When people ask me if my dog is a mutt, I tell them, “No, he’s a moron. ”
King Louie is a nine-year-old, twelve-pound toy poodle who has the intelligence of rock salt. The day we brought him home, the husband and I decided to name him Zippy; but within hours, we realized that name did not suit him.
On his first day of obedience class, the instructor informed me that Louie was untrainable. That was just after she ripped out most of her hair and right before she called him a Jell-O brain and ran from the building sobbing. Louie not only flunked the class, he was dishonorably discharged.
We dubbed the cantankerous canine King Louie, not because of his regal demeanor or his majestic appearance. He earned that title because of his overbearing ways. The domineering little devil rules our home with an iron paw. He demands absolute respect from his human subjects. Louie changes from cute little fur ball into ferocious beast in 3.5 milliseconds when someone attempts to usurp his authority. He snarls viciously at those who dare to extricate him from his couch throne.
Besides being a control freak with a brain the size of a Rice Krispy, King Louie is a loner. He hates drop in guests – or any guests for that matter. Perhaps his disagreeable temper is the result of painful periodontal disease. Either that, or he’s not getting enough fiber in his diet. For whatever reason, the toothless little tyrant discourages intruders by baring his shriveled gums and growling obscenities.
Though his domain covers forty wooded acres, the King doesn’t roam very far from home. In fact, he doesn't care to go outside much at all, especially unescorted. And he is adamant about not venturing forth in the rain. It takes three sumo wrestlers to force this dwarf of a dog out the door during inclement weather. Being a passive aggressive pooch, Louie retaliates by relieving himself on the front porch.
Louie has made his mark - several in fact - not on the world, but in our home. Though he can roam free in our 3,000 square foot, two-story house, when he feels the urge to throw up or have an uncontrollable bout of explosive diarrhea, he heads straight for the oriental rug. If we toss him outside, he stands staring at the door until we let him back in. Once inside, he picks up where he left off and resumes spurting something out from one end or the other. Louie faithfully obeys the doggie code of ethics which lists rule number one as NEVER regurgitate outside.
The mangey monarch monopolizes my bed and whines at the bathroom door when I’m in the tub. He jumps on my lap when I’m typing, and he watches me when I go to the bathroom. He clings to me like a hair on a grilled cheese sandwich.
Louie’s favorite bone is my ankle. After nine years of intensive training, he hasn’t yet learned to sit. In fact, he barely knows how to stand. However, he does respond to a few voice commands. For instance, when I say “come, " he instantly runs in the opposite direction. When I say “stay, ” he leaps up and attaches himself leech-like to my thigh. When I order him to “heel, " he gnaws on my shoes. When he chases cars and I yell, “No!” he immediately steps up his pace. I can’t get him to fetch either. The only stick he’s interested in is a bread stick, and the only balls he’ll chase are meatballs.
I think the problem is that Louie doesn’t understand English. Since poodles come from France, I tried speaking French to him. Who knew he wasn’t bi-lingual? I said “oui oui” and he did just that! So now I’m taking French lessons so I can communicate with him in his native tongue. This high-strung hound turns up his royal nose at milk bone biscuits and dog chow, preferring instead french fries, cherries jubilee, and linguine in clam sauce. This is one thing we have in common. In fact, we’re a lot alike in the eating department.
Neither of us relishes what is nutritious, and we both occasionally eat till we’re sick. I, however, do not gobble food whole or throw up twice my body weight – in bed. Neither do I stubbornly plant myself under the dining room table while whining, yipping, and drooling throughout the meal. I also refuse to ingest paper plates, no matter how sumptuous they smell; and I would never curl up on dirty underwear and nibble on my husband’s feet.
Recently, His Peskiness accompanied us on a long car trip. A very long trip. At least it seemed to last forever. This was supposed to be a relaxing vacation? Louie refused to sit anywhere in the car but on my lap. During the six hour trip, he busied himself by jumping in my face, licking my face, and breathing in my face. He also whined non-stop except during an occasional break or two to lick the windows.
Riding in the car is one of Louie’s favorite pastimes. Or at least he bounds enthusiastically into the car in anticipation of the ride. He believes very strongly that he must accompany us everywhere. After all, you never know when you might need a tiny demon dog to pant and bark violently at nothing right in your ear while he’s walking on your chest as you speed down the expressway.
The only thing Louie likes better than getting into the car is getting out. Once we leave the driveway, the pitiful whining begins and doesn’t stop till the car door opens, allowing his escape.
You can always tell when Louie's been in the car. The windows are coated with dog slobber and the vehicle smells like a combination of moldy swamp water, an old bowling shoe, and a backed up toilet.
Besides road trips, other things Louie enjoys are marking his territory when new furniture is added to our home; sitting in the middle of a room full of company and licking himself; barking incessantly at invisible monsters; violently charging the poor UPS man; emitting fowl odors; and ignoring everything spoken by his master, with the exception of the words “treat, " and “yummies. "
A pomegranate is smarter than Crazy Louie (a. k. a. Nutsie) and any self respecting fruit would be insulted to be compared with him. The runt is fortunate that he’s cute. If not for his floppy ears and that helpless, innocent look, he would never have survived this long.
The only reason we have endured “the Doofus" for nine years is that we’re certain no normal family would tolerate his obnoxious behavior. We feel sorry for him because he is brain damaged and ill mannered. We believe that his “inner puppy” may have been traumatized early in life, warping his personality and making his applesauce brain psychopathic. We spoil him rotten, because we feel sorry for him. He’s treated better than most children, and nothing is expected of him. He doesn’t even take out the garbage.
I’ve tried several times to give Louie away, but at the last minute, I always back out due to guilt. I just know that any other owner would surely abuse him because he would drive them mad. When we’re tempted to get rid of him, we always reconsider after thinking about what a new owner might do when the little creep not only bites the hand that feeds him, but takes a leak on his clean laundry, eats his underwear, and barfs on his pillow.
So, we’ve kept Louie all these years, not because we love him . . . just to protect him from an early entrance to doggie heaven. Although, if such a place does exist, I seriously doubt that Louie would be allowed in.
Author of “Hugs, Hope, and Peanut Butter"