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Home / Articles / Santa Fe Guides / Love & Sex /  Love & Sex 2005: Doggie Style

Love & Sex 2005: Doggie Style

February 9, 2005, 12:00 am
By
***image1***Canine lessons in love.


My marriage is a threesome. It's a tangled web of emotions, bodies, sweat, mud and a whole lot of eager licking. Before you beg a dinner invitation or set up a video camera outside my window, let me clarify that the third leg of my marriage is a dog named Boris.

It's the kind of thing you do when you believe your partner is starting to get baby eyes. You know, collecting photographs of friends' children, knitting booties and researching the relative merits of infant sun screens? Well, if you're a proactive, action-oriented type of man, and I think I am, you either start looking into the suspension capabilities and handling qualities of the latest strollers, or you toss out some countermeasures, some distractions. You say, "Let's get a puppy."

Our dog, just my luck, is no ordinary hound. He's a guru, a love guru. He's like "Tao of Love" columnist Duncan North only more subtle, more cuddly and he has a smooth, hair-covered flap where his testicles used to be. And that's how it started, normally enough, with the animal shelter fixing the poor young pup and making sure that we were prepared to handle him. They must have known something we didn't even back then. "This dog will need a lot of attention, this dog needs an active family," they said. "Are you an active family?" They were no doubt picturing long-range Nordic ski treks and frequent weekends of extreme climbing and tandem doggie hang-gliding. "Yes," we nodded enthusiastically, picturing occasional walks up the street for breakfast burritos and double lattes. "Are you sure you're ready for a dog like this?" they asked with a final warning. "Stupid shelter volunteers," I thought, "give us our hound. Everything will be fine."

And we tried to make it so. We tried to live with him as a dog at first…a domesticated pet who sleeps on the floor and eats from a bowl, sits when told and comes when called. But that was hopeless. Boris quickly asserted himself as an equal. He toppled our pathetic attempts to tame him, he mocked our assertion that he do as we ask. The first wicked turn came when I was out of town for a week. Every night or two I would call home and check in, ask how things were going. And each time Sylvie would tell me they were fine, everything was wonderful. Yet when I left he was on his thin blanket in the corner of the room and when I came back, he was in my spot. In fact he sleeps a lot like me, taking up as much room as possible, head on the pillow, limbs akimbo across the remainder of the bed. Now we just deal, the three of us forming a contortionist's puzzle of thighs, snouts, paws and rumps each night. He is too big, too powerful to remove. But we don't want to move him. His stubborn presence has forced Sylvie and me into increasingly intimate snuggling positions. I now understand that he needs to assert himself as a peer in order to gain our respect and fulfill his true role in our lives as a furry love sensei.

First, he provides us with space when we are in public. Despite the fact that he's a complete pushover, the sort of dog who'd sooner sniff your crotch than growl, who'd sooner hump your leg silly than bite you, he, apparently, terrifies people. His oddly angular musculature and low howl/growl in anticipation of meeting a new friend (possibly to hump) encourages people to cross the street in order to avoid us. Thus walks with Boris become long, private, romantic affairs where we can be alone in the middle of the city. Second-and this is where it has truly become plain that the marriage involves not just Sylvie and myself but all three of us-Boris is intensely emotional and sensitive and he has a distinct "why can't we all just get along" agenda. If we so much as raise our voices to each other, Boris affects a look of despair, begins to tremble with fear and dismay and races wildly back and forth between the two of us, nuzzling us in turn and asking, with sad dog eyes, "Is this really how you want to talk to someone you love?" Inevitably we relent and embrace in a three-way hug. It's unfortunate to have to look your dog in the eye and admit his wisdom is infinitely greater than your own but, it turns out, if I do, he'll lick my feet until I fall asleep.

Finally, I've come to believe Boris has much more to show us. I've even come to feel that when, early in the morning, he gnaws on my arm with his gentle bird-dog mouth that he's suggesting, not that he was watching, that I might develop a fuller range of sensitivity in my own mouth. This kind of bite, he seems to indicate by example, would arouse rather than hurt a lover's nipple.

Soon after he chews me into alertness each morning, Boris hops off the bed and runs to the kitchen where he patiently awaits my arrival. He's trained us to give him a special treat each morning; a bit of dried cow face or compressed bull matter or a coil of pig lip or something equally delightful. It's taken us a long time, but I think we're finally realizing that what Boris is trying to say is that we should remember to do the same for each other. Maybe tomorrow I'll give him two treats.

 

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