Friday, August 11, 2006


We have a little Chihuahua mix and his name is Ratdog. I named him Ratdog after Bob Weir’s band and also because he looks like a large white rodent. His owner, a friend of mine whose been dead for three years now, tried to give him to the Humane Society but I stepped in and saved him from the doggy gallows. He’s deaf and yips and yaps all the time at vibrations, like garbage trucks, motorcycles or the wind. He doesn’t have a cornea or something in his eyes and he’s basically an albino. When you take his picture it looks like he has perpetual red-eye. He eats stuff most pooches won’t touch – like garlic, tangerines, tomatoes, cucumbers and even onions. He loves to be cradled in your arms like an infant, but only by people he knows really well. If another dog tries to mess with him, Ratdog will bite the offending mutt without hesitation. He’s a tough little guy.

For some reason, he’s also very popular, especially with the ladies. One female friend of mine actually tried to buy him from us for $500! Can you believe it? My question is: Why are people so attracted to this ugly little mutt? What is it that makes him so darn endearing? Everybody who knows me is always asking about him – How’s Ratdog? What’s up with Ratdog? Why didn’t you bring Ratdog? They rarely ask me about our other dogs, Shelly and Kaido. They hardly ever bother to ask how Angelina and I are doing. No, they want the latest news about Ratdog and I have yet to fully understand why. Maybe it’s because he’s the ultimate underdog. His bark is so annoying it makes you want to scream. He’s not particularly attractive. He’s licked his front paws so many times over the years that they’re orange-colored. He’s always a tad stinky, even after a bath. He’s got bad breath 24/7 and no matter how many times you brush his teeth, they’re always a shade of light brown.

Last year, Angelina and I made a 5-minute movie for a short-film contest here in San Francisco. It was called “Our Dinner with Ratdog” and starred you-know-who. The finished product was terrible, it hurts us just to watch it now, but Ratdog was great. Doing the movie was a learning experience to say the least. When we did the film, half the crew was drunk, Angelina got into it with the director and the entire process cost me major bucks I didn’t have. But, Ratdog was awesome. He hit his mark every time and was a real trooper.

Now and then, I’ll give you a report on how Ratdog is doing. That way, my friends can stop asking me all the time. Maybe then they’ll actually inquire as to how we’re doing once in awhile!