I must admit that it was more to hide the evidence, than for the taste, that I ate my Alpha’s black butt-hugging book. Usually, it was hidden from me, and forbidden to me, residing in the back pocket of his jeans.
Early on I had learned, the hard way, not to eat his clothing. You might think that wasn’t difficult, since fabric isn’t meat, nor bones, nor anything inherently tasty. But the smell! His shoes, for example, were redolent with his acrid toe smell, a scent I could follow for miles, over grass and hedges and even ponds.
If only Alpha got lost and they came to me to find him. No problem at all! Put me in the general vicinity of his last sighting, let me go, and I’d proudly rescue him. Such a sweet-sour fragrance, a little sharper than Alpha’s female’s smell, and because I so loved him, among the most gratifying odors in the world.
How could a dog not want to stick his snout deep into his shoe, recap all the places Alpha had been in the past month, all his acquaintances, his missteps, his dropped food? And smell is so closely associated with taste, that eating a shoe or two is more a mark of devotion than destruction.
But some strong language and bop, bop, bop on my nose, and I gathered that the shoe was his and his alone. I slunk away, chastised, and never again ate his shoes.
Socks, on much the same learning path, I added to the no-chew list. And soon jeans and tops. It was difficult, given the heavenly aromas, but I soon disdained munching all Alpha’s clothing, contenting myself with retrieving scattered articles and falling asleep with them under my nose when he was away, but never tasting them. Hardly ever.
Generally, I had little interest in books, even though Alpha spent hours staring at them, patting them in his lap (making me jealous), and only occasionally snapping them shut and saying, “Walk!” (no question mark for me on that!). Only a faint hint of Alpha, and the other book smells were rarely exciting.
However, this particular book, not one he would read for long – only for a few minutes now and then before consulting his ringing rectangle and talking to himself – he kept in his back pocket, close to that reservoir of personal reminiscences, his behind. I had only smelled it from afar, and never had much interest in it, until today when he spilled some hot black on his pants, changed quickly, and left the book on his bed.
As he left, I barked twice to signal that I would protect the house, and then rummaged around for a nose rag to act as a muse for my dreams. I love dreaming about Alpha. I jumped up on the bed, thinking a quick nap there would be safe (it is a “no-no” when he or female is around), and there it was: small, with no color, and almost as redolent as his taboo underwear.
Knowing I could not be trusted to wake in time if in a dream instigated by such a find, I carefully mouthed the book and carried it to my bed, where I joyously tossed it into the air several times, grasped it in my teeth, pretended I was playing tug-of-war with Alpha with it, and finally dropped it at the edge of my bed. I spun around a few times to find the exact right angle to start my lay down, and voila! There I was, properly curled, with the book right under my nose.
I would not bore you with my dreams, because they were dramatic and ecstatic. Alpha was letting me sniff his crotch, then wrestling close with me in his arms, and then throwing the green ball. It was so much fun I woke up tired, almost exhausted, and needed a nap before I could arise. But what a nap! I dreamt Alpha had fallen asleep right next to me, and wrapped his legs around my head.
Only that damn cat from over the fence trying to get in the dog door could rouse me. I thought about ignoring her, but I had promised Alpha I’d deal with intruders. When I returned to my bed, I found the book was sodden with saliva, pockmarked with bites, and somehow had mitosed into many pieces.
It looked dog-chewed. It wasn’t going to work to just put it back on his bed. What to do?
As I said, it wasn’t really the taste that made me eat the book.
Alpha was in a jolly mood that night, he and female actually jumping up and down and hollering, and he and her patting me and telling me things, in between their consulting their ringing rectangles and talking excitedly to themselves. Soon I heard “walk”, and my leash was put on. Joy.
No kidding! Alpha was actually singing as we walked, a passable tenor (but no proper high-note ending to his howls). He walked nearly twice as fast as usual, but did stop now and then on the trip to let me sniff, talking to me as I marked several trees, a few big mounds of iron, and teased the Dalmatian by peeing over every one of his marked spots.
We walked to one of his stores, where I dutifully sat outside as Alpha had trained me, while he slapped the hands of several people whose scents I knew, and a few new ones, including one who lived with dogs and cats but no female and ate no meat.
He came out in a few minutes, still smiling, carrying a package and stuffing the backside book for the other side into his pants. Some happy words to me, including “home”, which I regretted, wanting more “walk”. But I accepted that. If Alpha was happy, I was delighted: that’s a proper dog’s life.
At home, Alpha and female danced, even holding my front paws as I joined them standing only on my back legs, and they drank some sweetish stuff; they put some in a bowl for me and I tried it, but it jumped into my nose and burned my tongue, so I let them indulge. They laughed and sang and were silly and petted each other and finally mated. At last, they fell asleep on the couch.
Seizing my opportunity, I tried the bed upstairs for a possible surreptitious nap. Lo and behold: there was Alpha’s other-side-of-butt book! Since I hadn’t gotten in trouble for the first one, I reasoned that perhaps I could risk another small borrowing.
Despite the ugly, industrial smell of new ink – the book was thick with paper newly marked – there was the captivating essence of Alpha’s sweat, hands, wind and feces. I gently mouthed the book and brought it downstairs, dropped it onto my bed, licked the hands (they don’t like face licks when they are asleep) of Alpha and female, and, remembering exactly the right place, twirled twice and ended up with the book right under my nose. I soon trotted and loped into dreams of sunny days, stomach rubs, long walks, and Alpha’s petting me, saying “good dog,” which means he’s pleased with me.
I half woke up when I realized Alpha was petting me for real, saying “good dog.” He removed the book from under my nose and waved it at his female, saying something with my name. Then she came over and scratched behind my ears, also saying “good dog.”
A truly glorious day!