Morning’s the time when my mind likes to play. Not sure what it is about washing my face and brushing my teeth that is zen-like, but many times this is where I get my best ideas.
This is why I’m never far from paper and pen. When those ideas start flowing, they come so fast that it’s difficult to remember them all if I don’t make an attempt to capture them right away.
It was such a morning last week, when I thought how funny it might be to hear my dog describe her job to another dog. Showing a new dog the ropes, what would she have to say about it, and how would she put it to another of her own kind? Well, it might sound something like this…
“Well, each morning the noise box will start making noise. It does this at the same time every day, but you’ll be awake long before that. When it makes the noise, She will roll over and touch it, and it will stop. For awhile. You can try to get Her out of bed then, but it’s likely you won’t. Best to just lay there and wait for the second time the noise comes. If She’s not too sleepy, She’ll hear it right away, but sometimes the noises go on for awhile before She seems to hear it.
If you come over and talk to her softly, She’ll reach out with a hand and greet you with happy morning voice. Here you must act impatient, or She may just roll over, and then you’re stuck for another wait. The more impatient you are, the sooner you get breakfast.
Be careful to let Her go down the stairs first, then race Her to the food room. It’ll only take Her a minute to pull out the food box and scoop you a cup of breakfast. Take your time with it, She’ll wait by the back door and eventually call you Moosie, or Moosehead, which means She loves you very, very much. Oh, and be sure to make a full perimeter check of the food room floor, you just never know what you’ll find. Don’t worry, She’ll wait.
Outside, it’s your job to clear the backyard of all chipmunks, squirrels and rabbits. They’re our sworn enemy. If you can’t reach them, be sure to sit and stare at them without blinking so they are thoroughly intimidated. The bunnies will silently stare back, but the chipmunks and squirrels will yell all sorts of obscenities at you. Do not be daunted. They know you are fierce, and will not step into your sphere of authority.
Once the area is cleared, it’s alright to take care of business, and then lay in the morning sun for awhile. If you are unhappy, go to door, bark once, and wait. She will let you back in and give you a cookie, every time. Unless it’s raining out. If you just look out the door and then back at Her and don’t leave the house, then there is no cookie. You can always ask though, hoomans can be very weak at the strangest moments.
Make sure you guard the door while She prepares in the potty room for work. If you hear a thump, you must sound the alarm and run around the house warning the intruder, even though you have no idea where they are.
What’s really weird is the same guy shows up most mornings, drops some paper into our porch box, and then leaves without even saying hello. He’s so rude! I bawl him out each time. The nerve of that guy!
When it’s time for Her to go to work, She’ll give you the same treat each day. She thinks it distracts you from Her leaving, so I let Her think it does. Once you have the house to yourself, feel free to nap on the couch, in the sunroom, or if it’s a warm day, the basement is the best. Again, any strange thumps, sound the alarm.
If you’re really lucky, the day will include a trip to the big dog park. You will know it’s coming because She always takes the same things before we leave. The leash, a hanky, the poop bags, the phone, Her keys, and a water bottle.
It’s a long ride there, but you get to hang your head out the window on the way and everyone says sweet things to you at stoplights.
You can do almost anything you want at the dog park, and She will check in with you occasionally. Keep an eye on Her so She doesn’t get lost. Make sure to check in with Her about half way around so you can get some good butt rubs in. She gives the best butt rubs ever! Plus She will tell you how great you are, and how much She loves you.
Sometimes She will hide on you, and you have to find Her. It’s a lot of fun, I taught Her that game. She’s pretty smart and catches on easily.
After the dog park, we sometimes take the long way home. My favorite is when we drive past the big manure farm! I just can’t get enough of that stuff. Oh, and if you’re lucky, She’ll stop and get some hot potato sticks from a person in a window filled with wonderful smells, and share them with you.
On the days we can’t get to the dog park, we take a walk. She’s usually pretty good about it, but if She spends too much time at the glow box, you’ll have to remind Her it’s time to take a break. She really likes to tap those little square pegs at the glow box, sometimes for hours.
Remember, it’s your job to keep Her in line. She knows a few words, so when She says ‘dog walk,’ make sure you confirm it’s the right word by running back and forth in the house while She finds Her shoes and jacket. Add in some silly hops and other crazy moves, it makes Her laugh, and you’ll love to hear Her laugh. She might even call you Goofy, another sign She loves you a lot.
Don’t let Her go too fast on the walk. Make sure She stops enough so that there is no way Her heart rate can go up whatsoever. That way you can smell the maximum number of smells. If you’re good at it, She’ll get distracted and you can get almost double the smelling stops in before She catches on.
If it’s cold out the walks will be short, and if it’s nice out they will be long, and sometimes along the water. Be sure to check each and every passing hooman for food. Sometimes they have some and don’t even know it! They’re so silly.
Back home, you’ll get supper and then get to relax for awhile. The front porch is a good place to watch other peoples going by. Make sure to bark for no reason to keep them guessing, and once in awhile run out into the driveway barking madly. It’s important to make sure no one ever figures out your evaluation system, and it also freaks the bunnies out pretty badly. I love that.
When it’s bedtime, She will tell you. But before you head upstairs, She’ll offer you a belly rubz. They are awesome, and She will rubz much more than just your belly. You will get a shoulder and back massage, a long head rub and even a chin scratch! When She’s all done, She will gently kiss your paws and tell you what a sweet dog you are.
Follow Her upstairs and wait in the spare bedroom until She’s done in the potty room. Hoomans really like the potty room a lot and spend a lot of time there.
When She crawls into bed, it’s okay to come in and lay on the floor next to the bed. It’s the best place to protect Her from anything that might happen during the night, and a great spot for Her to hear all your snoring.
Just after She turns out the light, She will settle in and then you will hear Her softly say, “Good Night, Miss K.”
It will make you feel very, very loved. I tell you, these hoomans are a lot of work, but they’re sure worth it.”
Originally published April 21, 2017, in the Portage County Gazette.