In the doghouse | AspenTimes.com
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In the doghouse

Alison Berkley

My dog hates me right now.He must be part Jewish because he certainly is masterful at the whole guilt-trip thing, which, if done the way my grandmother taught me, requires a skillful combination of love and spite.First of all, Sebastian won’t speak to me, an action he makes abundantly clear by turning up his snout and looking away whenever I address him like he’s some sort of pedigree. He’s also on a hunger strike, refusing to eat the food I set out for him and then begging from strangers on the street or desperately contorting his body to get that one crumb someone dropped under their seat like he’s starving to death and it’s really all my fault.No matter what I do, or how hard I beg (two can play that game), or how many times I sing the “Sebastian is the Best” song, he just won’t forgive me.I’m not sure if he’s pissed off because I went away, or if he’s mad because I came back. After all, I took him away from Doggie Heaven, a.k.a. my parent’s house (to think he’d choose Steamboat over Aspen – has this dog no taste?) and may never be forgiven.They watched him while I was gone for the past two weeks, being the only ones who truly love him despite his various doggie faults (panic disorder and bipolar personality).My parents are retired shrinks turned psycho athletes who took all that blind ambition and competitive drive from their careers and channeled it into recreating. Let’s just say they approach fitness and outdoor sports with the same compulsive determination one might need to ascend the corporate ladder or attend an Ivy League school.”I did 27 runs today without falling,” my dad will proclaim after a casual day of snowboarding. In the summer it’s, “I rode my mountain bike down that waterfall without going over the handlebars this time,” or “Mommy and I did a little 60-mile bike ride today up to the top of Rabbit Ears Pass in under two hours,” and so on.That means they can entertain Sebastian all the livelong day with multiple hikes and bike rides and what have you. He even got to hang out with the Over The Hill Gang, a crew of Steamboat retirees who exercise their right to do nothing but – well, exercise – now that they quit working and don’t have anything better do. My mom calls them “The Old People” as if they are seniors and she is still a freshman. I get the feeling that even though she is part of them, she does not by any means consider herself to be one of them.Of course almost all OTHG members have at least one dog. They really love their dogs because, unlike their kids, the dogs are obedient, loving, loyal, and never got busted with drugs or failed out of school. So there’s always a gang of dogs for Bastie to pal around with during the Old Fart Group hikes and bike rides. Even if he is the alpha dog from hell who must establish his dominance by charging and/or pouncing on all the other dogs, I’m sure he had a blast. In Aspen, there’s no one for him to be dominant over except for me.Sebastian also developed a “thing” for my parent’s dog Sabrina. It was love at first bite – she needed four stitches and had to have her paw wrapped for 10 days. “Sabrina got her paw stuck on Sebastian’s tooth,” was the way my mom explained it. (If that’s the way she sees it, it’s fine by me.) I guess Sabrina forgave him and the two became inseparable while I was away, doing everything in tandem, from eating and barking to peeing and sleeping – we’re talking serious puppy love.I guess I can understand why he has hardly spoken to me other than, “Please take me back to Steamboat, mom. You suck. I like it at grandma’s better.”I tried to tell him that I would have much rather stayed home instead of driving all the way to Steamboat to drop his ass off, then down to Denver so I could fly to Boston for three days and then go all the way to L.A. for the Wedding Tour from hell.I would have been much happier taking him for long runs on the Rio Grande or up the Ute than walking like 10 miles in my platform flip-flops up and down the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica spending money on useless things you can’t get in Aspen like Miracle Bras and Guess jeans and makeup from Sephora.I would rather lie around at home and watch “Six Feet Under” reruns on HBO than drink the 500 beers it takes for me to catch a buzz at sea level (To think I drank all those bloody calories for nothing!).I most definitely would have been happier getting dragged down Main Street by Sebastian on his dreaded leash (all the while screaming “Heel! Heel! I SAID HEEL, GODDAMNIT!”) than trying to pacify a barking, snarling Bridezilla (all the while screaming, “Down! Sit! Take another Xanax!”)I explained to him that even if he doesn’t always get what he wants, dogs are very lucky because chances are he will never have to be a bridesmaid.Wedding, shmedding. I would way rather be in Aspen living the dog’s life.The Princess would love to hear from anyone who’s still single out there at alison@berkleymedia.


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