The Invasion

by jkatejohnston

5 October 2018

Dear Max,

It’s a bit after six. I’ve been awake since 3:45 after getting up four times during the night. This is probably the first time I’ve mentioned our black lab-mix puppy of uncertain age and origin. I’m not super well-disposed toward him right now. When he sleeps through the night, we can discuss how cute he is. In the meantime, Teresa and I are both half-dead from fatigue, even though we’re switching off nights with him.

His name is D-Day.


10 October 2018

Dear Max,

On Monday night D-Day only got me up one time and then slept in past five. Good boy!

We’ve had him a month now. He comes. He sits. He downs. He weighs 9.06 pounds, up from 3.4 when we got him, so there’s genius for you.

He’s dying to play with Colin, follows him around, play-bows and flirts. Colin mostly just looks oppressed, but sometimes he’ll tell D-Day what-for with a quick emphatic bark. I find it pretty convincing, but D-Day is undeterred. And several times Colin has almost started to play but then remembered his dignity just in time and turned away.

Teresa has offered Colin five-hundred-million dollars to play with him.


13 October 2018

Dear Max,

The only thing wrong with D-Day is he doesn’t watch TV. And you have to keep an eye on him every second to head off in-door peeing incidents. On the upside, he naps a lot. He’s asleep beside me on the couch right now, the first of his morning snoozes. It’s 6:30.

Teresa read somewhere that black dogs are much less likely to get adopted from shelters than their paler peers. D-Day is brown/black with a fetching white highlight on his chest and a white soul patch on his chin. The idea that his coloring is less desirable makes me pretty indignant. Is it racism, superstition or both? And are racists really that dumb? Have they somehow failed to notice–it’s a dog? 

Besides, D-Day’s hair doesn’t show up on my clothes nearly as much as Colin’s endless blond shedding.


14 October 2018

Dear Max,

One good thing about D-Day is how much he pulls us into the backyard, which is mostly bare hard-packed dirt, but pleasant enough in this long warm beautiful fall. And we do have one little green corner that Teresa calls The Park. It’s a patch of thick grass (all right, sue me, it’s sod) and there’s a small, misshapen Fig tree and a Lemon tree. Right next to it is the empty raised garden bed, which Teresa calls The Annex. Colin digs there, and D-Day gets into the act, sometimes positioning himself right behind Colin so that he gets liberally showered with fresh dirt, which matches his coat nicely. Over the weekend, we improved The Annex by covering half of it with sod and adding fresh dirt to the digging area. Teresa carefully evened out the dirt, which wasn’t even meant to last, but it looked nice while it did.

Enzo still swings in his wide twirling arcs from a single ring hanging from a high branch of the big Pomelo tree. He and Teresa do a trick where he holds the ring with one hand, and swings in an arc, and Teresa throws him a football, which he catches surprisingly often.


15 October 2018

Dear Max,

D-Day learns the world by chewing on it. Chewing is his thinking. And the only way to avoid his razor-toothed help when putting on your shoes is to lie on your back, put your feet in the air and work up. Then he worries you about the face.

Teresa ordered us all these little treat holsters to be worn in self-defense. When he bites your ankles, you’re supposed to yelp convincingly in protest, then redirect him by instructing him to Sit! and when he does, he gets a tiny crumb of treat out of your handy holster and a Good Boy!

It seems like a pretty time-consuming way to move about the house. And isn’t he going to figure out that the way to get a treat is to bite your ankles and then go through the Sit! Good Boy! charade? Or maybe his ability to put together a chain of cause and effect is not that sophisticated. He does have a pretty short attention span.