As is true in any good long term partnership, Gilgamesh and I have all sorts of in-jokes and rituals which cement our bond.
Some of them he invents: he does something, my response encourages him, so he repeats it and the next thing we know there’s an in-joke.
For example, he was naturally a little bit of a late bloomer (and also neutered early), so the first time he lifted his leg to pee then kicked leaf-duff over it, I was so surprised and entertained I made a big pretense of swooning and fanning myself over his masculine display. So now when he’s in an especially good mood, he jacks his leg up as high as he can, sometimes propping it up against the tree in question, then kicks furiously, giggling, while staring at me and waiting for my big reaction. “Gilly, you’re sooooooo maaaassssculine!” This is especially funny since neither one of us is at all invested in gender roles: it’s pure John Waters camp.
Then there are the small, daily things, like how he has to first stretch, then shake himself getting out of bed in the morning. Sounds absolutely uninteresting, and very dog-101, I know – but it has a participatory aspect, and when you see the chicken-frog-butt stretch with the back end stretched out on the bed and the forelegs on the floor with the nose in the air followed by the full body nose-to-tail-tip boogaloo accompanied by my “stuh-RETTTCCCHHHH” and “SHAKE-N-WAKE!” you can understand why it’s awesome. Add in the fact that if we don’t do this for some reason, we both feel a bit off all day, and you have an important ritual.
My favorite, though, of the many intimacies we share, is Sam Cooke’s Cupid.
One day when Gilly was still a puppy, he did one of his upside-down-cake “love me now” appeals from the couch. There was an especially devastating eyelash maneuver in there as well, so at the top of my lungs, I belted out “KYOOO-pid, draw back your bow-oh-oh, and let your arrows go-oh-oh, straight to my doggy’s heart, for me-ee-eee…” Then I mimed being struck down by Cupid’s arrow by thumping my hands to my heart and falling to the floor.
Much hilarity and affection ensued.
Now, from time to time, ideally without any warning at all, I’ll shout out the lyrics and get hit by that arrow again.
Even at eight years old, Gilly is still reduced to helpless giggles every time.
This morning when I did it, he hurled himself into my arms and did a headstand, wagging so hard his ass-end almost came off.
It’s good to have someone in your life you trust enough for slapstick.