Life With A Bitch

How my dog stole my iPhone and gave me back my life

by Carole Olsen

Each morning, as my head rises off the pillow, I grab my lifeline, aka my iPhone. My eyes adjust to the screen: any new messages or calls?

After my bathroom routine, I head to the kitchen where my brewed coffee is awaiting me- courtesy of my phone app. I sip the steamy, hot liquid and scroll through my emails, Facebook, Instagram, Snap Chat, Twitter, and finally resort to Solitaire, where I am beating myself quite well.

But this morning I can’t find my phone. Where is it? I usually can’t sleep unless I know it is charging on my bed stand, a heartbeat away from me. Immediately I get down on all fours, wrenching my neck to see if it accidentally fell under the furniture. No, it’s not there. Panic overtakes me; I search the bed covers and inside pillowcases until my bed resembles Trump’s hair on a windy day. No, it’s not there, either.

Having done more exercises, looking for this phone than I ‘ve done all year, I head to the kitchen. Maybe I left it there overnight?

I feel like a neglectful mother who can’t locate her child. I look all around the room, scanning countertops, looking inside the microwave, refrigerator, and toaster. Tears start to form in the corner of my eyes? Can I report this to the police, or do I have to wait twenty-four hours before it’s legally missing? What do I have to do to get a picture of it on a milk carton?

Then I see my dog, Zoey lying in her bed, hiding something under her paws. I see my iPhone! I go to retrieve it, but she gnarls and growls. With her teeth in full view, she is telling me to back off. Needing all five fingers to text, I decide to give her a while to calm down. I make note to scrape the bumper sticker “Happiness is my Rescue” off of my car. She is not acting sticker worthy. I start the coffee maker after reading the manual on how the hell to use it. I look aimlessly out the window, not knowing what to do with myself.

The doorbell rings, and Zoey, with the phone muzzled in her mouth, runs to the door. I open it to find a massive box from Chewy.com.

Zoey paws open the box. Dog treats of every flavor and form come avalanching out of the box. The smell of beef-flavored rawhide permeates the room as she tears through wrappers to eat them.

The doorbell rings again. A package from Amazon Prime arrives this time.  Inside this huge box is a pink furry dog sofa–half the size of my living room couch. Zoey is nosing her old bed out the doggie door but still with a death grip on my phone. I would need the Jaws of Life to release it from her canine yapper.

Withdrawal starts to set in. I need that phone to make my hourly Amazon purchases. If I can’t push the “Buy It Now” option soon, my index finger may stiffen permanently. I keep wiggling the digit to be sure it remains operable until I can get hold of my phone from that damn dog.

I scan the kitchen for all my one-day delivery items that I couldn’t live without. I needed something to heat leftover takeout food so I purchased this top-of-the-line copper nonstick cookware. Chinese food in the microwave is appalling to me so this was a solution. The three blenders that line up on my counter were such good deals! I couldn’t just buy one. And then there’s the corkscrew opener with fifteen other attachments–it even has one to clean the lint from my navel, now that’s what I call innovation!

I start to get an anxiety attack, so I thought I’d take Zoey for a walk. She loves to sniff around the neighborhood. Maybe that will distract her enough to put down my phone.

I look for her leash; where did I leave it? I know it’s been a while since I’ve taken her for a walk. I finally find it under a pair of my mittens. It is August; I try to think back to our last stroll, not being able to recall it.

“Zoey, let’s go for a walk, girl!” Usually, she can hear me over a nuclear explosion, but she is busy barking at the phone as she lounges on her pink couch. I notice that she is having a Zoom meeting with other mini poodles barking at each other and panting.

“What the Hell? If that isn’t the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen.”

I think of my Zoom encounters: the singles group consisting of whiny women and negative men. My crocheting group that tats tissue box covers while talking about politics. And the course on how to make Lithuanian smoked meats that I signed up for, even though I went vegan last week. After evaluating the situations, probably barking at dogs is more meaningful.

I put the frayed leash away and wondered what I could do next. Without my phone, did I have a purpose in my life?

The phone siege went on for a week. Zoey was quicker at texting than I was, using all four paws to do so; the packages kept coming from Chewy and Amazon. She enjoyed the “Buy it Now” option, pouncing on the phone to watch her order go straight to the Amazon people-who were waiting on bated breath to fulfill her every desire.

During that time, I bought a cookbook at a Barnes and Noble store. It had excellent vegan recipes, and I used my cookware for the first time to try making these meals-that is, after I deciphered a frying pan from a saucepan. I had a yard sale selling all my impulse “Buy It Now” items which paid for Zoey’s purchasing addiction. After stabbing my belly button with the corkscrew and needing four stitches, I sent it back to Amazon with a no-star rating.

I wrote handwritten letters to my mother, letting her know that I still am alive and that I love her dearly. Tossing the crochet needles in the trash, I took up a new hobby- hiking. There are trees and birds out there-who knew?

Finally, one morning I see Zoey dash through her doggy door, the phone still secured in her mouth. I watch as she hurries to the back of the yard and starts to dig a hole. She drops my phone into the abyss and starts covering it over with dirt. Frantically, I run out the back door and begin to slide into home plate, trying to save my lifeline before it gets completely buried. Too late! She has covered it and peed on the spot already.

“What a spiteful little bitch!” I say, cleaning the dirt off my face. She runs into the house and comes out again, this time with her ragged leash in her mouth, looking at me with those pitiful eyes and wagging her powder puff tail.

Then, it happened. My Aha Moment! I realized that my priorities were all screwed up. I allowed an IOS to control my life. It took my little fur ball Zoey to show me what it was doing to me.

I left the phone where it was planted. I heard it ring for a while when I was playing with Zoey in the yard, but eventually, the batteries went dead- a long with my social media life.

I think I can live without seeing how many likes I get for a purple streak I put in my hair, and not hearing political opinions; they are like assholes, everyone has one, right? And if I miss a smiling picture of my friends online, I’ll just have to visit them to see the real thing.

Now in the morning, I get up, do some yoga, make my coffee, and read a book while I sip my cup of Joe. Then I head on out the door with Zoey. We hike down to the dog park. A cute dachshund named Julio has taken a liking to her; she wiggles her butt in front of him and they go off running and playing. Julio’s owner, Matt, is not too bad on the eyes either. We have long conversations about vegan cooking and our love of dogs. Speaking in person is much more enjoyable than over a 5.8 by 2.8-inch screen. Who knew?

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