My childhood dog, Yogi, sucked major ass.
She was literally the worst dog on earth. Looking back now, she may have been the worst dog in the entire fucking universe.
Before I go into too much detail, I will admit that my sister and I did not even ask for a damn dog to begin with. We were never the kids that begged their parents for the puppy in the store window. I remember when I was very young sitting in class when my teacher, Ms. Snow, brought in her Labrador puppy to show us. A resounding “Ahhh…” echoed through the classroom and the kids rushed to the front of the classroom. I took advantage of the distraction and stole money out of my neighbor’s backpack. I just was not interested.
It was our mom who wanted the dog, and she brought it home. I think it was something about teaching my sister and I how to love and care for another living creature. But we weren’t buying it.
“It stinks,” my sister said, holding her nose.
“SHE stinks,” Mom corrected. “Her name is Yogi- and we’ll give her a bath.”
I thought Yogi was a dumb name for a female dog, but really, I didn’t really care either way. They should have named her Unwanted.
“Yogi has creepy eyes,” I stated, and she did. They were black and vapid. Her hair was matted and dark, her breath reeked. Where did my mom get this dog? Hell, perhaps?
“She’s just hungry,” Mom said, and she was right. That dog ate everything in its path for the next ten years. Missing a shoe? Yogi ate it. Left a bag of Hersey’s chocolate kisses on the coffee table? Gone. We really loved it when she would eat her own shit, too. Real classy, Yogi.
The dog was disgusting.
Our friends all hated her. “Your dog sucks,” my friend told me.
“I know,” I agreed, and shrugged. What was I supposed to say? The dog DID suck. She barked constantly, shit everywhere, and kept staring at us with those creepy eyes. Eventually, we all started to hate her.
“Is Yogi outside?’ I asked Dad one Christmas. It was about 5 degrees and snowing like crazy. I could hear her annoying, piercing bark from the backyard.
“I don’t know,” Dad mumbled, turning up the radio to drown out Yogi’s cries. It occurred to me that Dad was hoping the dog would die out there, that her body would freeze solid. I thought about Yogi dead in a block of ice, and the thought pleased me.
“Okay,” I said casually, and acted like I wasn’t aware the dog was 20 minutes from death in our backyard holocaust. I turned and went back upstairs. Fuck, if Dad wasn’t going to let the bitch in, I certainly wasn’t.
Mom was the only one who carried a torch for the goddamn animal. “She’s family,” Mom protested, all teary-eyed when I asked her if we could get rid of Yogi. “How could you say that to me, really?” Mom sniffed. “Plus, Yogi just loves your Dad,” she continued.
That was always Mom’s argument when we complained about the dog, that Yogi just ‘worshipped’ Dad, loved him with all her heart. I think Mom made this up to get Yogi on our good side. But I knew that Yogi didn’t love anybody except herself- and Satan. She never played with us, never snuggled with us, never did cute dog things like all the other happy puppies running around the neighborhood. No, when she wasn’t eating her own excrement, she just sat there, and stared at us with those satanic eyes.
“I think Yogi is going to kill me,” I whispered to Dad one evening, Yogi’s eyes boring holes into my skull. “I’m scared.”
“Hmm…” was all Dad said. He did not seem concerned. That being said, he was watching Monday Night Football, and had I said “I’m pregnant,” I probably would have gotten the same reaction.
Years later, the day finally came when Yogi got real sick. We were all praying for it.
“She’s not doing well,” Dad told me, over the phone. He tried to sound grave, but I detected glee behind his voice. My sister and I were away at college at that point, and they were stuck at home with the beast.
“Maybe you should put her down,” I suggested helpfully. I was coming home for spring break in a couple of weeks and was hoping she would be buried by then.
The next day, Mom called me to tell me Yogi had passed away. She seemed giddy as she shared this news, and I could hear Dad pop a champagne cork in the background. They were blasting the Rolling Stones.
“Thank god,” I said with relief.
“I know,” Mom agreed, and took a sip of the champagne on the other end of the phone. “That dog,” she said, and paused. “That dog fucking sucked.”
In Yogi’s final years, Mom had ended up hating her too. And in the end, that common hatred of Yogi, the family dog, brought us all closer together.
Quarter Life Whatever
4 years ago