Now, there may have been some small clause in my rent agreement about not allowing dogs into the house, but I figured that clause was more of a suggestion, and so it could be ignored. It was not, however, ignored when the landlord discovered that—even though the contract clearly stated there should be no dog in the house—well, there she was. A St. Bernard–my St. Bernard. Complete with the drool and the jowls and everything you could ever want.
When the landlord asked where the dog had come from I offered the following (read: fabricated) explanation. I said my sister had gone away recently and left me in charge of her most faithful (and very probably only) friend. When he asked where she went I couldn’t think of anything to say aside jail. And so it was to honest surprise that this embellishment of what actually happened aroused sympathy in the man, and he said the dog could stay, so long as I paid additional rent. I agreed, obviously.
It was also back then that I shared a house with fourteen other guys–certainly they weren’t gentleman, and shouldn’t be called that. There were four on our side of the house, and ten on the other side. I always wondered why I wasn’t allowed to have a dog in the house—why that was a problem—but somehow it was OK to put fourteen college aged testosterone-laden troublemakers in one small living space together, like that wasn’t going to lead to obscene amounts of video games being played, among other things that parents of certain religious affiliation wouldn’t be very approving of. Either way, our side of the house never had much to say to the other side; mostly we kept to ourselves. But every once in a while, I’d hear one of the guys from the other side exclaim profanities upon encountering a pile of Lola’s poo’ with their heal, while walking home from the bars, at one or two in the morning. This would always excite me. I’m not sure what phase of mental deterioration causes a person to laugh as hard as I do when somebody steps in shit, but maybe someday there will be a cure. We can only hope not.
Final note about all this. The year I got Lola was also the year I met Christine. In fact, I’d used Lola as a way to get Christine to date me. We met at the gym, and I told her that my name was Pat, and that I owned a St. Bernard whose name was Lola. When you tell somebody you own a St. Bernard, they are absolutely sure to date you, and will probably marry you. I’ve proven this to be the case once, and haven’t needed to prove it, since.