Monday, December 8, 2008


Maqz, the chihuahua who resembles a black hole in dog form, remains with us despite Sean's return from New York (my mistake: it wasn't a gig, as I'd said earlier-- he was attending another friend's wedding). I admit I'm ambivalent about the dog, who is, as Sean affirmed this evening, an "attention whore." The subject arose when I complained to Sean that Maqz had chewed up one of the brush pens I had bought. "Oh, he does that when he thinks he's not getting enough attention," Sean said.

Mom and Dad positively shower Maqz with attention, and I'm convinced the dog is spoiled. I'm no dog beater, but I do think I'm a better and more consistent disciplinarian than the parents have been. To be fair, the dog belongs to Sean, so it isn't really the parents' job to make the rules, but at the same time, if Maqz is going to be spending significant amounts of time at the parents' place, they probably ought to be setting some boundaries, especially in the area of food. I set such boundaries when I'm prepping food: Maqz knows not to come anywhere near my work station while I'm there.

Maqz seems to be obsessed with anything that smells like me. If I toss my coat on the floor (thanks, Mike, for giving it to me; it has served me well), Maqz trots onto it, turns a few circles, then settles down. My shoes have become his playthings, too: he'll deliberately carry one away. If I've been sitting on one of the couches for a while and then get up, Maqz moves into my spot. What Sean said about Maqz makes sense: the dog craves attention.

But if you ask Maqz to come over to you, he trots off in the other direction. He's more cat than dog, in my opinion, arrogant and self-regarding, wanting you to come to him and not vice versa. His only doglike trait isn't a positive one: he begs. When it's dinnertime and we're sitting at our low, makeshift table in front of the TV downstairs, Maqz is there, head poking out from under Mom's armpit, staring fixedly at the food in front of her.

The dog is a thief, too, but that's not uniquely a canine problem. Cats can be just as bad on this score, if you let your guard down. Sean says Maqz steals things, then allows himself to be caught stealing, because he's trying to engage you in a fun chase. This is probably the correct interpretation of Maqz's behavior, but the thievery can become annoying, especially if the end result is Maqz running away instead of sitting in your lap or flopping onto your chest when you're lying on your back.

It's easy to anthropomorphize Maqz, to see him as a pen-gnawing nebbish of small stature who whines a lot, is too smart for his own good, is selfish, is disrespectful of boundaries, and has no sense of loyalty that isn't food-based. He's not a particularly affectionate dog, not in the sense I'm accustomed to. And he definitely needs a stint in obedience school. When it comes to dogs, I suppose I prefer ones that aren't so sophisticated in how they deal with people. Come to think of it, that's how I prefer people to be, too: they can be as sophisticated as they want in their everyday dealings, but when it comes to friendships, those based on simple-hearted loyalty and warmth are more fulfilling than "friendships" based on mind games, selfishness, and subtlety for subtlety's sake.


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