A Very Dog Interview
My dog Ruthie talks to Peter, the dog behind Kelly Conaboy’s delightful, funny, and sweet “The Particulars Of Peter.”
When I saw that Kelly Conaboy, the genius behind classics like Do Men Enter Bathtubs on Hands and Knees So Their Balls Hit the Water Last? and The Vast Bay Leaf Conspiracy, had completed a book about dogs, I was very excited. She has a way of being funny that’s just not like anyone else, I would describe it but you should just read “The Particulars of Peter” and see for yourself. I asked Ruthie if she would like to interview Conaboy’s dog Peter to get an inside look. Ruthie said yes, because she is a good dog.
Ruthie: Welcome, Peter. My mom loved this book. She chortled a lot while reading.
Peter: I am happy about that.
Ruthie: Now, I wonder, do you think of Kelly Conaboy as being your mom? I realize some people find naming the relationship between dog and person as mom/child annoying and I certainly respect that. I don’t think that my mom (Sarah, the author of this blog) was Merle’s mom, the dog she had before me and for a little while at the same time as me. They were more like pals. But my mom is my mom. Anyway how do you think of Kelly Conaboy author of a whole book about you that my mom read in one day, alternately laughing out loud and sobbing?
Peter: I think she’s my friend. But she also calls me her husband. And she also calls me her baby. And she also calls me a mouse. And she also calls me a bean.
Ruthie: Can you tell me about the first time you met your mom/Kelly/a special person? Were you scared?
Peter: I came to her home after briefly staying with another woman and I was scared, yes. It was a stressful time. I also had diarrhea. But after a while I acclimated myself to her apartment and she gave me a little pureed pumpkin with my food and my diarrhea got better, which helped.
Ruthie: Your mom really likes sleeping in the same bed with you. I really like sleeping in the same bed with my mom. Can you tell me what the best thing about sleeping with your mom is? Do you have any problems negotiating for space, as we do?
Peter: The best thing is going under the covers. The next best thing is going behind the pillows so I’m hidden. The third best thing is being like a sleeping cow right in the middle; I don’t have problems negotiating for space and in fact have never considered that it might be a problem for others, but that is interesting to think about now that you’ve brought it up. Fourth best thing is snoring. Fifth, no actually this is the first, first best thing is waking up to go outside to pee.
Ruthie: What are your favorite foods? My favorite food is turkey soup.
Peter: Chicken, salmon, pasta strand from the lady’s mouth, treats, scrambled eggs, cheese, treats, bacon treat that you have to keep in the fridge. Least favorite is blueberries, which I hate.
Ruthie: I pretend to like blueberries but then I throw them with my mouth and jump on them like a fox. How do you feel about other dogs? I like other dogs if they are the same size as me. If they are bigger than me that is bad. If they are smaller than me that is bad for them.
Peter: Some dogs I like. Some dogs I see them and I know instantly that I dislike them. Some dogs I do not want to meet but they force themselves on me because they think they’ll like me and then they regret it, but I don’t know why they wanted to meet me so bad in the first place and I think I shouldn’t have to feel like I did something bad when I made my intentions clear by moving away, having my hackles up, etc.
Ruthie: Do you think that you are as beautiful as your mom thinks that you are?
Peter: I’m not sure I’ve ever seen myself. Sometimes the lady holds me to a thing and says, “this is you!” I don’t know what’s in there. But I do feel good, I guess you can say beautiful, and she does tell me that I am the handsomest man in the world. I’m trying to work on accepting compliments.
Ruthie: Well I think you are extraordinary! Other than doing a lot of weird stuff and also normal stuff with her how did you help your wife/friend/Kelly Conaboy write this book?
Peter: She made me pose with the book. That’s the most I can say about that. I attempted to telegraph my annoyance about being photographed, but I did it because she feeds me and is nice to me and I don’t want her to stop. Oh I did like taking agility classes and I was good at it (trying to get comfortable speaking positively about myself). I also frequently forced my nose under her computer hand so she could pet it instead of type, which I think helped.
Ruthie: Is there something that your mom tells you that you smell like my mom says I smell like a ginger cookie or a cinnamon bun?
Peter: She says, “You are a puppy! You smell like a puppy! You have a puppy butt!” But also she got a shampoo for me for free from the company Ouai, so I smell like that sometimes. She liked the smell of it so much that she bought the human version for herself from the same company, but now whenever she uses it the scent memory attached to it tells her she smells like a dog. Unfortunate for her but what are you gonna do.
Ruthie: Peter my mom would like to contact the spirit world to have Merle, her dog who died recently, ask some questions…is that OK.
Peter: Yes, however the lady I know accidentally — apparently — did this with a dog of hers who died and it made her very upset. But if she thinks it might help, there are definitely people who are willing to take her money and say they are doing it.
Ruthie: Thanks Peter, you are a cool dog. OK I am going to help my mom connect to the spirit world, so that she can talk to Merle, who is no longer on this planet in dog form.
Peter: I wish you both luck.
Merle, from The Other Realms: Peter this is Merle. I have been conjured, maybe you had something to do with it, by the way my friend Sarah laughed really hard when she read the chapter about you ghost hunting she was laughing and laughing I could hear her all the way in The Other Realms. Anyway, even though I was a good companion to her I think maybe I was a little bit emotionally unavailable. That’s OK with me it’s just how I am. Could you maybe tell me a little bit about things about yourself that make you different from other dogs? I mean I guess one way to put it would be how are you like other dogs and how are you unlike other dogs? I guess I’m just asking because I was kind of a weird dog and I was grateful to have friends that just let me be myself.
Peter: Hello Merle. I hope Heaven is treating you well. I like to have my own space. I’m not the type who is going to be jumping all over a person, licking their face, wagging my tail. I’ll wag my tail and do some jumps and spins when you come home, which is very exciting for me, or when it’s dinner time, which is also very exciting for me, but I’m generally chill. Some dogs are like this, some aren’t. I’m not sure it would work for everyone but it works for our situation. I’m grateful for that. Me and the lady have a similar vibe, though she does squeeze and kiss me more than I’d like, and she also regularly shouts at me that she loves me, which can be startling, but there are always compromises with sharing a life.
Ruthie: Hi this is Ruthie again. I read how your mom got you a seat belt and now I have to get one. Can you tell me about it so I can mentally prepare?
Peter: Yes, it’s really fine. It attaches to the back of your harness like a leash, except the leash holder is the seat rather than a human. You can still sit and sleep and rest, you just can’t fly out of the windshield or onto the floor in case of a sudden stop, which is a nice benefit.
Ruthie: One last thing. At the end when Kelly Conaboy the author of a whole book about you said “If we don’t attempt to know [our dogs] they won’t be known. And they should be known.” This is a nice thing to say about dogs and a true thing. I don’t know if most people think about how we dogs need to be known. I think you are a very lucky and handsome dog and I hope one day to show you how I can leap like a rabbit. What might you like to show me about yourself, that I may know you better?
Peter: I’d like to show you how fast I spin when I’m happy. I think it would make you happy, too.