It's because every evening as the four of us sit down at the dining room table to eat dinner, he develops an urge to sprawl on the floor with one leg pointed gracefully at the ceiling like the world's hairiest ballerina and lovingly slurp away at his, er-....male appendage, devoting as much care and avid attention to this activity as mothers do when giving their little babies a bath.
Last night, I had a particularly succulent meal, I thought: Roast beef, potatoes, carrots and homemade biscuits. It was a lovely warm meal for a cold and rainy evening and as we sat down with the candles in the autumn centerpiece gleaming, I gave everyone my customary dirty look until they all unfolded their napkins and placed them in their laps and we crossed ourselves and said the blessing. Hershey came shambling into the room, yawning and obviously hoping that the entire roast would somehow fall off the platter and into his mouth.
He picked my husband as the Person Most Likely to Drop Food and settled himself down comfortably, waiting for whatever tidbit came his way. To pass the time, he lifted his leg and began going SLUUUUUUURRRP sluuuuuuuuurrrp SLUUUUUURRRRRRP, punctuating the slurps with little snuffles and snorts of pleasure.
My husband cast Hershey a quick, irritated glance and then decided to ignore the lapping sounds going on right next to him. "So! How was everyone's day? And Meelyn, will you pass the salt and pepper?"
"I baked four dozen molasses cookies, cleaned the kitchen, went to the grocery, folded a basket of laundry and did some vacumming," I offered virtuously, buttering a biscuit.
"Don't forget the six hours you spent on the computer," said Aisling, cutting a chunk of carrot into three thousand little pieces and spearing one bit on a fork tine. She guided the infinitesimal piece of carrot to the tip of her tongue and chewed daintily. I glared at her.
"I finished up the Spanish program and I'm ready for the next software," Meelyn offered.
My husband looked over at me with a pained expression on his face. "How much does the next software cost?" he asked. "Please tell me it's under fifty dollars."
"It's under fifty dollars," I said kindly.
"Are you lying?"
"Oh, heavens, yes."
"That is sooo gross," said Meelyn, putting down her fork and looking under the table. Hershey broke off from his absorption with his Man Part long enough to look back, ascertain that he was not being offered so much as a carrot, and returned his licking, snuffling, slurping and snorting.
"Daddy, make him stop!" Aisling pleaded. "I can't eat with him doing that. It sounds disgusting."
"Repulsive," Meelyn rejoined.
"Revolting.""OKAY!" my husband yelled. "Enough with the adjectives, already! HERSHEY! Knock it off."
Hershey peered up at my husband with his beady eyes and went in for another lick. Slllluuuuurrrrrppp. The juiciness of that sound cannot be stressed strongly enough. It was the wettest, slimiest, lickiest sound, ever. Hershey uttered a happy little sigh of contentment. My husband turned the color of key lime pie.
"Okay. Hershey needs to go to his bed before I hurl," he declared. I frowned at him; that kind of talk is not allowed at the table. He caught my look and said, exasperated, "Look, it's not exactly refined and elegant, trying to eat dinner like civilized people while the dog sits over there and licks his...."
"STOP RIGHT THERE," I interrupted. "Do not say another word, especially that one. Aisling, go put Hershey in his crate. Meelyn, would you please pass the potatoes? Hershey, you are a bad dog."
Aisling hauled a protesting Hershey off by his collar and we ate the rest of our dinner in peace.
After the girls did the dishes, we were ready to sit down and watch So You Think You Can Dance and I told Meelyn to let Hershey out of his crate. He came prancing into the living room, eyes bright, tail high. My husband pressed the play button on the DVR remote and Aisling invited Hershey up to sit on the couch with us.
"Come on, boy," she cooed invitingly, patting the cushion beside her.
But Hershey ignored her. Instead, he went front and center before the television, plunked himself down and pointed a bold foot ceiling-ward.
"Oh, no," groaned my husband.