Thursday, September 24, 2009

Who Let The Dogs In


I’m the owner of two worthless dogs, and that’s the truth.

Phoebe the boxer gets a pass because, as I’ve said before, she’s old and opted for retirement a couple of years ago. Though she knew how to do lots of things in the past, now I only have two rules for her: Don’t die and don’t pee in the house. She’s better at one than the other.

When we go on walks and she jumps on strangers and tries to lick their face, I no longer jerk her chain to pretend she’s in training. Her face is all gray, what could she possibly be training for? So I just shrug and leave the strangers to struggle and gasp. It’s their look out now.

Albert the lab, on the other hand, has no excuse, other than a capacity that has been diminished since birth. I realized the other day, as I told him to heel for the 3 billionth time, this is probably as good as it gets. He’ll strain on the leash, I’ll say “heel,” and he’ll jump back in position with a big dumb smile that answers, “Oh yeah, heel, sorry, forgot.” And then not 5 seconds goes by when he’s not straining again. So I’ve taken to adding a second word to the instruction: “Heel, Stupid.”

Albert can’t heel, guard, or chase rats. He’ll never save me from a burning building or Timmy from the well. He knocks me over when he runs into the house, and knocks me over when he runs out of the house. On command, he can’t sit, lay down, or shake. What he can do is shed. You know that old Peanuts character, Pig Pen, who walked around in a cloud of dirt? Albert walks around in a cloud of black hair and dander. You can wash him (at your peril), but his hair amazingly grows back within minutes. And now the hair is not only in every crevice and piece of fabric in the house, it’s also damp.

My friend Margaret has a dog that is snagging trophies for intelligence and agility. If her Scout were human, he’d be weighing both athletic and scholastic scholarships. If Albert were human, his ambitions would be more modest. I’d have to explain to him why changing oil at the local Jiffy Lube is a beautiful dream, but probably beyond his grasp.

I was thinking about this as I picked up all the tennis balls and plastic bones that Albert had dropped over the partition into the room where my little rescued rabbit lives. Albert constantly rains toys on the poor thing's head, hoping for some kind of quick pick up game, though the little guy has never shown any inclination to play chase, tag, or fetch. Instead, the rabbit just looks up and sighs for the 3 billionth time, “Easy with that baseball, stupid.”

35 comments:

  1. Gotta' love 'em.

    I once had two airedales at the same time. The first, Spring, was uncharacteristically docile. She learned to walk on leash and heel after the first lesson. I strutted around like a proud parent, but soon learned that her behavior had nothing to do with me.

    Rexie never got the hand of it. I did the "corrective jerk" all the way around the block and the only thing it accomplished was making me look like a jerk.

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  3. Albert is smart enough to know that, with a face like that, he can get away with most anything.

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  4. I'm glad the local dogs are making sure they get some blog time on their slaves blogs.



    These dogs are probably asking, who let the homo sapien into our home?!

    All this jumping on strangers is hard to believe. I trust if they jumped on the wheelchair bound you woodn't allow that.

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  5. OK, I know this not a competition, but here is a photo of my bed in The Bunkhouse last year...

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3587/3665540696_f5b735a2a8_o.jpg

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  6. Maybe your friend's dog--Scout, is it?-- is the exception. Or might be a robot. Or alien. You got two of the good-earth, real dawg-dogs.

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  7. Phoebe sounds like my elderly girl cat, Miss Digit. She's is allowed everything even though she has "accidents". On the other paw, Albert's idiot cousin lives at my house. His name is Ranger. Last night we went for a walk and he began drifting in front of me, moving ever so slowly to the left side. Over and over and over. Which horrified me because he is HABITUAL. Once he gains a habit, nothing will break it except for slabs of meat, which he's not going to get. So now,I'm going to have to call him Drifter. Which he won't answer to. And I just bought him a new bed.

    wv tintooze

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  8. I love Phoebe and Albert! I think we have their brothers... besides damn dog fur everywhere, we collect DUST. Back yard dust from the 'cattle path' in the backyard. Where did the grass go? And why do the dogs run so much? Oh, because the sun is up - and then the moon is up - and then the leaves are blowing - and what else can make us run silly? Oh, the tennis ball...

    Thanks for the smile and for making me feel like my dogs aren't alone in this world, and neither am I.

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  9. Susan, I know. I wasn't good with dogs, I was lucky. Until Big Al.

    Keith, spoken like the true photographer you are.

    CO, we know whose side you're on.

    Greg, I love it. Did you let the goat sleep in your bunk?

    Banjo, easy for you to say, living 2,000 miles northeast of Albert.

    PJ, Miss Digit is one of the all time great names. Is Ranger a dog? Did you try walking him on your left side? Seriously. Many dogs will only walk on one side of you and not the other. Then again, what do I know?

    Brenda, we have much in common, including a long dirt trail running through the back yard where nothing will ever grow again.

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  10. God that was funny. From beginning to end.

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  11. Greg, I'm sure that isn't an Adams Pack Station goat.

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  12. Hahahaha!! Our cat Fatso is nearly 19. He reminds me of Phoebe. We also hope he won't die and won't pee in the house. Touch wood, the former is working thus far. And thanks to the blessings of litter trays, we're having conditional luck with the latter - his intention is good, but his execution has been lacking since his mental faculties went to party with Albert's and never came back. If you find them, Hiker, can you send them home? Much appreciated...

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  13. I like to think of Scout as the child I never had.

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  14. Oh my. I think I'm a little bit in love. With both of them. That photo is too precious for words. Albert's efforts to play with the rabbit and welcome him as one of the pack is a very endearing quality. Poor bunny, perhaps you should fit him with a little helmet.

    I so love your posts. :o))

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  15. You are probably t(w)o kind to / of them.

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  16. I agree with K and Ken. What a great way to start my day today.

    My dog Misty tends to look at my other dog Molly the same way your bunny looks at Albert. In fact, I think Albert and Molly might be soulmates.

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  17. Maybe oil change apprentice?

    GG

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  18. Yes, Miss Digit is one of a kind, named for her large opposable thumbs. Ranger is my rescued pooch, literally. He was living in a culvert and starving to death and had probably been abandoned at an early age so he's not well socialized. Your description of commands to Albert are spot on and I think they must be twin sons of different mothers.
    He has always walked on the right side while I face traffic and I want to keep him there or he'll be on the right-of-way investigating anything and everything and then really, what's the point of taking me for a walk? Sigh. I'm glad you see the humor in all this to remind us what fun they really are.

    wv lorical

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  20. Either John and I are great dog trainers or Boz is a genius. Or lucky?

    We may have to wait and see, next time around. It's a thought I can't bear.

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  21. There should be a Phoebe and Albert Museum!

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  22. Hands-off dog-parenting. I love it.

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  23. That is the sweetest picture. Albert may be thick as a brick but he makes me laugh.

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  24. WEll I feel your pain, I have had a golden, B axter, and a part Brittany spaniel, Lucy. My girls claim that I can take a perfectly good pup and turn them ( allow them?) to become fish eyed fools. I'm guilty as charged. I can whoop and classroom full of third graders into shape by the second day of school, but I can't make a dog do a damn thing. Well I don't have a dog now and that's why the welcome mat is still out for Albert or Phoebe to give you a little R and R. If you could wait till Albert is through shedding, somewhat, that would be good. I'll leave the light on.
    V
    PS I don't want the rabbit. I don't like the raisinettes.

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  25. AHAHAHAH nice dogs. Wow, I think your dogs for Pasadena are like painters in FLorence durind the Renessaince

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  26. You might like to read "The Dog" on my blog. TJ was pretty smart, sort of.

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  27. I like how most of you have intellectually challenged animal in the house.

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  28. Ahem, I wunder who was the dog who did the dog training.

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  29. Had a found Jack Russell who responded to "oh, you're a bad dog".
    Little Dottie takes me everywhere. She has such a good eye for scenery. Almost all the pictures I take, Dottie has led me to the scene. What a nose for art. And all the while you'd think she was just interested in mice and squirrels.

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  30. At least Phoebe once had skills. My dog's much more like Albert, seemingly clueless and friendly, but now she's old, too, and even the two rules you cite are more like loose guidelines for her. On reflection, she's been much more successful in training us to do what she wants, than the other way around, so maybe she's just Machiavellian.

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  31. Gus is my brilliant and devoted Jack Russell. His only indulgence is chasing squirrels, as he has been bred to do.

    So I got bold and got another.

    Fiona chases plant material. If it's got chlorophyll, it's a goner. Completely uninterested in rodents, she's my vegetarian-ratter. For Fiona, "go-to-ground" means digging for tubers.

    Go figure.

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  32. Let us just make it easy – and go for the baseball game!

    I don’t know the rules, but who cares.

    I can only say you are a bunch of lovely people here: AH, CO, CP etc.

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  33. Hi Karin,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog. Yes! Zulu is a beautiful dog and 99% of the time, he is obedient. Being a Portuguese Water Dog, well and truly acquired before Obama's pet, he is non-allergic and non-shedding, hair not fur, which is absolutely fantastic. He gets so excited, he is in a hurry to go everywhere and be there first and therefore pulls on lead. We have stopped that by using a halter lead that fits round the neck and over the muzzle. Just brilliant. I enjoyed reading your post and had a bit of a chuckle. Zulu knows the furniture is out of bounds.

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  34. Um, I hate to state the obvious, but you're giving us too much good stuff for free. The picture is the perfect complement to your description, too.

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