Sam and I are in a debate over whether Stewie is abnormally stupid or unbelievably smart. I can’t figure it out. Sometimes I feel like he is a human trapped in a dog body dying to let his genius out. Other times I feel like he is the most obtuse animal I have ever known, I mean, really, really dumb.
Sam wanted a boxer his whole life. We looked at boxer rescue sites for months because I wanted a boxer puppy, but we wanted to do the right thing and rescue. Puppies are difficult to come by on rescue sites and so the search was fruitless and Sam thought we should get an adult dog. I was determined to have a puppy that could grow up with us, so I waited until Sam went out of town for a weekend, and surpise! Sam came home to a son. I neglected to tell Sam for months, maybe the first year of Stewie’s life, that Stewie was the runt. One day I let slip that Stewie was the runt and ever since then Sam has blamed all Stewie’s retardation on that, and blamed me for picking the runt.
I am constantly threatened by Sam that he will return Stewie for a smarter animal. I know he says this in jest, but I feel bad for Stewie, I don’t want to hurt his feelings. I think it may be my fault that my son is so deficient and demented. I have sheltered and coddled him too much. I didn’t let him out in public for the first four months of his life because I was terrified he may contract some sort of deadly disease and wanted him to get all his shots first. I remember reading about the way Queen Victoria was brought up. She was brought up under a strict regimen that was coined the “Kensington System.” She was sheltered so much because she was the only heir to the throne and her mother wanted to make sure nothing happened to interfere with her succession. Victoria wasn’t even allowed to sleep in her own room and had to sleep with her mother until she became Queen of England. I imagine I brought Stewie up under something similar to the “Kensington System.” The poor pup was rarely out of my arms when I was around, I was constantly checking his breathing to make sure he was alive, I took him to the vet every time he displayed any sign of sickness, much to Sam and his wallets dismay. Stewie pees like a girl and Sam yells at him in our backyard, “be a man Stewie, raise your leg!” Stewie cannot even walk on a leash out in public because he is so afraid of cars, people, and any noise that you could associate with living in the city. All these defects either get blamed on Stewie’s being a runt or my being overly protective.
Stewie has recently taken up watching animal planet and documentaries about wolves. This leads me to believe that he is in fact, not a half-wit, but a savant. Have you ever seen a dog watch TV? Ever? I mean for extended periods of time without getting distracted? This isn’t like the game where you pretend to throw a ball two times and on the third time the dog realizes there is nothing in your hand. He never gets tired of it, it never gets old, Stewie loves watching animal planet. His favorite movie is “Life of Pi,” for obvious reasons. I put on the opening scene of “Life of Pi” and he just is mesmerized. So here’s the dilemma. When the animals come on Stewie literally tries to climb into the TV to hang out with them. He watches and takes it all in, he is clearly understanding what is happening. But is he? Does Stewie believe that there are animals living inside my TV/laptop, or does he understand that he is watching documentaries about other animals and he just enjoys learning how his ten times removed ancestors live and what their habitats are like?
I recently suggested we get a bark box subscription for Stewie. A bark box is a monthly box that comes filled with dog treats and toys and I thought Stewie would really enjoy something like that. We don’t have kids to spend our money on, why not spoil him? Sam, to my surprise, said “Sure!” And then he followed it up with, “we can take out the treats when they arrive and send Stewie back in the box.” I know he just does this to get me riled up and his mission in life is to do things that upset me so I will argue with him, but it gets me every time. I really don’t want Stewie to develop a complex about being stupid or unwanted.
Everyday when I leave for work in the morning Stewie looks out our window after me, he actually pushes his snout up against the window so his whole face is smashed up. It’s a terrible gut wrenching sight to see. It makes it very hard to leave the house at all because I feel so guilty. Every evening when I come home from work I lock my car and the second I click my alarm and it goes beep Stewie runs up to the window and is waiting there, watching, wiggling with anticipation. I don’t have the market cornered on this routine of his, he doesn’t break it out just for me. He recognizes his fathers car alarm too and goes to hold vigil at the window until Sam walks in. There are many cars that travel and park on our street, many that have car alarms, and he only gets up for the ones he knows. Which again, is another sign that he may be smarter than he presents at times.
Despite his goofy, retarded disposition, he makes me incredibly happy and it’s impossible not to break out in a smile when I see him. Senseless or intelligent, I’m sure the debate will continue, but it doesn’t really matter. Sam will continue to terrorize and bait me about sending Stewie back or turning him in for an updated and more intelligent model. I will continue to play along and feign shock and horror at the idea that he would give up his son. But when we are laying in bed at night and Stewie is laying right on Sam’s chest with his head in the crook of his dads neck, I hear Sam whisper in Stewie’s ear, “I love you bud, you’re such a good boy.” And I know he really doesn’t care that Stewie pees like a girl, and is afraid of his own shadow, and is ranked 48 on Stanley Coren’s dog breed intelligence list, and is really extremely needy, and dense. Stewie’s love for us is unconditional and it’s hard not to love something that is blind to, and loves you despite all of your flaws and imperfections.
“Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.” -Mark Twain