Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lucy - A Dog's Tale

Any dog owner will tell you that their pooch is either a 500 watt shining beacon of canine intelligence, or a dim, 10 watt night light which vaguely illuminates the hall corner you have just metaphorically stubbed your toe upon as you let it out in the middle of the night. Something like that.

Our dog Lucy is in the bright category. As a proud dog person, allow me to list her attributes, which I humbly submit are many.

Her piano playing is good but not spectacular, arpeggios being a continuing source of frustration what with no thumb and all.

She’s handy around the car though – oil changes and such. She tends to get the valves mixed up when we’re doing top end work on an engine, but that happens to everyone.

She’s also in charge of smearing spit around the inside of the windshield when the wipers come on.

Like most owners, I have learned a lot in the years we’ve had Lucy.

For example, I learned that when a dog owner visits the home of someone who doesn’t have a dog, the hosts tend to wryly observe, via deafening glances, how little we tidy up around ourselves while eating. When spilled or sprayed foodstuffs come to rest on the edge of the table or on the floor, normal people actually wipe up this debris when it is noticed. Ha! What fools!

Dog owners never touch these bits since any stray food particle larger than a molecule simply disappears in our house. Instantly. One second something has slipped off our plate, the next there is a wet spot by our elbow and an evil breath odor wafting around the dining nook. Ninja food cleaners.

Our kitchen floors also tend to be much cleaner than a non dog-owners floor, unless you get all weird about how dog slobber is unsanitary or whatever. Dog owners know this belief is utter, well, actually that one’s pretty much true. Dog slobber is disgusting. No question. Especially when it drips from their head like the beast in Aliens, as she stands there, saying with her expression “Hello? Supper? I’m waiting patiently here…and I’ve seen the movie too so get moving before I go get the flame thrower…”

The slobber issue rears its ugly head when it comes to kissing too, and by ‘kissing’ I mean ‘having your face licked with such enthusiasm you think you are being slapped by a warm, wet, fish’. Meanwhile an amused owner comforts the assaultee by loudly proclaiming “She likes you!”

We owners rationalize this behaviour by logically not caring, or by pointing out that a human mouth has just as much bacteria in it as a dog’s. This rationalization goes only so far, though, and does not diminish the fact that, immediately prior to joyfully licking your face, the dog was licking its intimate plumbing apparatus as part of an elaborate and noisy personal hygiene regimen.

Another pleasurable and entertaining aspect of dog ownership is when, while watching TV, your canine senses snack debris on the furniture. Between your legs in fact. There’s nothing quite like a curious nose and firm but gently inquisitive tongue snurfling around in your personal groin region seeking a dropped taco chip. This food debris gets between your legs entirely by accident – or so I tell my wife, who looks at me funny sometimes.

Most of the things I’ve talked about come naturally to dogs. Well, maybe not the engine repairs – she had to take a course for that. But you know what I mean.

Now in addition to what comes naturally, training your dog is very important.

I have trained Lucy such that when she needs to go outside, she gives a little bark. When I hear this sound I run to the door, salivating for some reason, let her out, escort her down the path to the side yard, open the gate, and let her do her thing(s).

When she wants to come back in, she yips again and off I run, out to the gate, where we reverse the process until she is comfortably back inside.

You’ve got to maintain firm discipline with your animal or they’ll just take over.

This column is dedicated to the memory of Lucy, our wonderful Golden Retriever, who died in our arms on Monday, February 15, 2010. She was greatly loved and will be greatly missed.


Anonymous said...

Very nicely said...my condolances David...


michelle said...

i agree with jennifer, very nicely said. I know what its like to lose a pet. Infact we lost our beloved Golden Retriver Duke on April 8th, 2008. Dogs bring so much joy and happiness. I will never forget him. :)