Dog Songs: Grabbing Joy at the Unicorn Discotheque

My iPod is really kind of an embarrassment. I use maybe .0004% of its capacity, my playlists are weird and narrow, and let’s face it–it’s mostly 90s. There is a decent amount of blues, a dash of 70s, some pretty terrific stuff from the 2010s. And while the 80s produced a LOT of really abysmal crap, there was some downright awesome music, too.

So I have all of my songs on shuffle, because I have stuff to do and can’t be arsed to choose a playlist when I’m going somewhere. I’d rather skip through dozens of songs like a maniac until I find the perfect one, doncha know. Nena’s “99 Luftballoons” has gotten lodged in my head after coming up on the playlist recently. But instead of being annoying, it’s made me quite happy because it has fed another ongoing source of joy for me: my dogs.

Seti is, like all of our dogs, a rescue from a local shelter. She is an incredibly sweet and good dog, even handling our recent addition to the family beautifully. But for weeks after she got here, we couldn’t for the life of us name her. We had plenty of names that we loved, but they just weren’t HER. For whatever reason, her first and enduring nickname (our dogs historically have about ten names apiece) was Puppypie. Eric almost immediately worked this into “Yesterday” by the Beatles, and I banged out some new lyrics:

Puppypie, you are so crazy and I don’t know why/

You want to stay up watching “Superfly”/

Oh, I believe in Puppypie…

You get the idea. It was cute at first, then quickly became hideous because Eric wouldn’t. Stop. Singing it. Then some time passed, she finally told us what her name was, and it became cute again.

Now, I have many fine qualities that make me a decent, productive human citizen; being even a tolerable singer is not one of them. It’s not good, you guys. I have friends who also can’t sing, but love to do it in the car or shower anyway. I can’t even do that. Nope, nope, that’s not helping anybody out.

But oh, to sing to my dogs. The privilege! The joy! The absolute lack of judgment! They may think I’m insane, but they’re not talking. And really, they will take all the attention they can get, so I’m chalking this up as a victimless crime.

Back to Nena.

It’s not just that I have “99 Luftballoons” in my head, it’s that I’ve got my new lyrics, too, about my beloved little mutt:

“Puppypie in a little toy shop/

Buys a bag of balloons with the money she’s got…”

And now all I can think about is my sweet pup who had a rough start in life but landed safely and now is buying herself some balloons with her walking-around money. This is totally weird, I know, and couldn’t be further from the anti-war anthem the original is. But it makes me indescribably happy that our girl got another chance and is now thriving away from the chaos and want she came from.

Joy is a weird, slippery little monkey and you have to grab it with both hands when you find it, wherever it is. Shit is getting weirder and weirder these days, you guys, and it would be the worst kind of extravagance to waste joy.

I also find my pockets of joy in the following places, to name but a few:

Laughing and being incredibly inappropriate (to say the least) with my husband and friends; knitting; doing yoga; walking on the beach every chance I get; excellent naps and baths; watching a really smart movie or TV show; making a new friend who is similarly twisted and bent. It’s like falling in love, really.

So lick those beaters clean. Go find your joy, or remember it. Make it where you can; don’t worry about how it looks to someone else.  Most importantly, GET AMONGST IT.



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