Dirty Harry Goes To Grandma’s

Dirty Harry Goes To Grandma’s

Peter McKay Tue Sep 25, 3:00 AM ET

Creators Syndicate – We’ve had our dog for about three years now. On a whim, one winter day we stopped by the animal shelter and found a shivering, diseased little Westie looking like he’d been dragged through a sewer, half of his hair missing from some strange skin disease. Before we knew what we were doing, we had signed adoption papers and were preparing to bring him home.
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I’ve spent most of the time since complaining about Harry. He smells terrible and for so many reasons I can’t even keep track. He gets chronic ear infections, and his skin problem, which makes his hair fall out and his skin turn scaly and black, comes back regularly. Both conditions produce a sort of sweet but sour stench that curls your toes. I know that zombies aren’t real, but if they were, I know exactly what they’d smell like.

And because of his multiple problems (he’s allergic to any foods that could be considered inexpensive or convenient), he has to eat only dog food made with dried salmon. It makes his breath smell like, well, dried salmon biscuits. (If you don’t know what that smells like, consider yourself lucky.) Also, because of his strange diet, Harry has gas. Often.

You don’t have to see Harry to know he’s in the room. At night sometimes, we’ll be in bed and suddenly smell rotted skin, dried salmon and, of course, gas, and my wife will just call out in the dark, “Hi, Harry!”

I’ve urged my wife, only half jokingly, that we ought to return Harry to the pound, put an ad in the paper or maybe buy him a one-way ticket to Arizona, where people with allergies go — anything so we don’t have to deal with the stench. For a couple of years now, I’ve been trying to pawn him off on my in-laws, who live around the corner. They don’t have a dog right now, but are the type of people who just love small, pathetic animals (aka: suckers).

About a month ago, we went away for a week to Florida and left Harry with my in-laws. At the end of the week, we went to pick him up and found him sitting, warily, in my father-in-law’s lap. I thought he’d be glad to see me, but he just gave me the Harry eyeball. He refused to get off my father-in-law’s lap, and he came home with us only very reluctantly.

In the weeks since, he’s thought of nothing but getting back to Grandma’s house. Every time we let him out to pee, every time we even turn our backs for a moment, he slips away. We can almost feel him watching us, waiting for us to look away so he can tiptoe toward the back hedge and make a run for it. Then, a few minutes later, we get a call from my mother-in-law saying he’s at her back door barking to be let in. The pattern has repeated, ad nauseam.

I can probably guess the reason. For years, our kids have been sneaking off to Grandma’s for snacks and treats. It’s rare for them to come back from their house without a Popsicle, cookie or piece of pie. And Harry’s no different. I suspect but cannot prove that he’s getting all kinds of stuff down there he’d never be allowed at home. One time we went down there and caught him finishing off a bowl of Jell-O, a guilty look on his face.

I find myself watching him, keeping an eye out for that restless look, calling his name if he gets out of sight. When he does come home, I smell his breath, angrily questioning him about where he’s been. Somehow I have become, of all things, Harry’s jealous wife.

The really bothersome part about all this is that while I’ve been arguing for years that we should break up with Harry, I wanted to be the one to do it. I wanted to be the dumper, but now suddenly find myself the dumpee.

The other day, we went down to my in-laws to collect Harry once again, and I offered to my father-in-law that he could just keep the little jerk.

“Sure!” he said. “We’d be happy to keep him. Just as soon as you can get him to stop stinking!”

To find out more about Peter McKay, please visit www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2007 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

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