She paused for a second, then answered, "Huh? What?"
I frowned. She didn't get my joke, and now that I was going to have to explain it to her, it just wouldn't be as funny.
"Well, Dorothy Gale's dog ,Toto, bit the Wicked Witch, and your dog just bit grandmom, so . . ." I trailed off still hoping that she would perk up and maybe, I don't know, laugh.
The response that I got was, "Oh," and then silence.
Just oh. Not a giggle. Not a chortle, laugh, guffaw, or snicker. Just oh.
Clearly, this was not a good sign.
You see, my mom loves her dog. Not like the normal love that an owner has for his pet. My mom loves her dog like a person. In fact, she treats him as if he is a human being.
I am not exaggerating.
First, she frequently feeds her dog from the table. Not just a scrap here or a bit there, mind you. I have seen her (and my dad) cut a bite of steak for herself, and then, with the same fork, she has cut a bite for Cappy, her dog. I have a problem with this (on more than a few levels.) It is gross to think that the same dog that sniffs other dogs' butts and also noses around fragrant mounds left by other pooches along his walk, then eats from my mother's fork. Yuuuuuccckk! But, Cappy has also become quite the beggar and the thief. When we visit, he waits for one of my kids to drop his hand by his side, and then he jumps and nips to see if there is food. Fortunately, my kiddies have kept their food on their plate the last few visits, or who knows what might have happened?
Next, Cappy has not been trained. He actually has quite a pleasant personality, but, heaven forbid, if you decide to do something that doesn't agree with him, watch out! If you pick up one of his toys and he wanted to play with it, he will go after it and you. This is an incredibly difficult lesson to teach a 1 year old that believes that all toys are her toys. And apparently, it is also a difficult lesson to teach a feisty shih tzu that believes that all toys (even the baby's) are his. See the conflict here? More than once a visit, I have had to redirect Ellerie to a different toy because Cappy has overtaken the one that she was playing with at the time. I say that the dog should get the redirect. Mom and dad disagree.
More times than I can count, my anecdotes about my children and their lives have been followed with . . . a Cappy story. As in, "Cappy was so cute the other day when . . ." So my children, her grandchildren, get compared to a dog. The same goes for pictures. If I share a few of the recent kiddie pics, I am sure to be shown the latest in cute doggie poses. And I don't know about you, but I seriously think that the dog looks exactly the same in every picture. Same expression, same mug, but Mom swears that he is "ornery" or "happy" or "angry". I just don't see it. Instead, I see a little dog with a scrunched up face and an underbite, sort of like a hairy Popeye.
Yes, my mom has a doggie car seat for her car as well as a doggie carrier too. And, it is not the crate that you might imagine at first. Instead, this carrier is a front pack carrier similar to a Baby Bjorn for baby wearing, except it is for a dog. One summer when she visited, she took the dog to the local ice cream joint in the carrier, and then fed him some of her cone while he contently hung from his pack. (If you saw us there, thank you for not acknowledging us, because frankly, I would have had no words. It was a bit ridiculous.) If that is not enough, Cappy has specialty food (Although lord knows he probably grubs enough of people food on his own.), a special shampoo (Which my mom accidentally used once when she wasn't wearing her glasses. I wonder if it made her coat shiny?), and special hair detangler. After all, Cappy has allergies. Frequently, mom must give him a Benadryl just because he is scratching. (To which hubby says, "Don't dogs scratch? Isn't that a perk of being a dog?!?")
Then there is the fact that my mom forgoes her own hair styling appointments so that she can afford a dog grooming for Cappy.
That in itself is just soooooo wrong.
So obviously, Cappy is my most loved four legged sibling. That's why when Cappy bit my 84 year old cantankerous grandmom last week, my mom was torn. Even though I tried to make light of it, mom seriously was concerned that animal control would come to take Cappy away. That is why she couldn't eek out a laugh. She was thinking that she would have to choose between her cranky, wicked witch of the west mom, or her dog.
I have news for my grandmom. The dog would have won. Hands down.
If I were her, I'd watch for falling houses.