When I got home from work (even later than usual, around 7:30 p.m.) tonight, Rocco was waiting for me with a mixed drink in hand and a terrified look on his face.
He wanted to know if I’d been home before just then. The answer was, predictably, no; one does not drive 30 miles home in the middle of the day from a job that requires one to be on site for, like, a gozillion consecutive hours.
And then Rocco’s face sort of crumbled.
I have two wonderful-but-very-demanding cats — Nigel and Quentin — neither of whom much match the stereotype of the independent, aloof feline; in fact, the pair sort of typify the term “pussies.” And because Rocco has many allergies — cat allergy being one of his worst — Nigel and Quentin are always shut away in my bedroom. (This is not horrible. My bedroom/bathroom/closets are sort of embarrassingly big; the entire square footage is probably 3/4 the size of the breadbox.)
We also have two dogs in the house. It’s worth knowing that I would never, ever, ever describe myself as a dog lover. Horrible as it may sound, it’s true; I can’t stand being licked or yapped or sniffed at inappropriately.
But it’s even more true that I’m sortofkindofreally afraid of dogs. We never had dogs when I was growing up, and I wasn’t otherwise around them very often. And I’m pretty sure that being within a couple of feet of a cousin and a sister who were both bitten by dogs when I was very young didn’t help. So mostly I’ve just learned to tolerate dogs when I must do so, and otherwise avoid them.
But, anyway: two dogs. Kelly, a Doberman Pinscher, is Rocco’s dog. He got her when he was part of the Kansas City Doberman Rescue. Rocco fostered the dog before he became so attached to Kelly that he adopted her.
It should come as no surprise that I was initially terrified of Kelly: the lean body, pert ears and long muzzle — I could envision nothing beyond every campy action-adventure movie I’d ever seen in which vicious Dobermans guarding the antagonist’s lair were distracted by huge hunks of prime rib. But Kelly is a well-behaved, almost docile dog who exhibits none of the aforementioned doggy don’ts, and I’ve grown quite attached to her.
And then there’s Lou. Lou is a boxer with a tiger-stripe pattern who sort of….. came with the house. Lou is one of the few dogs with whom I’ve ever interacted who has never caused me one moment of anxiety. She’s very gentle and unassuming, and I’m always yearning to hug and otherwise comfort Lou because her expressions and body language are so very familiar and human-like.
Kelly and Lou like to think they have the run of the house. Kelly is free to roam most everywhere, as is Lou — to an extent. Lou kind of has an obsession with polyfiber fill, and we’ve lost one too many pillows to leave her alone with anything resembling fake cotton; as a result, she is kept in a separate room when there’s not an “adult” in the house. According to Rocco, Kelly has a similar issue with squeaky chew toys, so those are forbidden except for special occasions.
And, apropos of nothing, Rocco has mentioned in passing that Kelly tends to think of cats as “playthings.”
Rocco and I are both pretty adamant that my bedroom door remain shut at all times.
Rocco’s expression was enough to crack me up. It was clear he felt terribly guilty about something. Emmy-worthy theatrics, preemptive groveling, and genuine sheepishness followed as he spilled the story.
It appears that Rocco entered my room for something, and then inadvertently failed to pull my bedroom door to all the way on exit. He then left the house, securing Lou away but leaving Kelly (as is normal) to roam free.
At some point, Kelly nosed her way into my bedroom via the cracked door, and havoc apparently ensued. When Rocco got home, he found what he initially described as a crime scene.
Rocco smelled the fresh excrement as soon as he walked in the door. And then he saw the physical evidence: patches of carpet were now missing; the most recent EW and TV Guide issues stashed under my nightstand were shredded; couch cushions were strewn about the room; tufts of animal fur wafted through the air as the ceiling fan slowly turned.
Blood covered everything: my bed linens, carpet, night stand. The chair was stained a completely different color. One wall was splattered half-way up in a crimson bath.
And, of course, the requisite pile of shit was right in the middle of the room, exactly as you’d expect it to be.
Rocco found Kelly, all bloodied and broken, burrowed into her bed. Her nose was pretty much shredded, and she was still bleeding rather a lot.
Nigel and Quentin were later found hiding in my room, tense and slightly more skittish — but also injury-free.