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Tales from the Licked: Devastating Dorkhound
My dog Cookie (breed: Giant American Dorkhound) is outside with her best friend Della (breed: Standard American Dorkhound) having what others call a play date, and I call The Knucklehead Hour.
It goes like this:
At about 9 a.m., Della shows up at the front door, all by herself, and barks. Cookie, who by this time is on her fourth or fifth Power Nap of the day, springs to her feet and runs to the door, where she acts like the Prize Patrol is standing outside ready to present her with a lifetime supply of dog biscuits.
Now, at this point I have a choice. I can leave my upstairs office to let Della into the house, or I can wait until she finds the place in the fence that is just large enough to allow a Standard American Dorkhound to squeeze through.
Usually I wait. I learned this lesson after Della came inside on a day when both she and Cookie had decided to act like Dogs On Amphetamines. They tore through the entire house, tipping wastebaskets, knocking books off shelves, unmaking beds, knocking cushions off the furniture, threatening the breakables and eating part of a box of Cheerios I had neglected to return to the pantry. Total elapsed time: About 13 seconds.
All right, so whether it’s by the indirect route or Della’s underground express, the dogs wind up in the backyard, where they express their doggie joy by:
2. Sniffing each other’s butts.
3. Running some more.
4. Running AND sniffing at the same time.
5. Running, sniffing and barking.
6. Lying down in the garden, next to the tomato plants, where the ground is cool.
7. Jumping up and barking for no apparent reason, knocking over the tomato plants as they resume running and sniffing.
8. Taking a bathroom break, which of course leads to more sniffing, followed by running.
9. Playing tug of war with a stick. Also while running.
10. Ignoring the pan of fresh water I’ve set out for them in favor of the tastier water from the birdbath.
They’ll keep this up until it’s time for Della to go home. Which she’ll do on her own, back through the fence. After which Cookie will ask to be let back into the house for a snack and another of her legendary Power Naps, the better to charge her batteries for when Della comes returns in the afternoon.
And you know, I’d be lying if I didn’t say enjoyed watching them. The operative word is one I used a few paragraphs ago: Joy. When these dogs get together to play, there’s a lot of joy in the air. Also fur and drool. But mostly joy.
I’d have to say that’s been my experience with dogs more often than not. Oh, sure, I’ve run into a few mean ones, but I tend to blame the owners more than the dogs. Mean people make mean dogs.
Most dogs have a great capacity for joy, and are not shy in the least about expressing it. Maybe that’s why dogs are our closest animal companions: Because they can teach us to let our joy out, where it can do some good.
I bet we’d all be happier if we paid attention to the lesson.
Although we should probably skip the part about sniffing.
© 2007 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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