The little drawing in the corner of this page and every page on “The Luigiian”‘s site, labeled “Sissy The Dog”, is my own. I drew it on Paint, and it is, essentially, my logo, based on my dog, whose name is (you guessed it) Sissy. Sissy is an unusual dog; not as unusual as the picture suggests, but she is quite unusual. There are two types of dogs: One is the stupid type, which runs into doors and doesn’t quite get the concept of slippery floors. The other type is the neurotic dog, which suffers from an inability to get around brooms and sticks and such because it thinks that the objects are going to swoop down and kill it. Sissy, of course, is very much the second type.
She is the only dog I know who actually got her name from her condition. I once knew a dog named “Lucky”, and its owners claimed that it got that name because it was “lucky to have them”. That dog hasn’t been seen in ten years, and the last time anybody saw it was as its owners trucked it out to the badlands surrounding Rio Rancho, whose primary landmarks are shot-up 1970s Buicks and a massive landfill where Rio Ranchoans take the bodies of “Corralenos” (people from the village of Corrales in New Mexico, yes they actually call themselves that word) who they inevitably shoot (because they are all from New York, and all New Yorkers are violent, dangerous criminals from the Mafia, versus people from Corrales who are delusional yuppies). Back to the topic: Sissy got her name because when it snows outside, even if she desperately needs to go to the bathroom, she will not go, because it would get her feet cold. If it’s raining, she’ll run out there and run back into the house soaking wet and get everything around her coated with that stinky kind of musty smell a dog gets when it hasn’t been bathed in six months and just ran out in the rain. And if it’s hot outside, she’ll spend the entire day sleeping under a 1970s Buick we have (which doesn’t actually run anymore) in our backyard. Someday, when Sissy goes to the Big Place In The Sky, we will take this car out to the other 1970s Buicks in the desert, where it will promptly be shot up with a Uzi owned by a man who wants to get ready for the alien invasion he has seen deep within his head.
But Sissy is not afraid of food. She goes outside every fifteen minutes, ostensibly to go to the bathroom; but, whenever she comes back inside, we (my grandmother and I) have been instructed to give her a treat by my mother, and if we don’t Sissy gives us this look, because she knows we’re not doing something we’re supposed to, and faster than you can say “human slave”, I am reaching into the pantry for a dog bone, which I stick in her mouth, and which she runs off with at full gallop. Perhaps you think a dog cannot gallop like a horse; you have obviously never given Sissy her treats.
I get irritated with this, because Sissy (a Cardigan Welsh Corgi mix) is notoriously fat, which my mother treats as a joke, but which I get nervous about, since she is larger than most other dogs, and can scare off Labrador Retrievers. But I didn’t really understand the seriousness of the situation until yesterday. I don’t usually make my burgers, because my mother usually gets them for everybody, and so I think, “Well hey, you know what? If she wants to do it, that’s fine by me, I’ll let her.” Yesterday I did make my own hamburger for once, and as I put the burger together (this one was a truly great hamburger, not Boca Burgers like I’d had the day before, which are decent but just don’t have that burgerness that pure dead cow can give), there was Sissy. She had her butt planted firmly on the ground, looking up at me the way a fox looks at a rabbit when it hasn’t eaten in three days. She had her tongue out, panting, with a huge smile on her face, her eyes looking right at me, her teeth bared, and I realized that if I let even the slightest morsel of food–a bit of onion, or a crumb of bread–fall to my feet, she would probably bite my toes off in her haste to lunge for this food. Behind her would be a long trail of smoke, and as she hit the brakes, her paws would make skid marks across our kitchen’s tile floor.
I should mention at this point that Sissy is pushing fifteen years old.
And so, as I went outside to be with my mother who was watching America’s Funniest Home Videos and drinking her Keystone in the last light of the day, and as she was commenting on how cute Sissy is and how good of a mother she must have been before we got her, I was thinking of that scene and of the kind of dog I had. For I had not a dog, but a wolf, a mother-she-wolf whose life was devoted to the thrill of the hunt, of pouncing on that sliver of venison or bite of cooked ground beef, of sniffing the air for that wounded animal or slow human carrying pork chops. And I came to the conclusion that the wolf of the forest and my wolf of the city shared one other commonality: They probably both ate their young.