"Would you stop?" Ed would cry from the bedroom. "It's time to go to bed."
"Just a minute," I'd say. Then I'd poke the dog's toenails again.
"For the love of God," Ed shouted. "It's midnight! You've been poking at him for two hours! Can you leave him alone? I'm calling the humane society and turning you in."
"All right, all right. I'll come poke at you for a while."
Into the bedroom went I to pay attention to my boyfriend. But not before kissing the dog about eighty more times.
Yes, we had tamed the lion. I could rub my dry nose against Wallace's wet one. I could now stick my fingers in his mouth. I could get him to show me his bottom teeth, which I called "teefs" because they were so baby-like and non-threatening and cute. "Let me see those little teefs" became the Wallace phrase of the week, followed by Ed's refrain: "Could you stop sticking your hands in his mouth?"
No, I could not.
I taught Wallace the command "Show us your teefs." Then I taught him to roll over and "show us the belly." This was a posture of submission, you may recall, he had not been willing to assume unless it was by force. We taught him next to shake hands with other people, which he did grudgingly, like a businessman being forced to make a deal. So in other words, Wallace was becoming a circus act. But so what? Poking at my dog was my favorite thing in the world to do.