Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Who makes you howl?

With a wide array of housemates, significant others, and random strangers cycling in and out of my house like perverts through a brothel, my dog is rarely alone these days.

Bindi sees this as the biggest plus of our current living arrangement.

Each household member plays an important role in Bindi's life. I'm the steadfast provider of dog kibble, regular walks, and trips to the vet. One housemate is her supplier for table scraps and lazy afternoons on the sofa watching ninja movies. My gentleman friend can be counted on to throw her ball until one of them collapses from exhaustion.

Then there's the housemate who isn't much of a dog person. He doesn't dislike dogs, and will even drag her out for the occasional run or hike. But their bonding has been a little more tepid.

Or so I thought.

Several weeks ago, he sent me a text message:

Bindi & I had a howlin' contest this morning.

Intrigued, I clicked the attached 24-second video. (Warning: there's a curse-word in this video. If you're offended by curse-words, I suggest you not click. I also suggest you not read this blog or my books. Why the hell are you here, anyway?)

Now here's the funny thing – I've owned Bindi for more than two years. We've gone for countless hikes, endured lengthy road trips, and snuggled for endless hours. Never once have I heard my dog howl. I didn't even know she could howl.

I asked my housemate about it later when all the other household occupants were present. No one else had heard Bindi howl, either, but the howl-inducing housemate just shrugged it off.

"It's sort of our thing," he said. "She only does it when no one else is home."

I'm fascinated by this. Not only by my dog's behavior, but by the notion of one creature triggering another to do something he or she doesn't do for anyone else.

For once, I'm not being filthy.

I was thinking about this in the context of the rewrite I just submitted for my third contracted romantic comedy. One element of my marching orders from the editor involved tightening the bond between my hero and heroine. What is it that makes their relationship unique? What are the little inside jokes only the two of them share? What separates her from every girl he's ever dated or him from her ex-husband?

I can't tell you the answers to those questions without giving away some plot twists, but rest assured, I figured it out.

Are there things you share only with one special friend or significant other? I'm not talking about playing Spear the Donut. I'm thinking more along the lines of little things you catch yourself doing around a certain person who's the only person in the world to see you behaving that way. Please share!

And please take a moment to enjoy this second video my housemate shot just to prove the first one wasn't a fluke. Aroooooooooooooo!


Sarah W said...

This is so odd. My four-year old has started to howl in the car, just like Bindi.


Bonding. . . There's an element of romance in my stories (though the main focus is elsewhere) and I just realized that most of the couples were co-worker-friends first -- and with one exception, all of them meet before the stories start. Wonder what that means?

Anonymous said...

Tawna, this is one of the things I love about being married as long as I have: We have certain memories, activities, and jokes between just the two of us; kind of our private world at times. One (that isn't too risque to share) is that we do silly rhymes. One of us will start with something like, "I'm getting in the shower." Then we alternate sentences with rhyming endings like "power," "flower, "glower" and so on until our sentences become so far-fetched and ridiculous that the two of us are stiches. I don't do that with anyone else.

D.B. Adams said...

That may be the greatest video of man-dog bonding I've ever seen. I'm not sure if this counts, but for the most part, my husband is the only person who gets to hear me sing, see me naked, and watch me dance dirty when I'm listening to my iPod.

Missy Olive said...

that is freaking awesome! I love it!!!

Lindsay said...

I just watched both videos twice, laughing hysterically. Then Geof and and Jaeda came in to investigate and we had to watch them again. Now we're trying to get Jaeda to howl. Something tells me that's not going to happen...

Skye said...

Cool video. My aunt had a dog that howled while she sang to it. (And my aunt was actually a very good singer, so I guess the dog thought he was, too.)

I have little things I do with different friends. For example, my BFF and I say very, very rude things to each other, and at least once a text conversation (and sometimes during voice ones as well), he must call me 'bitch'. :) I am silly in different ways with different very good friends, maybe because they perceive me differently, or maybe they connect to different things in me in ways the others don't.

Sierra said...

I did not think before I clicked that link with my laptop volume all the way up. Both cats freaked out completely (running around low to the ground, peeking behind furniture to see where that horrendous noise what coming from, jumping three feet when I touched them...) and the parrot started shrieking. *facepalm* 'Scuse me while I go do damage control.

Sage Ravenwood said...

My significant other and I make the sign for I love you (two middle fingers down, rest up and thumb out), with one difference we touch fingers while making the sign. Yeah, I know total ET moment there. (Hugs)Indigo

Brandi Guthrie said...


I had a dachshund who used to howl while I sang. I don't know if he was trying to sing along or if he was screaming, "Stop, you're hurting my ears!"

I miss that little guy. :) He used to sleep in my shoes.

Unknown said...

*snigger* That's brilliant!!! Both the dog and the conclusion you came to regarding writing.

I wonder what my dogs get up to when I'm not here?


Thanks for all the comments, guys! For the record, my housemate gave me permission to post these, so it's not like I just randomly decided to reveal his super-secret identity. Also for the record, today was the first time he ever visited this blog. Should I be worried now?! :)


Matthew MacNish said...

I used to own a Shepherd/Husky mix, and she would literally only howl to the Fugees. Or any Lauren Hill, really. It was fascinating.

Kimberly Sabatini said...

Love it!

Kimberly Sabatini said...

Love it!