who’s the man in the relationship?

Linuspaddington Drawing, #2 Pencil, 18X24, Stephanie Klein

Same seex marriage is so passé.  My sister Lea wants to violate the laws of nature with a shorthaired granola-eating monster.  She wants to exchange the big bad vows with my dog Linus.  “I have dibs Stephanie.  When the laws change, he’s mine.”  Lea, above all others, loves to love Linus.  If he still had balls, she’d make babies with him.  “I’m telling you, Steph, I’m going on eBay and ordering the bowtie and top hat now in preparation.  You think I can still wear white?”

Like all couples, they’ve had their share of fights.  He has pulled her hair (while successfully attempting to remove the hair band from her bun), undressed her when she wasn’t in the mood (he is all about socks), and he has drawn actual blood.  He bit her in the face, broke the skin and chomped right through her nose, piercing straight through her nostril.  I assure you, it was not fashionable.  I was there when it happened, shaking.  She leaned in to kiss him goodbye, while he was on my bed, and food was on my lap.  She wasn’t his first victim.

Erin began to call Linus, “Baby Jaws” after he bit her in the backseat of my car, and they weren’t even making out.  Abtin and I were in the front seat, driving back from the beach in the Hamptons.  Linus, apparently, was irritated and overtired from no day at the beach, eating sand and chasing sticks to the point of exhaustion.  Erin leaned in to comfort him, “Hi sweet bear, how are—“ Then Jaws attacked her lip, eating it as if it were rolled luncheon meat.  It swelled immediately.  Medical supplies were purchased.  Abtin irrigated the wound, tilting her head in certain light, checking to see if she’d need stitches.  It was a nightmare.  Forget sweet Erin, I couldn’t even eat.

If a man leans over my bed to kiss me goodbye, Linus will bite him. 
“No, really, he will,” I plead.  “I’m telling you; this is his home, and he is protecting me or something.”
“Yeah, let him; I’ll bite him right back,” he’ll say, thinking not a chance he’d bite me.  He loves me.  Then, blood.  Every time.  At which point I want to say, “I told you so,” but I’m too shaken by the fact that he struck again, and a man is bleeding in my bedroom from more than the emotional wound I’ve given him. 

It is my fault.  I treat him too much like a child maybe, not enough like a dog.  As much as Lea treats him like a manbaby, I do it too.  I know I need to become more Alpha, be his leader.  Does this mean always putting him in his crate when a man is around?  I doubt that’s an answer.  How, though, do I change this behavior, considering Linus seems like a lump of sugar right before he consistently strikes.  I need The Dog Whisperer to shout at me because this is no way to live.  I live in constant fear whenever any man is around.  Then again, I’m going to do that anyway without the added threat of my very own Cujo.  I know I have to "be the man" in our relationship, but I don’t know what to do.  I’m so accustomed to being the girl.  Perhaps I’ll ship him out to Montana to go change the laws of nature with Lea.



  1. YOU ARE SO RIGHT! My sister had a dog, Chester, he is a great dog, thinks he needs to be held all the time, he forgot he is a dog. My cousin says to beward of women who have dogs! He said that is the first sign to run run run run! Might want to remember that!

  2. Ah, and the car comes up. Now the whole land is dying to know what kind of car does the fabulous miss Klein drive. Please, do tell.

    Further and forever more; we all love Linus. Unless his shit is on our doorhandles.

  3. My best friend's sister had a dog that hated men. She would growl at them and bite them, given the chance. It's all about protection… he just loves you.

  4. Not sure the crate is such a good idea… he'd probably take to biting the guys when they arrive, just to beat the rush.

  5. Honestly, he's a dog. Tell the men in your life to pay heed to your warnings and subdue the beast while they give you the goodnight kiss. It's not rocket science. Dogs will be dogs…

  6. Ditch the guys and keep the dog?

    I think you may just have to step up and actually discipline him when and if he bites. Positive and negative reinforcement are cool.

  7. My overly protective dog used to growl at guys that were at my house (never bit any, luckily). As she's gotten older, she's mellowed. Also, I won't let her on the bed or couch when guys are over. It's tough to do, but might help?

  8. My dog has also chilled with age. He used to freak out whenever guys would come over. But now that I have two roommates there are always all kinds of different people coming in and out of our house. So maybe he has gotten the idea that it isn't really *his* territory. Also, I have socialized him A LOT since he was a baby.

  9. My dog has also chilled with age. He used to freak out whenever guys would come over. But now that I have two roommates there are always all kinds of different people coming in and out of our house. So maybe he has gotten the idea that it isn't really *his* territory. Also, I have socialized him A LOT since he was a baby.

  10. why are people kissing dogs and refering to them as babies?
    isn't a nice pat on the head enough??? disgusting kissing dogs, and then eating-barf

  11. If your dog ever REALLY hurts someone, you're in big trouble because you know he bites. A bite from even a small dog can be pretty rough on a child, for instance, whose parent won't be so quick to laugh it off as "cute". I'm clearly missing the whole "dog as baby" thing. Mabye it's because I have an actual baby to treat like a baby (wacky concept). But why keep around a dog that repeatedly draws blood from your loved ones? And what happens if "the one" comes along and your dog hates him? Let me guess…"then he's not the one". Sad. All the children in this country should be so lucky to be treated half as well as the dogs in Manhattan.

  12. Well, our tomcat "Herbert Red" gets horny every time I stroke him. That's an improvement to biting … I guess.

  13. Another headache for you Stephanie honey,sorry to hear.

    Oh well could be worse. You could have been dealt the hand in life that so many US service people got that led them down the road so now they are getting shot at and even killed/maimed over there in Iraq.

  14. Oh poo on all of you haters. Mr. Bill will continue to sleep in my bed (under the covers, with his head on the pillow), kiss me on the mouth, and look fab in his rhinestones. He loves his Daddy and all other good men – he hated my roommate's ex who turned out to be a horrible cheater. He hated my ex-roommate who turned out to be a crazy bitch. So there you go.

    If Steph tells people not to lean in – warns them they will get bitten – and they choose to ignore that. Well…that's their own fault. As far as kids go – parents need to teach their kids to ask permission before petting. And pet owners need to know their dog well enough to admit – "Sorry, he doesn't like kids"

  15. People that can draw well fascinate me. It astounds me that people can just sit there and sketch something that even remotely resembles what they see or what they are thinking about. Good times.

  16. Not to get political on this blog, but lets not forget, ChrisM, that we are not currently experiencing a draft, so those service people were not "dealt" any hand…they chose it as their career. Perhaps you should lay off Stephanie and not try to guilt her into thinking she shouldnt reflect on her dog and his tendencies. (I, for one, love Linus stories!)

  17. We do have the backdoor draft going on though. Make no mistake, I support the troops. I have a couple friends that were in special forces over there, but I have a hard time swallowing what the administration has done there – with keeping people over there beyond what they ever reasonably expected their tour to be. I think I read that local police have had to go overseas as well. I don't know how many people expected to have to serve because they were a police officer or something. I understand that we need troops over there and all of that, but I think it's pretty crummy that the administration doesn't just fess up and say what they are doing sucks. I mean these guys are losing entire years of their lives (or their lives entirely) in support of our country, which I doubt they ever expected having to do and all we can muster is, well it was in the fine print of the contract that they signed.

    However, I do agree that ChrisM's post seemed out of right field to me as well.

  18. I support the troops as well….I grew up a military brat, I know the drill all too well. I am just failing to see Chris' link between Stephanie talking about her pup and our service people in Iraq.

  19. I agree with Tomasina and I will even go so far as to say that I just don't understand this female desire to carry around a dog as if it's your child. If a woman wants a kid, she should go get pregnant. Dogs are for playing fetch and protection and rough-housing…not for Fendi dog purses, painted nails, and rhinestone collars. If I'd tried to primp my family golden retreiver, Chewbacca, in any way, my father probably would have disowned me.

  20. I love how society is responsible for protecting itself from PPP's spoiled brat dog. How about learning how to train a dog before you buy it? Dog ownership is not all about stupid dog sweaters and faux fur doggie pillows. ALL dogs can be trained to behave…it's their owners who usually have the problems.

    It is true that eventually, dogs and their owners begin to resemble one another. Like children, puppies learn by example.

  21. You do need to discipline him and tell him no. It has to be a forceful enough no that he will realize that you do not tolerate it. That is the the only way you are going to get him to stop. One other thing that you should do is spend more time with him. He might be jealous because when it seems like he is getting his time…someone is always around.

    One thing I will say is that animals do know good people from bad. They have some sort of sixth sense that we don't have.

  22. I read this blog so that I can escape, albeit momentarily, from the neverending stream of bitching on political blogs. So to everyone relating Stephanie's dog stories to the war in Iraq…shut the hell up.

  23. I see absolutely nothing wrong with loving your dog as part of the family. And if I could carry my dog around in a Fendi purse, I sure as hell would, but there is no Fendi big enough for my 52 lb. Border Collie. To tell me to 'go get pregnant' because I tend to nurture & adore my dog is the most irresponsible thing I've read. Some people just don't understand dog owners pampering their pooches, but that's ok because I don't understand our societies obsession with reproduction.

  24. Um…I don't think I'm encouraging women to go out and get pregnant all willy nilly…nor am I one of those baby-obsessed women. I'm simply saying that I find that most of these women who coo over canines all day are just doing it because they want an actual baby and have driven away most available "fathers" because they allow the dogs to run their lives. I see nothing wrong with spoiling your dog…but not training it…allowing it to BITE people…it's unacceptable. Don't blame the victims of the dog's aggression…and don't blame the dog…blame YOURSELF for being a ridiculously irresponsible dog owner.

  25. I think we're forgetting that dogs are not only territorial, the're protective of their owners. It has nothing to do with babying, pampering or diamond studded collars. Dogs by nature are loyal creatures, and Tom is right in that dogs and cats have a sixth sense, there are some things they know before we do.

  26. I have to comment on the following statement:
    "I love how society is responsible for protecting itself from PPP's spoiled brat dog."

    Yes, dog owners need to train their dogs.

    But parents should also teach their children that running up to and pulling a dog's tail/ear/leg is not acceptable behavior, particularly when the owner tells the child to slowdown/not pull/etc. And similarly, if a grown man can't listen to a pet owner that says in all honestly that leaning over the dog's human might get him bitten, then he needs to learn to respect animals.

    Dog's are indeed animals, protective and territorial, and will return an attack if they perceive they or thir human is being attacked or threatened.

  27. Tough to teach an 'old' dog new tricks, as they say. But it's never too late. He's a smart dog. I agree, he'll probably know who the real Mr. Right is.

  28. Long-time reader, first time commenter. Just a warning: someone could sue you. I was bitten by a dog on my big Jewish nose and needed ten stitches. The antibiotic the doctor prescribed ended up killing all the good bacteria in my intestines which caused a serious infection and my colon began eating itself. Loveliness. And you bet your ass I sued for medical expenses. Just be careful, seriously. If you allow Linus to continue biting people, not only could someone sue you, they could also insist he be put to sleep. While I didn't in my case, most people do. And you'd lose the case as you'd be convicted of negligence because you knew he bites. Just a warning.

  29. Kelli-
    it sounds like a large part of the problem was the doc and not the dog. i have three dogs that i love and who are all horribly over protective and slightly untrained …. but i would take all of them over babies anyday.
    a few days late, but this post really spoke to me.

  30. Sara,

    Regardless of the medical expenses and side effects to antibiotics…Kelli was BITTEN. People should be held accountable for their animal's behavior, not try to second-blame the effects of medical treatment; that's after the fact.

    Kelli is right, some day, Stephanie's dog will bite someone who isn't so understanding, or even worse bite a young child and cause long-term physical or emotional damage. Aggressive dogs are ordered to be put to sleep every day and people are hurt. I don't understand how people can see their "overly protective" dogs as acceptable behavior on a daily basis. Stephanie has a responsiblity to herself and her dog to either train him, or not allow the dog to be in situations where he will bite.

  31. Is Linus a Toy Fox Terrier? I have a TFT, too, who is also highly neurotic, paper-trained (albeit badly) and a victim of bad breeding. Ringo started becoming a little fear-aggressive but I got him a companion and he is better. We also occasionally go to the 72nd run…hope to see you and Linus there!

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