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?”