dog fiction - Snake Oil

Snake Oil

It’s a good thing I don’t have a job or else I’d look like the Thompson cat after being chased through the brambles behind old lady Tucker’s house. You two-leggers don’t appreciate the work that goes into looking good when your entire body is covered with fur. Sure, you all have a little tuft on top of your head, but that’s nothing compared to me, a full-figured, fluffy Samoyed with my arctic white fur shining as if glistening with morning dew. And I’m beginning to wonder if that tuft of yours might be a wig, since more and more of you are going without, mostly men, and when I smell the women’s hair it smells very similar to what my two-legger uses to clean up my wee-wee. I don’t know what you use to clean a wig but you might use that. You certainly wouldn’t use wee-wee cleaner on your own hair, or maybe you all would. The odd stuff you do never ceases to amaze me.

Sometimes after I eat and I’m feeling full and warm, I enjoy grooming my paws until I fall asleep. Now, if I had a job, I’d be so tired from schlepping all day that I’d probably fall asleep right after my last bite of supper. That’s what you all do from what I’ve observed, and I’m a keen observer. I notice everything. I can tell what kind of mood you’re in based on the pace you’re walking. I can tell if you’re hungry by the scent of your sugar levels in your sweat. I can tell if you’re old or young, a boy or a girl before I even see you. You announce your presence with the drift of the wind. And you say where you’ve gone with the skin dust you trail behind you.

It’s a rarity when my two-legger isn’t asleep or in a vegetative state in front of the widescreen after dinner. I don’t understand that vegetative state; reminds me of Maxwell, the cat I live with, when he stares at the fly on the wall long after the fly has come and gone. Nor do I understand the television and this compulsion to stare at it for long periods while your grooming goes to pot from continuous eating. I like to eat, too, but I stop when I’m full. The widescreen makes sudden obnoxious noises that startle me from my naps and fills the darkened room with erratic light patterns that mess with my dreams when my inner eyelid can’t shut out all the stupidity. I mean why go into a room, dim the lights as if you’re preparing to nap, and then turn on that noisy screen? You might as well empty a big basket of tomcats in a roomful of sleeping dogs.

All I can think of is that some of you are voyeurs while others are exhibitionists. I definitely fall into the exhibitionist camp, though you probably already figured that from my impeccably groomed paws. That is, if you noticed my paws. Many of you two-leggers aren’t very observant, which is amusing considering the endless hours you spend staring at that widescreen. Maybe instead of honing your skills of observation to razor sharpness, it dulls them with its barrage of useless images. How many times in an evening do you need to see a woman flashing a patently false smile while she holds a bottle of snake oil next to her face and tells you it has cured her of creaky joints, or settled her stomach after eating fish guts, or cleaned the birdshit off the hood of her car?

Now, if you’re a voyeur, I guess learning of others’ troubles and watching their demise gets you going, or watching fantasy lives so impossibly exciting that by comparison your life is dull and monotonous makes you depressed, so that all you can do when you get home from work is eat and fall asleep on the couch while being showered by the light of this tableau of lies. If you’re a voyeur, you’re screwed. It all leads to discontentment one way or another. You aren’t cool enough, thin enough, pretty enough, strong enough, studly enough, irrational enough, emotional enough, calm enough. You just can’t win. Being an exhibitionist, I don’t care about any of that. I’m too busy showing off because I am thin enough, pretty enough, cool enough, because I don’t pay any attention to that widescreen telling me I’m not. What does it know? It certainly doesn’t know me. And it definitely hasn’t seen my paws. If it had, some puffball image of a dog wouldn’t be pitching me snake oil for paw cleaning when I have a perfectly good tongue for that. Besides, tasting the dirt as I groom myself takes me on a trip down memory lane of where I’ve been recently. Oh, that must be one of old lady Tucker’s brambles. That cat was fast. Maybe I’ll catch it next time. See what I mean?

I live with a family of two-leggers, a big male, a not quite as big female, a small male and female, and an infant that smells like baby powder when it doesn’t smell like poop and I’m pretty sure it’s a male, though it’s hard to tell because it doesn’t have the scent of post-puberty hormones saturating the air around it. Go to a singles bar and that’s all there is. You all smell beer breath, cigarettes, Speed Stick and perfume, but underneath that the room is awash in hormones and pheromones. Your average family dog wouldn’t know much about singles bars, but the big male has taken me there a few times when he’s had to swing by to get something. It’s definitely a place for voyeurs and exhibitionists. Do they have to pair up in that order? Would two exhibitionists be happy together? Or would they have to mate in front of a mirror? And two voyeurs? Would they even have the initiative to mate?

My two-legger family is evenly split. The big male is a voyeur, the big female an exhibitionist; in fact I think the male picked her out at his bar. The little male is also an exhibitionist. He models his mother’s shoes in the mirror when no one is home and tells me how pretty he looks, but he thinks his mom has bad taste in shoes. He’d like more rhinestones. The little female is a watcher—a voyeur who doesn’t want to be seen watching. She knows about her brother and the shoes and a few other things, but keeps quiet about it, not for her brother’s sake, but because she doesn’t want people to know she sees what she sees. She is like me in that very little gets by her. And the baby? Too soon to tell. Maybe he’ll be something new—someone who doesn’t need to watch or to show off, but simply is. I feel like that sometimes, lost in the moment of just existing, but then I spot someone pointing at me and overhear them saying how beautiful I am and I’m back to prancing like a show horse and soaking up their adulation. Vanity has its costs. It pulls me out of the moment. Well, you can’t live in the moment all of the time no matter how cool they tell you it is. You’d forget to eat, and we all need to eat, even cats.

Cats are the ultimate voyeurs. Like two-leggers and their odd behaviors, cats take it to the extreme, where they watch you with such intensity that it becomes stalking, and they’re not watching for the sake of learning who you are and seeing what you’re like, but looking for your vulnerabilities where they can move in for the kill. They look for that brief moment when you’re distracted by that blueberry muffin crumb that got kicked under the fridge, and then they swoop in with their claws out and scratch your nose. It happens all the time, all over the world. They know your weaknesses because they stalk you. The snake oil lady on the widescreen is the same. I sometimes wonder if she can see you all in the same way you all see her, because she knows an awful lot about you, just like the cats probing for weaknesses, and for some reason you all believe what she says.

One evening I was happily grooming my paws on a full belly when the big female squatted down next to me like she was going to pee in the woods, grabbed one of my paws and started spraying it with the same snake oil I saw the lady on the widescreen smiling about. She was soaking my paws in shower scum remover, and being the family dog I was expected to lie there and take it, or else get pinned down by the big male, which would leave me with no recourse but to bite and that would lead down a path that would be difficult to get back from. Instead, I bade my time, and once she was done messing with my paws, I spent the extra time cleaning the scum remover off them. She tried to stop me, but nature will get what it wants eventually. Same with the family dog. You can’t watch us all the time. If you did, you’d miss your favorite shows.

29 thoughts on “Snake Oil”

  1. Reblogged this on Christian's Critters and commented:
    I enjoyed reading this post, as I’ve often wondered about how our furry friends see the things we do. They must think we’re pretty strange at times, and yet they love us anyway. Hope you all enjoy, and go hug your critters! – Amber
    P.S. Almost forgot, my #TBSU List for this week:
    http://www.blogpaws.com/
    http://nodogaboutit.wordpress.com/
    http://patternsofnature.wordpress.com/
    http://baggybulldogs.wordpress.com/
    http://blackcatrescue.wordpress.com/
    If you find something you like, please share!

  2. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed, and kudos for being such an obviously superior, insightful canine. I dasn’t let my critters see this, else the dogs would want their own iPad and the cats would demand rebuttal time.

  3. ROFLMAO!! LOVE IT!!! When we started Glimmer’s blog (at another site), we wrote from her perspective, too. It was hysterical – well, it was hysterical to us, anyway. And quite enlightening, as it turned out: We sure learned how to see the world differently. It was awesome. We may start doing that again now that we’re here. :)

    In reply to your question about the Red Barn meat rolls, no, we haven’t tried those. Actually, I’m not sure they’re available here in my corner of Canada. I’m heading out to the pet store, though, so I’ll look into it. Thanks! :)

  4. Thanks for stopping by. Funny idea to let the fourleger share their view of the world and twolegers. I have always been wondering what my Lab thinks when we cook and eat (actually I think I have a good guess).

  5. Reblogged this on MunichWest and commented:
    . Funny idea to let the fourleger share their view of the world and twolegers. I have always been wondering what my Lab thinks when we cook and eat (actually I think I have a good guess).

  6. Immensely enjoyed my visit here and thanks for stopping by my place :>)
    I wish I could find the piece that made the email rounds in the 90’s – the one I speak of first listed the dog’s view of life with two-leggers, then the cat’s view – I don’t remember any specific lines, except the beginning of the cat’s perspective:

    “Day 102 of my captivity….” – I thought perhaps you, or those who follow your work, may remember the piece and if you’ve never seen, I believe you would enjoy it if ever I can find it!

    Thanks again for the wonderful read!

  7. Much truth here behind the humor. I still say our dog was one of my best teacher’s. And a friend just wrote this morning about how dogs live in the present. Enjoyed your post a lot!

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