December 31, 2008

“Do dogs have a new year?”

—Yes, but we don’t use the same day you do. We find it kind of ridiculous that you folks pick what is often a cold miserable lousy day to celebrate.

“You might have something there.”

—The canine belief is that if you can’t do it outdoors, something’s missing.

“Makes sense. So what day is the dog’s new year?”

—Sorry, can’t tell you: privileged information.

“What? A top secret dog day?”

—I don’t make the rules.

“What difference would it make if I knew what day your new year’s was?”

—Sorry, can’t tell you that either.

“Oh, come on.”

—Sorry, I probably shouldn’t have even admitted we had a different day.

“I can’t believe this.”

—That’s the way it is. Deal with it.

“So, anything else you want to discuss?”

—Later, maybe. It was a rough night and I really need to take a nap.

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December 30, 2008

“My, you’re awfully needy today: just lie down.”

—But I haven’t received my Daily Morning Ear Scratch Minimum Requirements.

“There are requirements?”

—Absolutely: scientifically tested and proven amounts of ear scratching that ensure that your dog remains healthy and alert.

“I had no idea.”

—Well, until today, you’ve been doing your job adequately.

“My job?”

—Um, you know what I mean.

“And no, you are not going to get any of my Mountain Bar: chocolate is bad for dogs.”

—I don’t think so. In fact, I’m pretty sure there are Minimum Requirements for that, too.

“And now you’re stretching things past the point of credibility. And lie down! I scratched your ears already.”

—You missed a spot.

December 29, 2008

[Editor’s Note: The winter of 2008 saw record amounts of snow; at times, 2 or 3 or 4 feet of the stuff blanketed the area. It was a nightmare.]

“Liking all this snow?”

—Not really, since it makes patrolling extremely difficult.

“Yeah, you were quite a sight bounding about, sinking up to your neck.”

—I gave it my best effort.

“We were impressed, and quite amused.”

—I’m so glad I was entertaining.

“You’re just an all-purpose dog, delightful in every way imaginable.”

—You’re welcome. Now if you’ll excuse me . . .

“Ah, time for a nap already?”

—A dog’s gotta do what a dog’s gotta do: wake me if a biscuit starts using my name.

“Will do.”

December 23, 2008

—I can’t believe it! This snow is destroying the routine! You’re all leaving me! I’ll be all alone! Freezing in the snow! Oh woe! Woe! WOE!

“Oh hush up. You’ll be fine. The Boy will still be here, and you’ll be inside. Get a grip.”

—Woe?

“Hush.”

—Biscuit?

“Don’t push it, pal.”

December 22, 2008

“So where were you hanging out when I came in from blowing snow?”

—Nowhere special.

“It was strange because usually you greet me at the door.”

—Um, yeah, sorry about that.

“You seem a little reluctant to chat . . . you were camped out on the bed, weren’t you?”

—No, no, I was . . . um . . . patrolling the . . . uh . . . back rooms.

“Meaning the bedroom, since the office door is closed, which probably means you were snoozing on the bed.”

—Not at all, just being vigilant, as usual.

“You sure were taking up a lot of space on the bed last night.”

—Just trying to maximize my warming effect.

“I see.”

—Spreading out spreads the joy, don’t you know.

“I do now.”

—Another service of your fierce but loyal dog: versatile, vibrant, vigilant, and vicious.

“What’s that, a new slogan?”

—Yes, I’ve been doing some market-testing of the 4-Vs motto.

“Vicious? Not exactly comforting.”

—Well, I meant vicious to intruders and other enemies.

“I’m not sure that’s exactly clear.”

—Okay, I’ll continue the refining process.

“You do that . . . and stay off the bed.”

December 19, 2008

“And when I leave, should I put you outside? I said, should I put you outside? . . . Are you pretending that your supersensitive dog ears can’t hear a simple question?”

—Were you talking to me?

“Yes.”

—Sorry, I must have been so exhausted from working yesterday . . .

“Working? You were inside most of the day, though admittedly it must have been difficult wading through all that snow when we let you out to do your . . . chores.”

—That was indeed difficult, but I’m referring to all the energy I expended being worried about all of you out there in the cold.

“Hold on, working equals being worried?”

—Absolutely! You have no idea how tiring it is being the ever-vigilant, fierce but loyal (Barkmark still pending) dog pacing the house back and for and back and forth while those he has sworn to protect—even with his own life—are trapped in an icy slippery world of darkness . . .

“Okay, okay, I get the picture, though probably you expend more energy coming up with your overwrought speeches.”

—Well, that takes some doing also . . . which reminds me, given how cold it is, shouldn’t you be doubling my rations and biscuits?

December 17, 2008

“So, if it isn’t Mr. Presumptuous Dog.”

—What do you mean?

“I mean, I wake up this morning and you’ve decided it was okay to jump on the bed and take a snooze.”

—It was only for your protection.

“Uh huh, and how do you figure that?”

—Well, there was room on the bed because you two were huddled together, presumably to keep warm; I was just adding my body heat to the equation to prevent you from freezing to death.

“How generous of you.”

—Plus, just in cast a home invasion happened, I’m certain that no criminal would dare harm you upon finding a “fierce but loyal” (Barkmark Pending) dog on the bed ready to do battle.

“Wait . . . Barkmark Pending? What’s that?”

—The canine version of trademark, of course.

“Oh, of course. How does that work?”

—Admittedly, it is a cumbersome process, since it has to travel bark by bark, but basically it works like your copyright: you don’t have to register a copyright for it to be binding, you just have to announce it, right? By indicating somewhere that this or that is copyrighted?

“True.”

—Same with Barkmarks. You bark your claim to at least three witnesses and then they’re supposed to pass it along, but even if they don’t, you’re still covered.

“And there’s a Dog Court somewhere that enforces this . . . barklarkey?”

—Theoretically.

“Theoretically?”

—Before we canines decided to abide with you humans, things were a little more organized.

“In various packs?”

—Yes, exactly. Living the way we do now has sort of broken down the traditional way of doing things, but we like to maintain a semblance of the old ways when we can.

“Got it. Well, fierce but loyal dog, I’ve got to do some de-icing, particularly now that the snow is falling.”

—You won’t be long?

“Quit worrying: I’m not putting you outside.”

—That’s a relief.

“I’m sure. Guard that furnace well, now, okay?”

December 16, 2008

[Editor’s Note: The extreme cold weather continues.]

—Yes, it’s cold, but it’s not that big a deal, really.

“Says the dog who gets to stay inside all day.”

—It’s not required. I could survive outdoors, but it is appreciated.

“I was kidding you. No way we’d force you to meet zero degree temperatures with that raggedy fur coat of yours.”

—Raggedy? I have a fine glossy coat, I’ll have you know.

“I was just referring to all the pieces of your fine glossy coat that you leave all over the house.”

—Oh, well glossiness needs to be constantly renewed, you know, refurbished, if you will.

“Understood, but couldn’t you leave all the old pieces outdoors and not on the kitchen floor.”

—I have very little control over such things.

“Obviously. Well, time for me to go. And time for you to start patrolling.”

—What? But . . . what?

“Just kidding.”

—Oh. Of course. So was I.

“Obviously.”

December 15, 2008

“You won’t have to go outside much today. Because of the cold.”

—Thank you thank you thank you.

“Yeah, but that doesn’t mean you get to spend the whole day with your head in my lap.”

—It doesn’t?

“No.”

—There’s a certain inequity in all this that I find disturbing.

“Well, get used to it.”

December 11, 2008

“Looking a little concerned there, aren’t we Muffin Licker?”

—No, and I’m not a Muffin Licker.

“Only because we haven’t had any muffins around here recently.”

—I never am.

“Okay, use a little denial if that will make you feel better. Anyway, as soon as I finish this note, I’m outta here and you’re outta the house.”

—Not again.

“Sorry, but we want to make sure all of your intestinal activity takes place outdoors . . . and don’t pretend there isn’t a lot of activity. If you want to deny muffin-licking, fine, but own up to the three-a-days.”

—I’m just going to lie here and attempt to store up some heat. When are you coming back?

“It’ll be very late: the sun will long be gone.”

—Oh no.

“But’s supposed to snow, so it’s possible we’ll be unable to get back at all.”

—Oh no.

“We’ll do our best, though.”

—An extra biscuit for heat-generating calories? Please?