Second Hand Luke

Poor second-hand Luke, the Craigslist dog. It’s not entirely his fault he has the soul of a black-hearted pirate hidden under adorable puppy dog eyes… along with a bottomless pit for a belly, and the appetite of 3 dogs. He was a solid 30 pounds over weight when he came to our home. He would probably be a great dog in a house where he can just sleep and eat… And get right up next to you and stare you in the face without blinking until you physically take yourself from where he has access to you.

His previous owner was anxious to get rid of him. Anxious like, texting me multiple times to tell me how perfect this dog is. When we spoke on the phone, I thought I heard her mention he could spin straw into gold. Anxious like, she was even willing to make the 45 minute drive to get him to me tonight. Anxious like, I felt concern for the safety and wellbeing of the dog she was so insistent that he had to be gone by the end of the day.

He seemed like what we were hoping for in a dog, a 5-year-old Lab, living on a farm with 5 other dogs and a couple of kids. She was taking some additional children into her home and two of the dogs were on the chopping block to make space. She had a legitimate reason to pass him along. She assured me he is good with kids, (he is awesome with the girls) totally house trained, (uhhh- unless he is mad at you) a good guard dog, (as long as the stranger doesn’t offer up some food) but he has been known to steal bread if you leave it out….

Not bread exclusively, as it turns out, but anything that could be remotely considered edible, including his own shit. Lilly’s friend actually told her when we got him that Labs have a tendency to do that. When she came home and shared this information with me, we both wrinkled our noses and agreed, “No way.”

We were wrong.

That nasty little habit coupled with his insistence that he had to nap on my daughter’s bed no matter what alternatives were given to him, was a constant source of contention in our home. A fluffy cloud covered in silk couldn’t compare to my daughter’s pillow, apparently. Even if I made the bed excessively uncomfortable for him by putting stuff all over the it; chairs, ironing boards, ladders… It just didn’t matter, if he couldn’t push it aside, he would lie on top of it. The biggest problem was at night when he would not just sleep on it, but steal the covers from my sleeping tot, and lick himself. Bleck.

It was really that filthy pirate mouth that forced the final decision to pass him on to my brother. He has far more time for the power struggle Luke wants to create, and no little children to victimize with his innocent brown eyes, wagging tail, and sticky tongue.

Once, after everyone had long been sleeping, I thought I heard something in the house. Grabbing my beatin’ stick I hurried quietly down the stairs. I heard Macy’s bed squeak, and I look in to see Luke’s silhouette lying there, neck stretched up, ears alert, looking every-which-direction as though he heard it to, but just didn’t know where it was. I continue into the kitchen, to check the door where I notice a cupcake on the floor: The smoking gun.

Luke had just been in the kitchen helping himself to the confections on the counter, which is the noise that sent me shuffling down the stairs with a crow bar at midnight. He then totally pretended he didn’t do it and tried to fake me out like he had been in bed the whole time.

I just don’t have the time or will to play his psychotic doggy games. I couldn’t turn my back on him for a second or he would relieve my daughters of anything they were trying to eat; cheese, muffins, oatmeal, popsicle… and wag his tail.

For instance, after casually walking over to the table and taking half of Oriel’s sandwich, I say, “Bad dog! Get in the bathroom!” And though he knows EXACTLY where he should go, he runs the opposite direction both cowering and wagging his tail. If I follow him, now screaming obscenities as well as, “get in the bathroom!” He rolls on his back and wags his tail. I presume he thinks I should beat him, but I prefer he take his lard ass in the bathroom where he would be safe from my wrath. Maybe that is a game he used to play with his old mom, but I’m not into it. Whatever the reason, it just pisses me off more. If I try to physically move him to the bathroom, he attempts to twist out of his collar, and wag his tail. Not that I could move him that way because he weighs as much as I do. I have no desire to wrestle with a dog.

The girls were sad to see him go, but take consolation in knowing they will get to visit him at their uncle’s and “Babysit” him on occasion.

People ask me if I miss him. I miss having another set of ears listening, and he made sure there were never crumbs on the floor. Other than that, like other sociopaths I’ve known, he was a terrible housemate that I am happier without.