Spot Macbeth

Dearest Rachel –

No, this does not refer to some Shakespearean take on Where’s Waldo, although the idea of Martin Handford drawing a crowd in the Globe Theatre into which the actor portraying the Scottish usurper is trying to blend while being pursued by Macduff and Malcolm makes for an interesting image. Considering Handford’s British heritage, it might be an interesting idea for him to work on.

But that’s not really what I have in mind. Rather, I find myself considering one of Macbeth’s castle dogs, presumably a terrier kept around for the sake of reducing the rat population throughout the castle. Yes, I know that the truly beloved dogs would be the ones used as part of the royal hunts, but that doesn’t mean that old Spot here wouldn’t have been necessary and appreciated. Nobody likes to find a rat in their bedding, after all, and Spot would have, at some point, been johnny-on-the-spot (see what I did there?) at making sure that Castle Macbeth would be that much closer to rat free.

The only thing is that, my dogs been set to do whatever it is that a dog will do, said dog will do what dogs will do. In between fouling the carpet, leaving prey behind in the most inappropriate places, and just smelling like dog, I can empathize with Lady Macbeth, when she would contemplate chucking the old ratter through the window and across the moat:

“Out, damned Spot!”

Okay, I understand that that was a very lame joke. The thing is, for months I’ve been dealing with this dog – who I am now forever going to think of as having descended from the laird of Scotland’s kennel – and I find myself washing my hands every bit as frequently as Lady Macbeth did, albeit for a much different reason. I don’t like the smell of wet dog – or of any dog, for that matter – it’s one of the reasons I objected to having a pet in the first place (that, and the fact that we had no room in the house for one to roam round in). I acquiesced when it came down to the fact that we either took Chompers in, or left him to the tender mercies of the pound. I may not be the most soft-hearted individual – certainly not compared to you – but I couldn’t say no to your request, given the circumstances.

And you did the lion’s share of the work when it came to taking care of him; be it the walks, the feeding, getting him to the groomer’s or the vet’s. Of course, you usually inveigled me into walking with you when I was home, but that was considerably less than half the time, and you were understanding when I would demur after a long day or in lousy weather.

You were always one to to give him affection – belly rubs when he would let you, snuggling him next to you on the couch, that sort of thing. Granted, he made it clear that he was no lapdog and you understood and (for the most part) accepted that. But within those limitations, you let him know that he was loved.

The best I can do for him is to let him know that he’s being cared for, although I’m not entirely sure that he would agree with that. These days, he’s leaving behind a little bit more in his food bowl, and he can barely keep from toppling over on his side – I think one of his front legs has pretty much given out at this point – and I wonder if he’d just as soon be with you.

In all honesty, I can’t blame him.

But he still eats and drinks, and while he’s as likely as not to poop in his sleep, he does make a concerted effort not to make water in the house (other than knocking his bowl over as he spins around, trying to get himself comfortable). So as I keep saying, I don’t think he’s ready to go yet.

And even though I long for the freedom that reducing this household down to just us two humans would mean, I’m not ready to let go of him either.

But that does mean I still need to keep stocking up on soap. There’s only so much of that smell I can bear to have on my hands.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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