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养狗失败记

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“You girls just don’t understand how much of a commitment a dog is,” my father would always say when his three daughters begged him for a puppy1).
   Defeated, we settled for2) being cat owners, but I always felt a pang3) of jealousy while observing the relationship between dogs and their owners. And so when the opportunity to experience the long-envied life of a dog owner came along after my uncle asked me to house-sit last summer, I agreed instantly, excited to see what having a dog would be like. I packed my bags and moved into my uncle’s place. I would be a dog owner for three weeks.
   A chocolate lab4) then just over a year old, Mocha was one of the most hyperactive dogs I had ever met. She was always distracted by something: a fly on the wall, an invisible squirrel running up a tree, a dirty old sock under the couch. I learned to keep all human food out of reach, for this puppy would eat anything in sight—except her own specialized, puppy-diet-approved kibble5).
   Getting used to Mocha’s schedule was not easy. I’m the owner of a cat who sleeps all day, only waking to waddle6) over to her food dish. Mocha’s early-morning walks developed into full-on7) workouts8) as she took advantage of my lack of dog-walking experience, tugging and pulling on her leash until my arms were ready to pop out.

  “你们这些女孩子根本不明白养一只狗意味着多大的责任!”每当我们姐妹三个央求爸爸答应养一只小狗时,他总是这么说。
   由于屡求不得,我们只好退而求其次,养起了猫,但每当看见别的小狗和它们的主人情深意切时,我总是感到心里一阵阵刺痛,妒忌得要死。去年夏天,叔叔让我帮他照看房子,这就意味着我有机会做一名狗的主人了,这可是我羡慕已久的生活。于是,我立马答应了下来,迫不及待地想知道有狗相伴的日子到底会是什么样。我收拾了几个包,搬到了叔叔家。接下来的三个星期,我即将成为一只狗的主人。
  摩卡那会儿还只有一岁多,她是一只棕色的拉布拉多犬,也是我见过的最好动的狗之一。随便什么东西都能让她走神:墙上的一只苍蝇、一只飞速窜上树梢无迹可寻的松鼠,或者是沙发底下一只又脏又旧的袜子。我还渐渐发现,我得将人吃的所有东西都放在她够不着的地方,因为这只小狗是看见什么吃什么——就是不吃她自己那些达到小狗饮食安全标准的专用狗粮。
  要适应摩卡每天的活动习惯可不是件容易的事。我自己养的是一只猫。这只猫天天从早睡到晚,只有饿了的时候才会醒来,一摇一摆地走到自己的饭盆儿那儿找吃的。而摩卡利用了我缺乏遛狗经验这一弱点,愣是把大清早的遛狗变成了一场不折不扣的体育锻炼,使劲对拴在她颈上的皮带又拖又拽,搞得我的胳膊都要脱臼了。

  Afternoon games of fetch were impossible as Mocha did not understand that she was required to drop her toy for me to throw it again, resulting in many short-lived games of tag9). I was always it10). And always lost.
   The fun continued well into the evenings, as I lay awake listening to Mocha’s loud and endless panting. Curled up in bed next to me after I would give in to her scratching at the bedroom door, her constant twitching11) and kicking left me covered with bruises and scrapes. After two weeks of this, I was exhausted. But the worst was yet to come.
   “Mocha!” I called out one evening on my return from another busy day at work, expecting her to come running at the sound of my voice. She didn’t.
   I found her lying on the floor in the living room, her head resting on her paws, looking up at me with one of the best puppy-dog-eyes looks I’ve ever seen. She was up to something12). I crouched down beside her and began petting her, hoping she had just been lonely in my absence. But then I noticed the pile hidden on the other side of the loveseat13).

  至于下午的“狗儿捡玩具”游戏,简直就没法做下去,因为摩卡压根就不明白,它应该把捡到的玩具丢给我,好让我再掷出去。于是最终的结果是,我们只能一次次地玩“捉狗”游戏(编者注:原本是“捉人”游戏,由于文中被捉的对象是狗,于是就变成了“捉狗”游戏),而每一次玩不了多久就胜负立分了。我总是那个“捉”的人,而且总也捉不住她。
   即使到了夜晚,这种与狗为伴的“乐趣”也挥之不去。我躺在床上,无法入睡,耳边是摩卡震耳欲聋、没完没了的喘气声。如果我不让她睡在我床上,摩卡会使劲地挠卧室的门,直到我妥协为止。上床后,她蜷起身体躺在我身边,一晚上不停地浑身抽动、四肢乱踢,害得我身上到处都是淤青和擦伤。和她同床共眠了两个星期后,我简直精疲力竭。但最糟糕的事还在后面呢。
   “摩卡!”一天晚上,在忙忙碌碌工作了一天后,我下班回到家,一进门就大喊她的名字,期待她一听到我的声音就马上跑出来迎接我。可是她没有。
  我发现她趴在客厅的地板上,脑袋放在爪子上,抬眼看着我,那种眼神是我见过的最可爱的小狗眼神之一。她大概是又偷偷搞什么名堂了。我在她身边蹲了下来,开始温柔地抚摸她,希望她只不过是因为我不在而觉得有点孤单罢了。但这时,我注意到在双人沙发的另一头藏了一堆东西。

  “What is this?” I asked her, heading over to the mess.
   Chewed-up pieces of leather and shoelaces lay scattered all over the carpet. The remains of the heel of my sneaker and the soles of my brand-new gladiator sandals14) were dispersed under other pieces of living-room furniture.
   “What have you done?” I asked aloud, expecting some sort of explanation. I sprinted upstairs to my bedroom only to discover a trail of rummaged15)-through laundry by the closet. My left sneaker lay abandoned, a lucky survivor.
   My cheeks grew hot upon the realization that Mocha had entertained herself by devouring the five pairs of shoes I had hidden at the back of the closet. My new metallic sandals, sling-back16) wedge heels, red-patent17) ballet flats, strappy sandals and sneakers, along with my bathing suit bottoms, were destroyed. Mangled beyond recognition.
   I stormed downstairs and stood in front of Mocha, who was now sitting at the bottom of the stairs.
   “You ate my shoes!” I yelled, angrily shaking my index finger in her face18). She didn’t budge.
   “Do you realize what you’ve done? I don’t have any shoes—you ate them all!” Yes, I was screaming at a dog, but I was sleep-deprived and my frustration got the best of19) me. I threw myself on the couch, tears streaming down my face. For once, Mocha stayed put20).

  “这是什么?”我问她,并朝那堆乱糟糟的东西走过去。
   被咬得乱七八糟的碎皮革和鞋带在地毯上散了一地。我的一只运动鞋的鞋跟被咬得七零八落,还有我那双全新的罗马鞋的鞋底也被咬得乱七八糟,客厅其他家具下面到处散落着碎屑。
   “你都干了些什么?”我大叫,希望她能给我个解释。我迅速冲到楼上,来到卧室,结果发现衣橱旁边那堆要洗的脏衣服明显有被翻过的痕迹。我的另一只运动鞋被扔在一边,幸免于难。
  我突然意识到,摩卡一定是把我藏在衣橱后面的那五双鞋都翻出来肆虐了一番,并以此为乐。想到这儿,我只觉血往脸上涌,气得双颊直发烫。我那双崭新的亮面凉鞋、一双后绑带坡跟鞋、一双红色漆皮芭蕾平底鞋、一双罗马鞋、一双运动鞋,还有我的游泳裤,都被她毁得面目全非。
  我气冲冲地跑下楼,站在摩卡跟前——这时候她已经在楼梯底下蹲着了。
   “你竟然吃了我的鞋!”我朝她大吼,气愤地用食指指着她的脸。她一动也没动。
   “你知不知道你都干了些什么?我没鞋可穿了——你把它们都吃了!”是的,我在朝一只狗大喊大叫,但天晓得我连觉都没得睡,那一刻挫败感彻底击溃了我。我一下子扑到沙发上,眼泪刷地流了出来,顺着脸颊往下淌。摩卡还是待在原地没动,这可是破天荒头一回。

  As the reality of the situation began to set in, so did the fear about all that Mocha had eaten: leather, shoelaces, plastic—these couldn’t be good for a dog. I jumped off the couch, stuffed my pocket with plastic bags, grabbed her leash and took her into the nearby woods for what would be the first of many trips throughout the evening, each leaving more evidence of what had occurred that day.
   I’ll admit that for the rest of my stay with Mocha, I never gave her any more affection than a pat on the head. I was bitter, resentful and disappointed that my first attempt at dog ownership had failed. I wasn’t cut out21) for the lifestyle and sacrifices that come with having a dog. Early-morning and late-night walks, destruction of property and a lingering pooch22) smell on my clothing were not big sellers.
   And so I learned my lesson, and will settle for being close friends with a dog owner. I can get my fix whenever the pang of envy occurs, then return home to my sleeping, boring, fat cat. She may not play fetch, but at least she doesn’t have the same taste in chew toys.

  慢慢地,我回过神来,开始接受眼前发生的一切,这时我也开始担心摩卡吃的那些东西:皮革、鞋带、塑料——这些都不是狗该吃的东西。我跳下沙发,往口袋里塞了几个塑料袋,一把抓起拴在她颈上的皮带,带着她去了附近的树林,而这不过是当晚的第一次树林散步。那天晚上,我们来来回回地往树林里跑了好多回,每一回都留下了些证据,证明摩卡那天都吃了些什么。
   我承认,在那之后和摩卡住在一起的日子里,我没有给过她更多的关爱,最多也就是拍拍她的脑袋。这是我第一次试着养狗,结果却以失败告终,这让我感到既痛苦又愤怒,还对自己感到失望透顶。我没法适应养狗所带来的生活方式的改变和所需要付出的牺牲。一大清早就要带她去散步,深更半夜还得陪她出去遛弯儿,她会破坏家里的东西,而且我的衣服上还总是有一股散不去的狗味,所有这些对我来说一点吸引力都没有。
  这次的经历让我吸取了教训,我决定以后还是别养狗了,有几个养狗的好朋友就行了。每次当我看到别人养狗心生妒忌时,我也能很快调整好心态,然后回家接着伺候我那只整天睡觉、无精打采的肥猫。她也许不会玩捡东西的游戏,但至少她也同样不会对那些咀嚼玩具(译者注:供动物们磨牙玩耍的玩具,文中还暗指常被狗当做咀嚼玩具来玩的物品)感兴趣。
  
   1. puppy n. (常指未满一岁的)小狗
   2. settle for:满足于
   3. pang n. 剧痛,悲痛
   4. lab:即Labrador retriever,拉布拉多猎犬,一种中大型犬类,性情温和、活泼好动、聪明听话、容易训练、忠实主人。
   5. kibble n. 磨成粗粒的食物
   6. waddle vi. 摇摇摆摆地行走,蹒跚而行
   7. full-on:(表最大程度)完全的
   8. workout n. 锻炼,训练
   9. tag n. (儿童的)捉人游戏
   10. it n. (捉迷藏等游戏的) 捉人者,找人者
   11. twitch vi. 抽搐,抽动
   12. be up to sth.:(偷偷地)忙于……;密谋……
   13. loveseat:双人小沙发
   14. gladiator sandals:罗马鞋,也称为角斗士鞋,是一款以各种漆皮或各种彩色皮质拼接并带有精致绑带设计的女鞋。
   15. rummage vt. 到处翻寻,搜出
   16. sling-back:鞋后帮呈带状的
   17. patent n. (=patent leather)漆皮,漆革
   18. shake one’s finger in sb.’s face:用手指指点某人,以表示威胁、警告、责备
   19. get the best of:击败,战胜
   20. put adj. 固定不动的
   21. cut out:安排,计划,派定,规定
   22. pooch n.〈美俚〉狗

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2010-12-27 16:28 编辑:kuaileyingyu
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