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Inevitable: Back to the Pack (of weirdos)

Two years ago, Chaos reigned supreme at our house. Today it's more like mild irritation and a feeling of succumbing to the Inevitable - whether that's the kids' addiction to inappropriate Cartoon Network programming, the personification of their love-hate relationship in the form of what I would call bi-polar play ("now you pretend to hit me" "okay" "OW! WHY did you do that?! MOM!! He hit me for NO reason!"), the feeling that we're always running late, or the fact that everything we own will at some point or another be damaged or broken by our kids. So, not so much chaos as simple and utter surrender to the forces at work. Oh, we tried to fight it off for a long time. Tried so hard, in fact, that we eliminated as many sources of the chaos as we legally could.

As it turns out, surrendering to it has enabled us to let one of those suspected sources right back into the fold: Truman. My mom fostered him for two years and was at her wits' end for the 47th time when I realized that 1.) the kids are two years older, 2.) Chaos no longer rules our house since we've given in to the Inevitable, and 3.) we're fat and need exercise as much as the high maintenance, formerly assumed to be epileptic, and possibly still schizophrenic dog does. Since his return, John and I have walked Truman daily and have slept with Cesar Millan's book on the bedside table, letting its calm, assertive, magical powers seep into the house and form peaceful dream bubbles over Truman's head while he lies perfectly still on the floor until the morning alarm goes off. We can hardly believe that each interaction with him is so quiet and brief: a look or a stance achieves what yelling never did, once his ridiculous energy level has been at least partially drained on a (very) brisk walk through the neighborhood.

The issue at hand now is the kids' desire to have a "normal" dog. Although we've accomplished what we suspected we could with the exercise and focus on calm discipline, Truman doesn't seem to know how to play. Bryce especially has been asking for a dog for over a year, and has been waiting for the chance to take his dog in the back yard and throw a frisbee or ball only to have the dog return it on Bryce's command. Now that I think about it, this is actually the type of interaction Bryce would KILL to have with any living creature. Obey my commands, minions. But despite the cooperation and peace Truman has shown, he apparently isn't the fetch "type," and only watches Bryce with curiosity as he repeats Truman's name, throws various brightly colored and insanely expensive rubber toys frantically about the yard with the most sincerely excited face and voice Truman could ever hope for, if dogs hoped for facial expressions or sincerity.

Tonight during my complaints about the pet toy industry's squeeze on America (why the high prices on doggie toys? WHY?) and Truman's obsession ONLY with rawhide bones, which will lead inevitably to his aggressive protection of said rawhide bones and also possibly digestive problems -- which I can do without from an 80-pound animal that is unable to defecate into a toilet -- John had the ingenious notion to put a rawhide nub left over from Truman's lively chew session last night inside one of the expensive rubber toys. We threw it across the yard and Truman bounded after it, but despite the fact that we know Truman is familiar with the phrase "bring it to me," he stood over it and pawed at it, sniffed at it, rolled it around with a mix of curiosity and frustration, but never picked it up in an effort to officially retrieve it. John and I thought we'd be really smart and "show" him how to fetch, because apparently we think the dog is a moron, but this only resulted in Truman following John back and forth between me and the spot in the yard where the trapped rawhide kept landing. Bryce, who was supposed to be in bed, peeked out the back door and asked what we were doing. "Teaching Truman how to get the ball," we said, like idiots. "Oh," said Bryce, in the overly mixed innocent/confident tone of voice he uses when he thinks we don't realize anything is odd about him being outside his bed, outside the house, an hour after his bedtime: "Can I help?" He joined us, in his underwear (now the pajamas of choice), jumping excitedly and saying, "get it Truman, get it!" while he twirled Noir's tattered, two-and-a-half-foot long tail through the air during the five remaining minutes it took for John and I to realize that if we were having to give the dog treats to chase after the bone he wanted, we were actually to the point where we were looking for Chaos.

We put an end to that RIGHT THEN, people. We are just fine with the Inevitable over here on the Fringe. Apparently the Inevitable now also includes quirky, peacefully stubborn dogs and mildly disappointed underwear-clad kids holding expensively obsolete rubber squeak toys.