My dog is named after the Swiss psychologist, Hermann Rorschach, because of the black inkblots on his white body. However, the second syllable of his name is oft pronounced in the American style and is reminiscent of Shaq, the basketball star. So, Rorschach. My nephew calls him “Rorschy” and my dad refers to him as “Roy.” His name is difficult to spell and leads to confusion in pronunciation.
While his name is a mesh of cultural complications, his understanding of language is also such. I use a variety of languages in commands. I use the Russian “nyit” (no) to get him to stop doing something. I use the Spanish “vas” and “venga” to get him to go and to come. He is my canine foreign language prodigy.
Rorschach is, above all, neurotic and terrified of most things. Despite living with my family for five years, he remains aversive toward my father. He barks at my father for simply going to his bedroom; my father walks in the door and Rorschach comes unglued, his hackles raised and sounding a shrill alarm. While Rorschach demands attention, petting, and peanuts from the man, Rorschach refuses to acknowledge my dad’s right to exist.
Another enemy of the king of chaos is the robotic vacuum. Its steady hum unnerves the dog and leaves him shaking and barking at its presence. In the evening, Rorschach pees about five feet away from the vacuum’s charging station. The robotic vacuum is aptly named “The Kraken” and is a major problem for the peace of mind of my small dog.
Rorschach frequently uses the bathroom in the house. I can walk him for ten minutes outside and he comes in and uses the bathroom minutes later in the foyer, dining room, or on rugs in the bathroom, possibly laying traps for my father, who exclaims loudly and profanely when he steps in it, which is most of the time. At these moments, Rorschach looks away or wanders back to my room, as if he is totally innocent and has no idea how the poop ended up in the floor in the first place.
While these are just a few normal issues, the other random issue I face, being a dog mom, is diet issues. My dog is gluten intolerant. I know, it sounds crazy. But, it’s true. He eats wheat and throws up everywhere. He eats some treats and has an allergic reaction and scratches himself until bleeding. I have bathed him every night for multiple nights in specialty hypoallergenic and medicated shampoo, to soothe his skin. I have started looking at every ingredient on dog food labels, which are not always so forthcoming in their ingredient lists. Now, Amazon sends me alerts for deals on grain-free food and treats. Made in the USA, of course. The search is getting easier, but is not without frustration to ensure my fur baby’s safety. Plus, being the human handout policer is definitely not easy.
I do not have children and I know that dogs are not true children, but I must admit that owning a dog is still a form of parenthood. His enthusiasm for my attention and gentle, yet chaotic, way of loving me provides a great reward and warms my heart. Despite the challenges of raising a dog that believes he is more human than canine, I would be lost without him, even though he pukes in the middle of the bed at 2 in the morning.