Thursday, March 5, 2009

Tory and Atchoum: A Story of Mutual Tolerance

Spring is springing in Paris. How do I know? Because Atchoum—my French boss’ dog—has just gotten his spring fur-cut and is looking more like a Westie and less like a filthy rag. That said, he’s still filthy, and I go well out of my way to avoid touching him.

I can’t help but recall my first week at this job, when I woke up with what I initially thought was a tumor, only to realize that I had been bitten by a flea. Hypochondria quickly turned to disgust. Atchoum never owned up to it.

Since then, Atchoum has spent many days slinking around the office and throwing up in strategically inconvenient places. There is an unspoken expectation that I will clean up this vomit. I refuse, and thus my dignity remains intact—at least on that front.

I always know when Atchoum will throw up because his tiny stomach gives a Mastiff-sized growl in the moments preceding the upheaval. When I ask my boss about this bulimic behavior, he says “That’s just what dogs’ stomachs do to clean themselves.” Ah.

Then there were the long, dark winter afternoons when Atchoum would discretely curl at my feet and, before I knew what was happening, would hump his way up my leg. Thank god for tall boots.

And finally, there is the dreaming. Atchoum, like me, has vivid dreams. He scrambles; he snores; he scratches the floorboards. Each time this happens, my boss chuckles and says, “He must be dreaming about some wonderful bitch.” Indeed.

In addition to the spring fur-cut, Atchoum has spring fever… big time. I just got word that my boss might mate him with a “bitch of about the same age.”

The idea of puppies would usually inspire delighted squeals from me… but Atchoum and I have a relationship that is tenuous at best (although we are friends on Facebook…literally).

I am wary of his future spawn. Then again, who am I to stand in the way of canine romance? Especially in the spring… especially in Paris in the spring…

I wish Atchoum and his bitch all the best.

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