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EXCERPT FROM O MY DOG!  By Peri Taub, PTWP (Pandemic Therapist With Paws)


PLEASE JOIN PERI’S BETA READER TEAM! I realized my little dog Peri was my pandemic therapist, and probably the reason I made it through the pandemic without doing jail time. She deserved to tell her side of the story. A (somewhat) drafty first version is available, and I’m asking for your help. If anyone is interested in joining Peri’s beta reader team, I’d love to send you her story and hear your comments/suggestions. Please add a comment below or click here to send email.

Like most normal people of the canine persuasion, I loved the lockdown. Our humans had to stay with us 24/7 AND the only way they could get out was by taking us for walks. Barb is a writer, so working from home in the yoga pants and sweatshirt she wore to bed (and okay, perhaps for the last few days), avoiding people, and dreaming up ways to kill them was SOP for her. But the Hub was… a problem.

Now that he wasn’t allowed to go to his office, the Hub kept following us around, trying to explain the intricacies of M3 and the money supply. I didn’t mind because I could tell it was part of my pandemic therapist role and besides he had the good biscuits. But Barb muttered that she hadn’t had so much alone time with the Hub in a good forty years. Then she would repeat, “a GOOD forty years” and sneak off to her greenhouse.

Sometimes the Hub amused himself during lockdown by gathering up all the chew toys, bones, and tennis balls I stashed around the house and piling them at the back of the downstairs fireplace behind the stove. It took me forever to put them all back where they belonged — usually where someone would step on them so I could hear anyone trying to sneak a snack in the middle of the night and make sure they shared with me.

But then their conversation really started to worry me. I heard phrases like, “If you go first, I’m taking your good pillow,” and “Well, it has to look like an accident or insurance will never pay out.” Clearly, it was up to me to make sure they didn’t damage each other, at least not their hands. Didn’t they realize their opposable thumbs were all that stood between filled dogfood bowls at food:o’clock and starvation?

So I took the Hub for walks every time Barb started to mutter things like, “Does it take a P-H-effin-D to figure out how to load a dishwasher?”*

*[My theory? He knew perfectly well how to load a dishwasher, but yanking Barb’s chain was way more fun.]

Luckily, we lived on a beautiful island, so there were lots of interesting places for me to take them on walks. I particularly loved the beach. It’s full of sand to roll in, not to mention a gourmet buffet of tasty treats. First there were the horses on our beaches, and what they left behind was delicious! But then there were all the raw DIY-suishi and avian-tartare washed up on shore. And best of all? When I was full, I could still roll in it!

Strangely, Barb was not a fan of this. I did it anyway, because…well, I’m a dog. I did it even though we all knew there would be torture when I got back. Either Barb would stand me on the back patio and scrub me down with the (so very cold) hose, or even worse she took me into the Dog Drowning Room/downstairs loo, trapped me in the shower, squirted stinky stuff over my magnificent coat, and tried to drown me. Nobody was happy with the results.

But then it started to get hot here. Really hot. I know people think we don’t have summer in the north of Scotland. But there was that day last year (or maybe the year before) when temperatures soared to almost 70F/21C. This was bad for people with magnificent fur coats. And actually, it was pretty disturbing for the two-legs as well, because when it gets above 60F/15C in Scotland, it’s taps aff. (No, that doesn’t refer to faucets turned off, but to the removal of shirts and exposure of disturbing amounts of pink Scottish skin.)

Temperatures and humidity soared, midges — the Scottish national bird — swarmed. Barb was terrified the mojito supplies would run out. These were dark days, and there was only so much a pandemic therapist dog could do. 

One such day, I took the Hub for a very fun walk along the coast, where I could hop in the sea or roll in the sand at will. But the ensuing bath when we got back was an epic battle, especially as drying bits of my impressive coat were colonizing the house in giant fur tumbleweeds. Mostly, that’s because my winter coat is beautifully long and impenetrable. And thanks to the lockdown, I couldn’t get my usual summer trim.

Actually, Barb and the Hub couldn’t get their hair done either, so the Hub borrowed my clippers and did his own. Barb said it looked like it was gnawed off by rabid beavers with a grudge, and refused when he offered to clip her hair. When he suggested that she might look good with bangs, she went back to the greenhouse and wouldn’t come out. When I caught him eyeing my magnificent coat speculatively, I joined her.

But good news! My friend Meghan took pity on Barb and agreed to give me a clip. They exchanged my leash at her gate like two nations doing a prisoner spy swap and Barb left. When she returned, she didn’t recognize me. I’d looked in Meghan’s mirror, so I could see why. The dog looking back at me was about half my regular size, a different color, and seemed to have lost about thirty-five (dog) years of age.

The Hub thought I was embarrassed to be naked, but I loved bouncing around and feeling so cool. The only problem was Scottish nights were still pretty cold. But I nicked a baby blanket from the grandchildren’s room. Problem solved. Too bad Meghan couldn’t cut the Hub’s hair.

The Hub tried to read Barb some clickbait article he found online about a lady who made enormous amounts of money working from home during the lockdown by selling her unwanted possessions. Barb shut herself in the greenhouse and said if he didn’t go back to work soon, she would follow his suggestion. (She had the advert all ready.)

Lockdown special sale! Vintage First Husband. Condition some damage consistent with age and use, occasional emissions issues. Semi-housetrained: doesn’t leave toilet seat up, but does a piss-poor job of loading dishwasher, plus lives in fantasy world where laundry sorts itself. Interesting and amusing in small doses, but if trapped in lockdown house, demands 24/7 attention as he discusses mathematical theorems, the money supply, and the entire history behind the invention of the steam engine. (With diagrams.) Comes with:

  • original equipment including teeth, blue eyes, and personal plumbing. (NOTE: All of the above require frequent servicing.)
  • every item of clothing he’s bought in past 40 years
  • the violin he might need some day, you never know.
  • (Ditto: flute, guitar, two cellos, grand piano, various pieces of exercise equipment, and possible cure for cancer growing in one of the elderly food items he refuses to throw out of the fridge.)

All offers considered, buyer collects. No guarantee of condition and absolutely no returns. SPECIAL BONUS: act now and we will throw in the Taub Memorial Lawnmower collection currently occupying half our garage. (Because you never know when you’ll have a specialized lawn emergency. Best to be prepared.)

I worried about what would happen at food:o’clock.