I bought my female pug six months after I moved to Chelsea. I bought her from a breeder in the Midwest who actually looked like a pug herself. She came from a large litter and was quite rambunctious, often picking fights with her brothers and sisters. The breeder couldn’t rid of her fast enough.
“She’s a real troublemaker,” the breeder said at the time. Such a pain in the ass, in fact, that I even got her at a discounted rate if I agreed to take her sooner. I’ve never been one to turn my back on a good sale.
Three weeks later, I picked my new puppy up at the American Airlines cargo area of JFK. I was so excited to welcome her into my life. Unconditional love, a constant companion, I was absolutely certain that it was going to be bliss. As the two of us rode in the back of a yellow cab headed into the city, I took her out of her travel crate and held her against my chest.
“Welcome to New York baby girl. The most glamourous city in the world,” I said in between holding my breath from the stench of Curry and pine-scented air freshener courtesy of our taxi driver.
And then she peed on my shirt.
My first night with the puppy was hellacious. In fact, she didn’t want to sleep at all. I tried the alarm clock wrapped in a blanket trick. I tried covering her crate. But she continued to whine and howl. I brought her into bed with me and all she wanted to do was eat my hair. I couldn’t take it anymore, and at three o’clock in the morning I took her outside onto the sidewalk of Eighteenth Street. She was in heaven.
It was like a totally different dog. She hopped around playfully. She rolled on her back for strangers as they walked by. She didn’t bark once. She loved New York at night. I, on the hand, was ready to head straight back to JFK and bid her adieu. Fortunately for her, I brought her back upstairs, and took a Tylenol PM (this was before Ambien, thank you) and went to bed. Fortunately, it was the weekend and I didn’t have to work.
The next morning I woke up a bit groggy from the Tylenol and the puppy was out cold. Literally, I thought I’d rolled over and killed her in my sleep. She didn’t move. Then she farted. She was definitely alive and well.
I decided to let her sleep as I got ready to meet Christopher for some Saturday afternoon shopping. As I walked to the bathroom, I noticed my laundry bag on its side. As I went in for a closer look, I noticed my most expensive bras and panties were strewn about my floor. I looked at my couch and saw that the leg had been chewed, and my stack of old Vogue magazines were shredded. My studio apartment looked like a crack house.
Who in the hell did she think she was staying up all night, making a mess of things and sleeping all day? Me?
I finally woke her highness up and took her for a walk on Eighth Avenue. She wanted no part of it. Every time I moved, she put on the brakes. I think I literally dragged her for two blocks. However the minute any gay man stopped to say hi to her, she was the life of the party–jumping around, shaking her little butt, and giving kisses at will. The minute they would leave, I’d bend down to pet her. She’d sit on the sidewalk and stare–no kisses, no jumping, no nothin’. Even my own dog was indifferent towards me.
As we got closer to Twenty-third Street we were stopped by a lesbian couple. Same drill as before with the gay boys, constant flirting, if not more with the lesbians. I was beginning to get a complex.
By the time I reached Christopher, I was ready to stop at FedEx and send her back. She hated me. Of course, she LOVED him. I explained to him what had happened over the last twenty-four hours, hoping for some sort of sympathy. I got none.
“What did you expect? She’s a puppy for godssake.” He sniped.
“Some appreciation, maybe? I don’t know. Some love perhaps?” I said.
“What did you name her?” Christopher asked while holding her in his arms. She laid it on extra thick with him; nuzzled his neck, let out an adorable bark, and then would occasionally lick him if he focused too much on me. Attention whore.
“I don’t know. I’m thinking of naming her Bitch.” I said dead serious.
“You don’t have a name for her yet?” he asked horrified.
“No Queen, I don’t. I thought I’d see what fit her personality.”
He stared down at her wet nose and looked into her eyes. “Let’s see, she’s a Midwestern gal, she’s a night-owl that prefers to be out and about at 3AM, she has a private party in your apartment and you’re not invited, she likes to sleep all day, gay boys and lesbian women both seem to adore her, and she has no particular interest in straight people. Well, we could call her Farrah but that might be weird.”
“Cute,” I said.
Christopher paced back and forth and then suddenly it hit me.
“Madonna!” I shouted. “It’s perfect. It’s so her.”
Christopher grinned and then nodded in agreement. “Hello Madonna, I’m Christopher.”
“Give her to me. Give her over!” I said and reached for my little girl.
I grabbed her and raised her up to my chest again. “We’re going to rule this city, you and I, Madonna.”
Finally, I felt some sort of kinship to her. It would be the closet I’d ever be to Madonna. I gave her another little squeeze, and I could’ve swore I felt her lick my neck.
And then she peed on my shirt.