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Chill Beats For Your Dog

Drew's Cool Golf Revue
Chill Beats For Your Dog
By Drew Millard • Issue #7 • View online
Or more specifically, my dog.

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of Drew’s Cool Golf Revue. Sorry it’s been a while since I sent one of these out, but I’ve been doing other stuff. 
A couple weeks ago my friend Charlie and I made our regular trip to Tobacco Road down in Sanford to get our asses kicked by a golf course. It was great. I shot a 45 on the front, thanks to me pointlessly trying to hit my driver on a couple holes where I should have gone with a four-iron or whatever, some less-than-thrilling wedge play, and a few blown putts including one that rolled up a hill only to roll back down so far that it came to rest slightly further back from where I’d originally hit it from. It felt like something out of Duck Soup. On the back, though, I shot a 42 — my personal best on a single nine there — because I kept the holes where I completely forgot how to play golf down to a minimum, and got lucky enough to place a pair of blind approach shots to within five feet of the pin and ended up with birdie both times. 
Ever since then, obviously, I’ve been playing like shit. 
The point, though, is that whenever I leave, which I have been doing a lot lately because I’m writing a book about golf and that’s sort of this constant reason to go play golf, one of our dogs goes nuts. The dog is named Nora. Here is a picture of her bullying our other dog Percy.
nora (fearless) on the left; percy (terrified) on the right
nora (fearless) on the left; percy (terrified) on the right
Nora is a Pomeranian-ish mix, or at least we think she is. She’s around eight, and I’ve had her since she was two. She is very attached to me, and I love her unconditionally in the same way that the parents of the second-grade bully love their child unconditionally — because the dog/child is mine/theirs, and I/they see the beauty and perfection and kindness they are capable of displaying and sometimes even do display in surprising moments of tenderness to be cherished forever, these little snowflakes of goodness that far too quickly melt and are replaced by a steady drone of absolute fucking asshole behavior. But you keep on loving them, harder and harder, because the goodness is there, deep down, and the things that cover it up on a day-to-day basis aren’t really their fault and if it’s anyone’s fault it’s definitely yours.
With a child, this probably means you have to take the kid to therapy or something, but since Nora’s a fluffy little dog, we mostly just laugh at her attempts to play Machiavelli with Percy and the neighbor’s German Shepherd. 
Before I got Nora, she had puppies, and she and her little dog family lived under a house. This, I think, has a lot to do with why she is how she is. She likes to hang out under the couch and the bed, in my closet draped across nearly forgotten pants she’s managed to work off their hangers and onto the floor. If you try to get her out of these places, she snarls and snaps and isn’t joking around about it.
Her first instinct is protecting us and the house from all threats, real but mostly imagined, and last summer she decided that a big bag of potting soil in the backyard belonged to her and would spend hours laying on it and defending it from our neighbors, whose potting soil it actually was. Whenever she wants a thing, she starts barking, and she doesn’t stop until we either figure out what it is that she wants or we ignore her for like 30 minutes. It causes me genuine pain that I can’t explain to her that everything is okay now, we have provided the food and toys and walks and attention that she needs and will continue to do so, and also it’s actually our job to protect her and not the other way around. 
Again, this is a 15-pound dog we’re talking about who’s so cute and silly and strange that this is all mostly pretty endearing. The only genuine issue we have with her is the thing with her barking for like four hours straight whenever I leave the house. She barks in shrill, staccato triplets, at about the tempo of a Bloc Party song, usually until I get back. My girlfriend, for understandable reasons, has told me multiple times that this “drives her to insanity,” especially if she’s working, and especially especially if she’s on deadline. She has made multiple recordings of Nora’s outburst and sent them to me. I was going to embed one of them but I couldn’t figure out how, so instead, here’s an old picture of some dudes playing golf.
barkbarkbark! barkbarkbark!
barkbarkbark! barkbarkbark!
At some point, we asked a trainer what we should do. She said we needed to be the boss of Nora so she doesn’t feel so responsible for us, which seems like sound, reasonably actionable advice. Except it isn’t, because Nora has a will of tungsten-reinforced steel and when it comes to her barking we both have wills about as strong as those cardboard straws that start disintegrating into your iced coffee while you’re a third of the way through.
Then the internet told me to desensitize her to me leaving by putting her in a comfortable room with a bully stick and one of my shirts for a few minutes at a time, longer and longer until she’s fine with me being gone for hours, but that only works for like thirty minutes and then she lets loose. 
So that’s thing one. Thing two is lately we’ve been getting into those dumb Chill Lo-Fi Beats To Relax And Study To videos on YouTube, because listen man we just became eligible for the vaccine down here, we’re running out of shit to do and I refuse to figure out how Clubhouse works. Sometimes it’s nice to put on some music whose entire purpose is to be ignored. Besides, the part of me that bypasses rational thought thinks there’s a direct link between Chill Lo-Fi Beats To Relax And Study To and “library music” as defined by music obsessives, in that this is music that exists exclusively to serve a commercial purpose, and if you give it enough time, the fact that it’s a document of what people in a specific time and place believed was an idealized and aestheticized blandness turns it into art. The fact that a lot of the CLFBTRAST stuff is kinda vaporwave-y only strengthens my case, because snake, tail etc. 
Eventually, thing one, i.e. Nora’ barking, got so bad that out of desperation, I started leaving her in our den with random “Music for Dogs” videos playing in the background. The first time I did it, Nora’s face went slack, as if all it took to release the tension she held inside her was three DRM-free synth chords. The music is calming to the point that it’s barely there; I’ve got it on right now and keep forgetting it’s even playing. But my dog loves stuff like this:
I spent five minutes googling this phenomenon, and it turns out that calming music actually does calm dogs down. Classical music works at first, but they they get sick of it after a couple days. Apparently jazz sticks for a little longer, and they like reggae and soft rock even more than jazz or classical. So I guess the next time I leave the house, I’m going to see how she likes Aja.
This has been Drew’s Cool Golf Revue. Please forward this to your dog, and please consider signing up for a paid subscription. All proceeds of paid subscriptions will go directly to Nora.
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