and Dad put me in a box and secure me in it. I try to jump out, but Mom and Dad don’t let me, and I’m a good boy. The nice lady leaves the room, and suddenly there’s a spraying sound behind me. I bark to let Mom and Dad know there’s danger, and they talk to me and tell me I’m a good boy. I keep barking. I’m scared now. My back legs are getting wet. I didn’t pee, Mom and Dad! I’m not allowed to pee inside, I know that! Please don’t be mad at me! I try to get away from the spraying, but Mom and Dad hold me gently but firmly and rub something slimy and smelly all over me. I press up against the wall of the water-box I’m in and shiver. The spray turns off, and Mom and Dad praise me and offer me treats. I’m not hungry. I don’t want treats. I want to go home. I’m all wet.
The spray starts up again. It lasts forever. The slime and smell starts to go away, but then Mom and Dad put more slime on me. I can’t get away, and I can’t protect Mom and Dad. They keep telling me I’m a good boy anyway, and they offer me treats that I’m too scared to eat. Sometimes the water turns off and I shiver and worry about whether it will start again. It always does. Until one time it doesn’t.
Mom and Dad pick up blankets and start rubbing me all over. This is like when we go for a walk and it’s raining. I know this. I have to let them rub me all over before they let me walk inside. And they always especially rub my feet and tummy. Yes, that’s what they’re doing. Does that mean I can go down now?
They rub and rub and rub, and then they turn on another noisemaker. This one doesn’t spray, though. It hums. Do I know this sound? I’m not sure. I look at the thing making the sound. It has a bendy tube coming out of it. What is this? I try to figure it out while Dad blows on my back legs. The blowing makes my fur stand up, and some of my undercoat puffs out. I’m still trying to figure out what the noise is, though.
After a while, I give up. The air is starting to feel good, and I don’t feel nearly as wet as I was before. This is kind of nice, actually. Especially after that nasty spraying. The smell is going away, too, and it’s nice not being overwhelmed by the slimy fruity smell. The fruity smell is still there, but it’s not as strong as before.
It’s a good thing the humming machine isn’t at scary as the spray, because it lasts a long time. Forever, even. Mom and Dad keep telling me I’m a good boy, and they still offer me treats. Mom steps outside, and I worry that maybe she isn’t coming back. Dad turns off the hummer and lets me down from the water-box, and I shake myself and realize I’m almost–but not completely–dry. And my coat feels a lot lighter and fluffier than before! Dad buries his hands in my coat and fluffs it up, and then Mom comes back. I’m excited to show her how fluffy my coat is now!
Mom is excited too, and she and Dad and even the strange lady tell me I’m a good boy and give me treats. This time I eat them. The treats, that is. The scary part is over. They all talk for a while and then we go home to show the Sharkpuppy.
Mom and Dad let me snuggle in the bed more now. They let me sleep on the softest blankets. They bury their faces in my fluff. They’re very proud of me. I protected them and their paper blocks, and I survived the scary spray, and I am a very very good boy.