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13 December 2007

Fetch!

Apparently one of our dogs (no, not that one) read the post the other day about Ethan's diaper being filled with Jelly. Seems she had a hankering for some Jelly to go with her peanut butter (don't ask) and made a smorgasbord out of some of Ethan's discarded diapers. What a freakin' mess.

I had a dog that in his early days, he and I were urban pioneers; living the single, downtown lifestyle. We would spend our evenings exploring the nooks and crannies of the mean streets of our large metropolis, off lead (yep, both of us!). Well, he discovered the panoply of items that are available at homeless encampments, including, yes, their bathroom, as austere as it was. So there lay the foundation for a lifetime of fascination and dare I say wanderlust for finding and dining on the fecal matter of homeless people. I'll let that sink in for a moment.

So, in his later, more dignified life, he had a job that rivalled many college graduates: he was trained and deployed regularly as a human remains recovery dog. And he was exceptionally successful at it too. Since I promised to keep it PG rated around here, I won't go into the R-Rated explanation of what happens to decomposing humans, but suffice to say, what is not attached very well on the inside is often, uh, jettisoned to the outside. Anyway, every working dog has issues...some we can live with, some we can't. Thankfully, he and I managed, despite his inner yearning for ... the poop.

But I digress.... (and, you ask, how can I possibly digress from THAT this time??)

We actually do feed our dogs believe it or not. But, like kids, they need activity to calm the busy mind and they need gooey stuff to be out of arms/paws reach. Our pups have not received much attention since Ethan busted out of his Mom and into our hearts. In fact, they have not had much interaction with us since the little booger tried to get out the first time. They each have reacted a little differently. Unlike humans, who are usually jockeying for some position of advantage, dog's are content with a place. Any place. Just as long as it is consistent and well communicated. We human types should be so lucky.

Our omega dog, Sierra, is a pet in the truest sense of the word. Very compliant, very eager to please, and obviously very interested in the Jelly inside Ethan's diaper. As long as she has a place on the bottom of our family's hierarchy, she is happy; genuinely happy. Our other dog, whom Emily nicknamed 'The Moo', is a little more ambitious. She waited a long time to earn the top dog spot in our hierarchy and when our beloved Boomer died, she slid right in with a glint in her eye. Her level of frustration with Ethan's arrival was a little greater until she learned that Ethan is and will be higher than her in the family food chain. Dang-nabbit! you can almost hear her say. Oh sure, she is happy that she has a place, just not happy that she is back to playing second fiddle again. Lucky for us, all she wants is EFOTRBB (Endless Fetching of the Red Bouncing Ball). But like an addict, for her there is never enough E to the FOTRBB.

If I wouldn't have stopped her today, 'The Moo' would have secreted herself in the boxes inside the UPS Truck and gone home with the treat-dispensing driver. She made the effort too, hopping around in the back of the truck on the boxes like the circus monkey I think she secretly wants to be.

Speaking of circus monkey's, I am reminded on many occasions the similarities between dogs and humans. And those who are just learning about me are probably horrified at that seemingly half baked notion. Those that know me, on the other hand, know that my observations and comparisons are well informed. And so it is.

We can learn a lot from dogs (uh oh, here's come that long soliloquy of pop psychology!). Besides the unconditional love, patience (above exceptions granted), low expectations and loyalty, dog's are present. They are in the moment. The only time their eyes glass over is when there is a pork loin on the counter. They are always in the here and now. If you have ever had a dog that you have bonded to, then you know.

Since there are 60 million dogs in the US spread out among 65% of US households, I surmise that a lot of you know the benefits of a dog in the family. So statistically, if you don't have a dog, then your neighbor does. Not all dogs, or people, are so lucky though.

Of the millions of dogs housed in shelters across the United States, over half of them are destroyed each year due to overpopulation. Common overpopulation epidemics are caused by parents buying cute puppies for their kids that grow up to be unmanageable heathens that must be relegated to the back yard. And the dogs must be banished from the family home too. :) Surely we can improve upon our gift giving.

K9 overpopulation is a sad state of affairs any way you look at it. Especially so for the dog on the business end of the lethal injection because he was brought into a world that wouldn't give him a home.

So Sierra's diaper shenanigans were part of what makes her a special, albeit occasionally scorned, part of our family. Note to self: I should remember to keep Sierra out of that room since feeding meat tenderizer to Ethan so his poop is undesirable to the dogs probably won't get by Tonya's eagle eye, or nose.

And finally, if you happen to receive a precocious lab that answers to 'The Moo' delivered by UPS, please send her back. Tell her I promise to play with her more tomorrow.

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