It's not about sex--it's about power.

Charlie the dog is having issues with his wang. His dinger. His, as one of my friends vividly described it, “little lipstick.” A few times a day, he’ll leap up, spin wildly about trying to get at his penis, lick it as much as he’s able, and then his hindquarters will thrust away at nothing, while he looks at us as if to say, “Can you [hump] please tell me [hump] just what in tarnation [hump hump] is going on [hump hump humpity]?”

At first we found this hilarious (look at our doggie, humping the air! He thinks he’s people! Humpy people!), then kind of annoying (okay, enough displaying the glistening, unsheathed member to friends and family) then we considered that the licking might indicate a problem. So off to the vet we went, and Charlie was diagnosed with a UTI, and we felt kind of terrible—we were chortling at our dog’s humpiness when all the while he was suffering the kind of pain that we happen to know is not at all chortle-inspiring.

But he’s still doing it, and there is no more UTI. So now we think he’s just figured out a fun new hobby, and wouldn’t you do this, if you could? Wouldn’t you? But the vet is demanding more tests, ultrasounds and blood tests and probably there will be probing, there's always probing, and Charlie does not like probing. We asked, won’t these tests be expensive? And the vet replied, “Only if you don’t love your dog enough,” and we’re supposed to call back but we haven’t.

And now, an unrelated humping-dog story.

Many years ago, when I was the editor of a silly web magazine that no one read (remember those?), my staff and I went to our art director M.’s apartment for the sole purpose of filming her miniature white poodle humping a pillow. For whatever reason, this (female, spayed) poodle had developed an affection for one particular pillow, and she liked to hump it as it slid across M.’s hardwood floors. We decided this would be an amusing addition to a faux-porn edition of the site. The movie, of course, would be entitled “Doin’ it Doggie-Style.” I got paid for this.

While we were there, M.’s sister L. related the story of how they had adopted the dog after its previous owner died of AIDS. L. (who is perhaps not the smartest person I’ve ever met, although definitely the most stoned at any given time) told us all, with not a hint of shame, how she had actually asked a vet if she and her sister could contract AIDS from the dog.

“And you know what the vet told me?” L. said breathlessly, as if she were about to share a fascinating bit of lore. “He told me that this was the stupidest question anyone had ever asked him.” With that she sat back in her chair and beamed, as her little poodle humped its way past her feet.