They say that pets and owners get to look (and act) alike, but the “twinness” of Dawg and me has progressed to the point of being ridiculous. We have so many things in common that I expect him to develop diabetes any day now. One thing we have in common is a tendency towards Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). It’s not so pronounced that it disrupts our lives (in fact, it makes me a pretty good bookkeeper), but it’s there, all the time, peeking out from under the carefully aligned bed covers, ready to make itself known.
My brother, the one who died this past summer, obviously had OCD. He couldn’t even go to the bathroom without first straightening everything in the room. He was as bad as Monk. I’m not that bad, although I’m happier if everything is lined up. So how do I know I have OCD? Because everybody who knows me says I do. Okay, I realize that’s not an official diagnosis, and, in fact, I’ve only had two doctors tell me I have OCD, and they were doctors for whom I worked, not doctors who gave me any tests or anything…but they were psychiatrists. And when I took a massive psych test a few years ago (to see if I was following my mother down the road to Alzheimer), nothing about OCD showed up. Plus I’ve been to the OCD web site, and according to their list of symptoms, I don’t have OCD, but since everyone else says I do, I tend to obsess over it a little. For awhile I carried a piece of paper in my pocket so that when anyone said something about me having OCD I could whip it out and say “I don’t have OCD, and here’s a list of 27 reasons why I don’t” — but nobody got the joke. They’d just look at me strangely and turn away, so I quit doing that.
Dawg also may not really have OCD (some dogs do and take meds for it). His strangeness may just come from the fact that Bouvs are a herding breed — I’m just not sure. But one thing I know for certain is that he hates anything to change around him. For example: his toys. My previous Bouv would gather all her toys in a pile and guard it — you know, like a herding dog. If you moved one out of the pile, she’d take it and put it back with the rest of the herd. But Dawg takes all his toys out of his toy box and spreads them around the room. If you move one, he wants to put it back exactly where it was.
And then there’s our walks. We live in a townhome community, so the cars that park around us are always the same. But if one of them changes, Dawg can’t walk past it without stopping and staring until I drag him away. One day we were walking down the street and he stopped by one car which was always parked in the same place. He stared and stared at the rear wheel. I had to walk around the car to figure it out: that wheel had lost its hubcap. And this morning, in a line of cars parked parallel to the curb, one of them was parked at a little bit of an angle. Not much — maybe five degrees out of line. But I swear there were claw marks in the sidewalk where I had to drag Dawg past that car. It’s like he thinks if he stares at it long enough, it’ll fix itself.
When we reached the end of our walk and turned back for home, I took a different route. I guess that proves that I don’t have OCD…yet.