Dog Park Bitch

I met up with Luke, the guy from the dog food store, and we had our doggie play date. Luke was a totally normal guy.

He’s a writer, working on getting an agent. He wants to write TV shows like The Wire.

Anyway, we were hanging out while the dogs chased balls, etc., when a middle-aged woman comes into the park with her Rottweiler. She lets him off leash as people do but when Tad goes over to say hello (i.e., sniff his butt) the Rottweiler nearly chews Tad’s head off. The owner just looks at me and says, “My dog’s not good around other males.”

Now being a people person isn’t just about talking to strangers and complimenting guys’ ties in elevators. It’s also about talking to assholes when you’d really rather not. So the idiot woman brings her aggressive dog to a dog park and says he’s not good around males?

I said, “Well, you shouldn’t bring him to a park then.”

She takes a tone with me and says, “The other dogs know when to stay away from him.”

Oh, okay. So now my dog is dumb. He’s supposed to know you chained up your dog at the junkyard.

I said, “You need to put your dog on a leash or stay out of the park. It’s simply not acceptable to let an aggressive dog roam free around other dogs.”

At this point Luke jumped into the fray. He added, “I work at Centinela Pet Supply and we offer free training classes–”

The woman cut him off. “My dog doesn’t need any training, thank you.” And she starts to walk away.

At that very moment, her dog starts to mount Tad. (This is just a show of dominance to all you non-dog people. He’s not actually trying to rape my dog.) Still, I jumped in there trying to get her dog off of mine. Luke helped out but was mostly trying to avoid having the Rottweiler attack me. Together we got the dog off just as the asshole woman rushes over. And she says, “Don’t touch my dog!”

At this point, I admit, I lost my composure. I said, “You know what? Go fuck yourself.”

And with that, she and her dog left the park.

Doggie Play Date

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming… Tad eats a lot of food and his dog food is expensive.

So when I saw an ad for $18 off per bag of Canidae at Centinela Feed I raced to the store and bought four bags. (Canidae is regularly $47.99 for a 35 pound bag; they were selling it for $29.99.) That’s a year’s worth of food but I saved $72!

Anyway, at Centinela they have really nice people who take your dog food out to the car for you. (I always wonder if you’re supposed to tip them but I’ve never seen anyone else do it and they walk away pretty quickly.) This guy was about my age and he said, naturally, “Wow, that’s a lot of dog food.”

I said, “Yeah, I mean it’s such a good deal I had to stock up and I don’t even have a dog!”

He looked at me, a little confused. He laughed a little but he was clearly thrown off by my joke. He needed clarification. “You really have a dog, right?”

I assured him that I wasn’t a bizarre dog food speculator and that did in fact have a dog. Then, as dog people do, we talked about our dogs, the breeds, personalities, etc.

Then I took a bold step. I said, “We go to the park on Barrington if you want to meet up one day.”

He said, “Like a doggie play date?”

I asked, “Is that too weird?”

He said, “It’s a little weird but I think I can handle it.”

We exchanged info and I told him I’d email him when we were going to the park.

Chloe, Meet Michelle

Michelle and I were hanging out at the Farmers’ Market in Brentwood when I saw the pet adoption sign.

Normally, Chloe works in Santa Monica on the weekends, but for some reason, she was in Brentwood this time. I thought about avoiding her, but why should I? She dumped me after all. And it’s not like I needed to prove anything to Chloe but still I couldn’t help feel excited at showing off Michelle to her.

So we went up to the adoption area and I said, “Hey, Chloe.”

She turned and saw me. I said, “This is Michelle. Michelle, this is Chloe.” Now Michelle already knew who Chloe was so it was no big deal but Chloe had no idea who Michelle was.

Chloe said, “Hey, nice to meet you.” She turned to me and asked, “How is Tad?”

I told her he was doing well. You could tell she missed him and suddenly I felt kind of bad. I mean, Chloe never really did anything wrong to me. So I said I would bring him around some time.

Michelle said she was going to look at some strawberries. That’s one thing I love about Michelle. She’s very secure in our relationship and had no problem excusing herself so Chloe and I could catch up.

After some small talk, Chloe said she thought Michelle seemed perfect for me. I wasn’t sure what she meant by that but she seemed genuinely happy for me. It hadn’t been that long since we were together but I had already forgotten how nice Chloe is. So I said to her, “You know, Chloe, I’m sorry things didn’t work out between us, but I just want to say, you are one of the nicest, most sincere and generous people I’ve ever met.”

Chloe smiled and said, “Wow, if you would have said stuff like that, we’d probably still be together.”

She laughed and I went to find Michelle.

Dog Groomer

I’m still learning about how to take care of a dog. Polly has been very helpful and she gave me the number of a dog groomer.

I would give Tad a bath myself, and I have, but he’s been scratching a lot lately and Polly said he just needs to get a real bath by a professional.

So I called this guy and he shows up with a big mobile grooming van. Tad went up on a table and got groomed for an hour. I went to check on him and I saw the guy drying Tad’s hair and kind of mussing it in front of his eyes like a hairdresser would do to a model. He didn’t see me watching him but it was pretty funny.

After I paid the guy, I asked, “Just out of curiosity, how does one get into pet grooming? Do you go to school for that?”

He said he was a people hairdresser but he found that he loves animals more than people. He was kidding but maybe only a little. Apparently, you can go to school to learn how to properly groom a pet. He said some breeds of dogs require very specific techniques. He’s groomed Puli’s before and you have to separate the ropes of their hair with razor blades. Anyway, this guy really knew his shit.

I asked him, “So, do you still cut people’s hair on special occasions?”

He looked at me and said, “Sorry, I’m not going to cut your hair.”

I laughed and he said to call him in three months for Tad’s next appointment.

Dog Park

Sorry I haven’t posted anything all week.

I thought I was fine with Chloe breaking up with me, but it turns out I was actually pretty upset about it. I’ve been working long hours, too, and haven’t been in the mood to talk to much of anyone. Then, yesterday I ran into Polly with her dog Fellini. Fellini and Tad have hit it off since they met and Polly invited us to join them at the dog park.

The funny thing about the dog park is how everyone refers to themselves as so-and-so’s owner, not by their real name. But the dog park is a friendly place where strangers just naturally talk to each other and there’s always something to talk about: your dog. So I met some of Polly’s friends, a big bald guy with a lot of tattoos (Hunter’s owner); a bookish woman in her sixties (Mimi’s owner); an Asian guy who does something in the music business (Chulu’s owner); and a few others.

I really liked the dog park and Tad did, too. Polly and I walked back to our apartment complex and I thanked her. Then she said that she thought I seemed down and I decided to tell her about Chloe. She was sympathetic. She didn’t reach any conclusions or offer any advice. She just said, “Well, I hope the dog park cheered you up a little.” And it did.

Sucker Punch

Chloe dumped me.

I called her last week to make up about the whole Monopoly fight and she said we were cool.

Then she came over on Sunday to tell me in person that she was breaking up with me.

After the initial shock I said it was a little bit of a dick move to say everything was fine only to break up with me a few days later, but she said she wanted to do it in person, not on the phone.

She said it had nothing to do with the fight. She said it just seemed obvious that we weren’t going anywhere in our relationship and that I didn’t love her, and so what was the point. I didn’t argue. How could I? She was pretty much right.

She kissed me goodbye, said goodbye to Tad, then took off.

Obviously, I was very upset by the whole thing. I mean, nobody likes getting dumped. But it wasn’t fair to keep things going when I had already decided in my head that she wasn’t a candidate for the long haul. I mean, we could have kept seeing each other casually, but Chloe’s not that type of girl, so I didn’t want to keep leading her on.

All in all, it was a pretty classy dumping. I did wonder, however, if the real reason she wanted to come over in person was to say goodbye to my dog.

Animal Nurse

Tad chewed the leg of my chair and got a splinter of wood stuck in his stomach.

At least that’s what they said at the emergency animal hospital!

He was throwing up and Chloe said I should take him to the vet. The vet did an x-ray and said there was definitely something in there. So onto the pet hospital where they did an ultrasound and an endoscopy. (All in, getting Tad healthy again cost $4,200.)

Chloe went with me to the hospital and the nurse who was on Tad’s case came and sat down with us to explain the procedure. This woman was amazing. She was pretty, but not gorgeous. But that wasn’t what was so attractive about her. She had the most amazing, outgoing personality. She was playing with Tad’s hair while she talked to us and she was just so friendly and I don’t know, cool. It was weird because Chloe was right there with me as I was going gaga for this nurse. Not to mention the fact that I was supposed to be focused on Tad, not swooning for this nurse.

Anyway, nothing happened, obviously. Would have been a bit uncool to ask her out in front of Chloe. But I am constantly amazed at how important personality is in making a person attractive.

Chicago!

I am in Chicago. Sometimes I have to go to stupid places like Chicago on business so I can do due diligence. Whatever.

Here’s what I decided to do on the plane. I challenged myself to talk to the person next to me, no matter who it was, for more than a couple minutes. But, I had to do so in a non-annoying way so the person didn’t that I was that guy who won’t shut up. In other words, I had to get the person next to me to do most of the talking.

So as I got into my aisle seat, I eagerly awaited the person whom fate would deal me. Would it be a friendly old lady? Too easy. A hot blonde? Too tough. Nope. It was Middle-Aged Marine Guy.

MAMG didn’t actually serve in the Marines, he just looked like he did. You know the type. Crew cut of grey hair, muscular, tight polo shirt. At first I thought he was an air marshal but he when he opened his laptop and started working on the sales presentation for industrial pumps, I thought that was going a little too undercover for a marshal.

How to launch in? I couldn’t comment on what he was working on because he might have punched me in the throat for looking at his secret presentation. Weather? Too obvious.

Then it hit me. Chicago!

“Are you going away or coming home?” He was coming home.

“Oh, so maybe you can help me. I’ve only been to Chicago once before. Do you know any good places to eat? I really want to get some good pizza but I’m afraid of winding up at some tourist trap.”

And that’s really all it took. He had strong opinions about pizza. He told me where to get every kind of food I wanted and even said he could get me tickets to a baseball game.

MAMG has five kids and two grandkids, which is surprising because he doesn’t look that old. He’s the regional sales manager for an industrial pump manufacturer. He was never in the Marines, though he did play football at Notre Dame (not sure how that was related but that’s what he said).

Anyway, mission accomplished. We talked for about half the flight before he went back to work. I chalked it up as a victory.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Tad is staying with Chloe while I’m gone.

TAD

Guess who just moved in and is living with me now?

Wrong, not Chloe. Wrong again, not my old roommate Scott. I am now the proud owner of one mangy mutt named The Artful Dodger, or “Tad” as he likes to be called.

Time was running short on Tad and I decided I wanted to do this. Chloe did not exert any pressure on me. She even gracefully ignored my prior lie about them not letting pets in my apartment complex. (She said, “I knew it was a fib but I didn’t want to talk you into anything you didn’t want to do.” P.S. Who says “fib”?)

I took him home yesterday and the good news is he’s mostly already trained. My apartment is obviously new to him so there were some first day accidents but I think Tad is smart and he’ll get the hang of it. My only real fear is what he’s going to do all day long when I’m at the office. Chloe says he’ll be fine as long as I get him exercise in the morning and when I get home.

Getting Tad was a little tricky emotionally. It’s not like Tad is Chloe’s dog, too, but still, I think it will be weird if Chloe and I don’t work out and Tad never sees her again. Still, things are really moving quickly with Chloe and Tad is really bringing us closer together. I hardly ever think about Michelle anymore.