Brother Dan and I were IM-ing and somehow Micky the Dog came up.
We had been in the house at 10194 Romana Drive for less than a year when, one weekend afternoon, Joan and Bill came in from wherever they had been and announced they had something for us.
It was a dog.
I was completely surprised; I for one had not been lobbying for a dog. I knew they were trouble. They got run over by cars and broke your heart. And then you had to feel guilty too for their having been run over. And they meant work.
I didn’t like the look of this dog. The runty little thing was technically, as it turned out, part Rat Terrier and part Chihuahua. It had short brown hair and a disproportionately large male organ; it yipped and furthermore its long black nails went clickity-click on the hardwood floor. Clickity-click whenever it moved.
Also it was over a year old and already had a name: “Micky.” I did not warm to that dog. Being almost 12, I was rarely called anymore “Nicky.” Still it happened. The “Nicky” “Micky” thing, resting on the difference of one mere letter, annoyed me. Personally, were I a mother and a father getting a dog for a family that had a Nick in it would not get a dog named Mick. If it came to that a dog named Rick would have been better.
Frankly had I been a mother and a father getting a dog for a family of human boys I would have made sure to get a dog whose name did not approximate in any way, shape, or form the name of one of the human boys in the family. I am of the opinion, in fact, that dogs should never be given human names. They should be given traditional dog names like “Spike” or “Hector.”
I doubt Joan or Bill gave it a thought. The dog was what they wanted. First of all it was free, having come from the pound. Apparently, given all the yipping, it was in good health. Also they wanted a small dog because Micky the Dog was to be a “house dog” and not an outside dog of the type to which I had become previously accustomed.
Though perhaps at some largely unconscious level Joan liked the idea of Micky the Dog and Nicky the Boy as a way of promoting sibling rivalry. Certainly at times it did feel like that, with Micky the Dog coming out the winner. Though to my credit, whatever else his shortcomings, I never held any of this against Micky the Dog.