A Copywriter’s Blog
You Want Me To Do What? Ben Levy 20, December

For those who don’t live near the Northeastern United States, we had some snow this weekend. Those who do live near the Northeastern United States will note that I said “some” snow. Not THE WORST BLIZZARD IN HISTORY OH G-D WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE! Which was more or less how CNN and the Weather Channel reported the event. This is particularly humorous to those of us who have seen and driven in real snow. The kind that has the words “lake effect” preceding it. But I digress.

The Wife and I adopted our dog when we lived in Florida. And while we don’t know her entire history, we assume certain things about her life. One of those things is that she has only ever lived in an equatorial climate. If she’s anything like the rest of Florida, she feels 60 degrees is scarf weather and snow is a myth told to frighten children.

The first time we took the dog out in the snow, you could still see the grass. She decided this white stuff was more or less “wet”, and proceeded to basically ignore it.

The second time we took her out, a few hours later, there were about 4 inches on the ground. Her expression was the textbook definition of WTF.

I understand that -from the dog’s point of view- I was asking her to walk outside into the middle of a swirling, frigid, apocalypse and take a shit. I tried to be sympathetic. If the Almighty came down right after all four horsemen had ridden past my front door and casually requested that I mosey on outside and water the nearest bush while the scorched earth crumbled around me, I would probably balk as well. And I have to assume, as far as Mia was concerned, that this was more or less the situation being presented.

But damnit, if she peed in the house I was going to start googling Vietnamese soup recipes.

Mia is a schnauzer-daschund. In her, this mix produced an animal that was slightly longer of body than of leg. To put it bluntly, she’s a low-rider. And her eliminatory processes take place about an inch off the ground. We were about to walk out into a wet, shifting mass of cold that was going to be up her butt before she even bent down. She walked outside, looked at the unbroken hills and valleys of white that were practically at eye-level, and cowered next to the door. Fine. We’ll try again later.

This scene was more or less repeated, with slight variations, for the next 8 hours. I knew what was going to happen. Eventually, the dog would become so desperate that she would go in the snow. Once that happened a few times, she’d figure out that the world was not in fact ending, and we could settle into a normal (if somewhat colder) routine. All I really had to do was wait until she couldn’t hold it.

Which, based off my bullshit calculations and the last time she actually did her business, was going to be at 4 o’clock. In the morning.

By midnight, we’d reached about 8 inches of snow, and I gave up. “Vietnamese Soup” I muttered at her as I went to bed.

Where I was awakened, at approximately 4:15 in the morning, by a crying dog in my face. We went out. Operation Uno was a success. Operation Dos refused to commit. I tried very hard not to cry as I crawled back into bed at 4:30am. I knew what was coming next.

The whimpering and kibble breathe in my face at 6:30am was basically dog for “On the bright side, you were right.”

Comments Off
Rule 3 Ben Levy 18, October

When The Wife and I got a dog (we were “just going to look”. Word to the wise, gentlemen- you never just “look”) I made it very clear that there would be three rules that were to remain inviolate.

1. Thou shalt not feed the canine from the table.
2. Thy beast sleepeth not in thine bed.
3. Thou shalt not dress thy beast in stupid clothes.

Careful reading of the above will reveal that these are all actually rules for the owners, not the dog. Specifically the owners who may be The Wife. I am proud to report that Rule 1 remains unbroken to this day. Rule 2 had a momentary lapse due to extenuating circumstances (we were moving and had no furniture besides an air mattress) but was quickly re-established. Rule 3, I am afraid, is a different matter.

It was going well. We had the dog for over a year before I came home and my wife called her into the room to show me the “surprise”. In trots my schnauzer-daschund (schnoxie) wearing a powder blue shirt. I was about to be furious, but said shirt was proudly emblazoned with “I forgot my pants” and an image of tighty-whities. As anyone who knows me can attest, I am powerless against jokes involving pants (or the lack thereof) and so the shirt was allowed to stay.

Plus, somewhat embarrassingly, the dog appeared to like wearing it.

Several months later, Rule 3 suffered another setback, as my mother proudly showed up with a Mia-sized UM shirt. Well, The Wife just graduated from their Medical School, and it did fit the dog even better than the “pants” shirt…

I feel it important to point out that we only occasionally put these shirts on the dog. Months would pass without her wearing one. It was more a novelty than anything else. Then came last Friday.

It’s been getting colder. And as I’ve mentioned before, my dog grew up in a specific climate. Hot. And so it wasn’t too much of a surprise when last Friday our dog walker came home and innocently asked The Wife if we had a coat for Mia, as she seemed cold.

Rule 3 crumbled before my eyes.

Very well, I told myself. Even if there was no Rule 3, at least we could adhere to common decency. Nothing pink. Nothing with frills. Nothing expensive. Just some no-nonsense, utilitarian warmth so the dog could run with her little pack during the day for a few hours without shivering.

We went to Target. The place looked as though it had been picked over by a swarm of dog-jacket-wearing locusts. There was only one jacket left, and it was far too large.

We went to the specialty pet store near us. They had jackets on sale. There was only one in my dog’s size.

So that you don’t suffer undue stress, let me assure you ahead of time- it was not pink. It was however, $45 dollars. $45 was the sale price. It was 25% off. I believe in my closet right now are jackets that cost less than that.

It had a hood. A ridiculous contraption that was only going to irritate my dog, who logically feels that ears are meant to be free and peripheral vision is a blessing to be enjoyed. The hood had faux fur. My dog- who has fur- was wearing a hood made of faux fur. The hood was irritating to everyone, so I folded it back on itself. It promptly took on the appearance of a bomber jacket.

The back was proudly emblazoned with the company name “PUPPIA” and the number “5″. Because clearly my dog is a great fan of the sports. So much so that she is sponsored.

But at least it wasn’t pink. It was brown. Tan, actually. A lovely color that accents some of the brown and red in the fur around her face. It was, in fact, irritatingly complimentary.

And that is how, this afternoon, I walked my dog in it’s fashionable, complimentary, name-brand bomber jacket. And it pranced ahead of me searching for squirrels, and it sniffed the ground, and it caught the eye. Of Every. Single. Person. We. Passed.

Not a single person looked at me. Everyone we walked by stared at my perfectly appointed pooch. And that’s what it was. You don’t dress dogs in lettered bomber jackets with faux fur that compliment their hair color. You dress pooches in those. Tea cup poodles that bark in a pitch even other dogs can’t hear and get carried around in a purse. Not my dog, the queen bitch of the dog park who once submitted a boxer puppy three times her size (I tear up just thinking about it).

And that’s why- the second my mom sent me a link to an ugly, monochromatic, utilitarian faux shearling dog coat for $10- we packed that bomber jacket back up and returned it to the store. Rule 3 may be bent, but damned if we’re going to break it.

I have a theory Ben Levy 31, May

The theory is that my dog believes all squirrels are filled with crack.

My dog was adopted from a shelter in Miami. This means two things. First, that we don’t know her early history. And second, that she lived in a city with a fair bit of drug traffic.

She’s crazy for squirrels. Absolutely flat-out, bat-shit, lose-her-damn-mind-and-attempt-to-climb-trees-which-she-can’t-do-cause-she’s-a-dog-not-a-cat crazy. The vocal and gymnastic displays she performs could get an unlicensed animal put down. And I have developed a theory that perfectly explains this behavior.

At some point, a desperate drug trafficker with more creativity than sense decided that he would evade detection by using squirrels as couriers. I don’t pretend to know whether he had a herd of the damn things, or just tried stitching a few grams into a single test subject, but somewhere a squirrel got loose. We can all agree that once that squirrel rode it’s stolen hamster wheel out the window and across a telephone wire to safety, it was too tired to climb a tree and just sank gratefully into the grass in a nearby park.

I think my dog found it. I think she ate it. And I think she’s been looking for her next hit ever since.

An Inconvenient Poop Ben Levy 10, October

Long-time readers know that I do my best to help the environment. That’s the reason the wife and I bought those canvas supermarket bags- less plastic in the landfill.

Then we got a dog.

It poops.

Now we can’t buy groceries fast enough to keep a positive bags-to-bowels ratio. In fact, we had to go out and buy plastic bags, just to keep up.

If anyone has an environmentally friendly solution to this, let me know. Because apparently the hole in the ozone layer, those category 4 hurricanes, and the impending extinction of the polar bear are all due to an adorable little schnauzer-dachshund mix.

You didn’t warn me about that, Al Gore.

I have been dog-sitting my dog-in-law for the last week and a half. Since the wife and I can’t afford a dog of our own right now, we’re quite happy to watch “Libby”. She’s a beagle, an excellent canine archetype. And since she’s 11, she’s far too old to be poorly behaved. There’s only one problem.

This dog eats poop.

This 11 yr old, arthritic, shit-hunting hound will drag me 2 blocks in search of scat. It’s like a delicacy to her. No doubt in that peach-pit sized dog brain there’s an entire registry of colors and consistencies of various defecation. “Hmmm…almondy, with a texture not unlike a whipped mouse… aged perhaps two days, and… yes I detect a hint of IAMs.”

At least, that’s what I assume she’s telling me every time she woof’s when I drag her away from some “after dinner” delight.

Comments Off