There’s something about being in the doghouse that makes you feel like a dog.
I’ve been in and out of different doghouses for years. I don’t know what it is about me. I seem to wind my owners up by accident and get the long point outside just as the rain starts. I’ve been tied up to the odd goalpost over the years, finally just being too much work and effort for someone and they just get rid of me. But they always kick me outside a few times before it happens. Send me out into the cold to have a think about why I’m there. Tell me I need to learn a thing or two as I’m on my way out the door. And then the next time I need to learn another thing or two. And then it’s the goalpost again. And then another owner, another doghouse, another thing or two, another goalpost. You deal with the doghouses, and you deal with the goalposts, in the hope that one day they’ll stop being tied to you.
But it’s shit when you’re in there. You’re in the dark. You’re in the cold. The feeling that you’re exactly where you belong sinks in slowly, and that feeling that you don’t belong back inside that house again rises to the surface. Every now and again they’ll look out the window at you with loving eyes in a shaking head. You both know it’ll pass, but you still go through those motions. All alone, in the doghouse.
But at first you’re all quick to get out there, feeling like you need that space. You bark once or twice. But that tail quickly stops its wagging and you soon realize it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. You realize how cold it is out there and you come crawling back to the front door. Whining.
“I’m sorry baby. I didn’t mean to say what I said. I love you.”
All that stuff. And it’s all true. But it doesn’t half sound pathetic at the time. Like you’re singing the same song you heard every other dog in the neighborhood sing when they were where you are. You listen to it night after night from your warm bed, sympathizing with the poor old boy, knowing exactly where he’s at. But eventually he stops singing and he’s back inside. But when you’re staring at that back door you sing that same old song too. Thinking exactly what that poor old dog thought: she’ll either identify with the words, or just get sick of hearing them.
But you never get back in with just one song.
So you head back into the doghouse with your tail between your legs. You think about barking a bit. Keeping her up all night with the same shit that got you out there in the first place. Let her know that you don’t care. That you’re just fine out in your doghouse. But you don’t, cause you know where that shit’ll get you. So you lay down and decide to wait it out till the morning, see if you’ll feel like barking or whining, or just waiting it out.
But you can’t sleep. You can’t get comfortable on the dirt. You roll from side to side, feeling dirtier and more uncomfortable. You’re too tired to sleep and too hungry to eat. And that’s when your mood starts to change. You really start to feel like a burden to the poor old girl. Like you’re the root of all the problems. You never remember the good times. You think that you’re the one who brought that anger she probably didn’t have before. You pissed here, shat there, ate this, scratched that. You got on her wick one too many times and here you are. Back in the doghouse. In that old familiar place you hate so much but keep coming back to. You tell yourself that you’ll be back at that goalpost, tied up and whining before you feel that warmth of her house again. You whimper your old ass to sleep that night, wishing she was scratching your belly and rubbing your back, giving you all that attention you need to stop feeling like a stray.
Waking up in the morning is always the bitch. You feel like shit. You regret what you did. You’re tired. You’re hungry. You’re a mess. You want to go back to that back door and sing some more. But you stop yourself. You think, “No. My last owner didn’t like my singing voice much. This one probably won’t either.” So instead you mull around the garden, acting like it’s business as usual, waiting for her to come to the window and show that she remembers you’re out there. Saving your song for when she needs some music. She comes to the window at some point, mulling around herself, pretending it’s business as usual as well. Neither of you want to be doing what you’re doing. But you do the dance anyway.
I’ve been a bastard in the past. I’ve gone and sniffed at the neighbor’s gate, looking for some attention from them. I’m there all tail wagging and bouncing, eating from the neighbor’s hand, hoping that she’s at the window watching me, getting jealous. The one time I did that she was watching me. And sure enough, I was out at the goalpost before I could start singing my song of sorrow.
But if you bide your time and don’t dig up her plants, in the end she opens that backdoor. You come rushing back, jumping into her arms. She tries to stay angry, but she’s happy to have you back. For the next little while you wag your tail a bit, eat what you’re supposed to eat and try your best not shit on the doorstep. You’re both happy to see one another and everything’s better than normal. And then slowly it goes back to normal. And, if you’ve learnt a thing or two, it stays normal. If you haven’t, then it’s back outside again to think about it all some more. But you only get so many visits to the doghouse before it becomes reserved for another poor old dog, and then you go and take his place out in cold, tied to that post and singing your song, hoping it’ll fall on someone else’s ears.
I’m in the doghouse right now. I’m not happy here, but I’ve learned to deal with it. Sure it’s cold at night, but it’s not so bad during the day. She checks on me every now and again from the kitchen window. I can see those Mona Lisa lips under her thawing eyes. I stop whatever I’m doing and look back at her. I give her my soft eyes and save my song. I don’t want to sing it and she doesn’t want to hear it. When she moves from the window I go back to what I was doing. Just behaving myself quietly until she feels I’ve learned that thing or two.
This time I’m staying out here without complaint. I’m staying in the doghouse and waiting it out. I’m giving her the peace and quiet she needs. I know I’ll be back inside again. Back on her lap, snuggling into her, keeping her warm and being a good dog again. I know I’ll have to be. I reckon that I’ve only got a night or two more out here before I’m out for good, tied up in the rain and wishing I at least had a doghouse for cover.