Cathy Eats Her Words

October 29, 2007

The dogs

Filed under: Character,NaNoWriMo — jeanne @ 8:31 am

The dogs are significant in that they recur all the time thruout the story, and their behavior changes, mirroring the changes in the other characters, and responding to events.

Tabasco is a large mongrel, part Chow and part German Shepherd. He was gotten at the pound years before the story opens, and he’s the only dog when the story starts. He eats the cheap dog food, and scrounges for anything edible on the street, whether it’s rotten and crawling with ants, or a dessicated chicken bone. He lunges on his leash, and if it weren’t metal he would grab it while he walked, and chew it to pieces. Husband uses a choke chain on him, and often they talk about getting a spiked collar, and sharpening the spikes. He’s very headstrong. He likes to sniff every bush, wall, and tire when he walks, so he’s always having to be pulled away from something, or tugging husband down the street. This comes in handy when they’re going uphill. When he poops, he stares at husband waiting for approval. He leaves huge stinking piles of shit, and often stops two or three times to get all his business done. He’s the watchdog in the house, and barks incessantly at the mail lady or any homeless guy who walks by, and of course any dogs. He’d love to be able to play with passing dogs, and barks with desperation when they pass. In the beginning of the story, he growls at the boyfriend, and because Cathy and husband stay in bed very late most mornings, he starts leaving poop in the front room, so husband puts him in his basement room at night, and this solves the problem.

Scootie is a King Charles Spaniel puppy that Cathy’s friend gave her because she couldn’t take care of it. She’s a dog that loves to sleep all day, in your lap, and Cathy thinks it’s right for her because she wants a quiet, peaceful life. The dog arrives right after Star moves back in with her father, and there is trouble with her peeing on the floor, so the dog walk goes from twice a day to six times, while the little dog adjusts. On her walks, Scootie likes to chase anything that moves, like blowing leaves and squirrels. She has a retractable leash. When the leash is dropped, she gets frightened because it retracts toward her neck, and then she finds herself carrying around a handle half the size she is. When she poops she waddles around, usually toward something she wants to sniff, multitasking. She will bark whenever the other dogs bark, and usually without knowing why. She will keep barking after the other dogs stop. Scootie sleeps in the bed with Cathy and husband, and can neither jump onto the bed or off of it, so she is trapped there for the night, which pleases Cathy because it means she won’t pee on the floor. She is intensely loyal to Cathy, and barks and growls whenever Star comes into the room when they’re in bed. This would be adequate warning for them that their sex is about to be interrupted, except that Scootie keeps wanting to play as well, and they have to keep pushing her away and turning their backs to her. She likes to lick.

Stumbles is a Maltese dog, and belongs to Star. The first time she lives with Cathy and husband, the dog stays with her father, who isn’t willing to let Star have her in case she trades her for drugs. The ex never walks the dogs, so his own dog as well as Stumbles have the habit of peeing in the house. All the carpeting is ruined, and the place smells like old pee. The ex traumatizes Stumbles whenever he catches her at it, so she’s now in the habit of eating her shit as it comes out. When Star moves in the second time, Stumbles comes with her, and immediately starts peeing on carpets, so Cathy and husband roll them all up and put them in the attic. Star then complains about the hardwood floors. Stumbles takes as long as Scootie did to house train, and Cathy has to go around picking up and mopping the frequent messes. Stumbles has an old leash Cathy and husband found on the sidewalk one day; it’s been half-chewn thru by Tabasco. Cathy ties them both together so she can hold them in one hand. When she has to take all three dogs out, she’s constantly switching leashes from hand to hand, trying not to let them bcome braided. Stumbles likes to stay in the middle of the street when she walks, and has chronic constipation. Whenever Cathy drops the leash, Stumbles acts like she did something wrong, and sits down, hopefully wagging her tail, sometimes turning on her back in submission. Stumbles barks whenever she hears a noise. She likes to sit on the chair next to the window and bark at everyone who goes by. She has an irritating, high pitched yap, and her barking is never a sign of trouble, tho Tabasco’s usually is. It’s often necessary to go and pick Stumbles up and bring her into another room to stop her barking. Both Scootie and Stumbles eat expensive dog food. Tabasco constantly sneaks over and eats their food. Scootie and Stumbles are jealous of each other, and will fight each other’s attempts to eat their food, but all they do is growl when Tabasco horns in.

The dogs get along, and play with each other. Stumbles tries to hump Tabasco all the time, tho Tabasco is the boy (ex-boy). It’s a dominance thing. Tabasco gets her by the back of the neck and drools on her, so that her fine white fur is matted and yellow from the saliva. Scootie mostly hides in the corner and watches them playing, but she swarms all over Tabasco when he emerges from the basement in the morning, licking his face. He totally ignores her, touches noses with Stumbles, and looks for things to pee on. He teaches the smaller dogs how to smell everything, how to drag on their leashes, and how to pull. It’s funny to watch 2 dogs weighing less than 10 lbs each struggling against the leash.


1 Comment »

  1. Crazy dogs!

    Comment by Maltese Maniac — April 18, 2008 @ 12:26 pm | Reply

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