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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Special Delivery

For a while, the Captain of our Kennel discovered he could waylay any latent longings for new experiences in motherhood I might display with the addition of a new pet. Pets aren’t less expensive than children, but in rare cases their obedience training is actually effective. I am now the Angelina Jolie of the animal world. Presently I have six animals representing various cultures lounging on the living room furniture, ringing for takeout.

The cats are no trouble. They thrive on indifference. And aloe plants. Aloe plants that you’ve pampered and promised roomy new pots to if only they will “Live, please, live just one more day!” Shortly after a feline gourmet vegetarian meal, you will discover that fillet of aloe plant makes them puke fancy green spearmint gum-type designs on the new living room plush.

I can also keep up with the Labradors. Chunk a ball down the driveway and they will knit themselves into a scarf trying to be the first to grab it up and chew it like Double Bubble. Big dogs are easy. They know they’re dogs (okay, they also know they’re people and feel entitled to at least half of your sandwich, but that’s another thing entirely.) The thing is, they EXPECT to chase a ball and to be invited outside of the house for personal chores, such as watering topiaries and chasing squirrels. They come in the house to sleep or to help with the vacuuming or to beg for potato chips.

It’s the Dachshund that gives me trouble.

So far she has successfully trained me to retrieve a toy, give her a treat, and dress appropriately for carrying her outside under the umbrella in inclement weather. I’m striving for more complex achievements, but if she thinks I’m good for agility training, she’s going to be disappointed. I’m 51 years old. I don’t always make it safely through the hallway obstacle course on my 2:00 a.m. bathroom expedition. For me, agility is the ability not to trip over shadows and to open the bottle of pain reliever without calling for the Jaws of Life.

Occasionally, I will look down by my chair to find the little darling gazing up at me with the kind of eyes that would make Ebenezer Scrooge sign up as a Salvation Army bell ringer, attempting to assimilate me into her thought processes. Usually I’m not adept at picking up other languages, but now I recognize Dachshund for “play,” “treat,” and “let’s send the big dogs to live with your brother.”

As an added embarrassment, she doesn’t care for clothes like the movie stars' dogs do. Oh, she’s up for sleeping on your new sweater or dragging your soiled underwear through the dining room to pad her bed when company is passing the sugar bowl for tea. But she turns surly if you present her with a set of twinkling reindeer antlers at Christmastime, and no matter how nicely you ask, she won't let you tie the chinstrap in a fetching bow.

She once shunned a beautiful sweater, knitted entirely by the hands of her loving auntie, to shield her from the winter wind. She pulled her head and paws in like a turtle so that trying to dress her was like stuffing a sausage. And I’m quite certain that the thoughts parading through her stubborn Dachshund brain were particularly unladylike. I informed her straightaway that I knew a little Pug that would love to have that sweater, and with one look she invited me to pack it up and send it along special delivery. And the Labradors along with it.

I think I’ll need a bigger box.


Janna Qualman said...

Aw, lovely little girl. Even if she knows just the right moment to embarrass you. ;)

Awesomely funny!

Amy Mullis said...

Yep, leave it up to our kids--even the fuzzy kind--to know just what not to do and exactly when to do it!

Beth Bartlett said...

I love it! My furbabies also know how to train me. I can run for paper towels in five seconds flat after hearing the distinct sound of a cat horking on the couch. ;) Really great post, thanks for cheering my day!

Lisa Dovichi said...

"knit themselves into a sweater to be the first one to get the ball and chew it like bubble gum"

Absolutely hilarious!! I heart you Doodlesnot.. you totally made my day!!! *snickering*

Lisa Allen said...

I know a pug who would be more than happy to take the ungrateful hot dog's sweater! ;-)))

Amy Mullis said...

Lisa! We have the same little pug in mind!