Sometimes I think life must be pretty frustrating for my dog.
Oh, she has it pretty good around here. A warm blanket in every room, tasty animal parts to chew on, three square kibbles a day… come to think of it, the dog’s better off than I am. I can’t even remember the last time I chewed on a tasty animal part. Sometimes I sneak one of the mutt’s Snausages, just out of jealousy.
(Look like Combos. Taste like horse breath. Frankly, it’s a little unsettling.
And probably not the best idea for a marketing campaign.)
Still, I imagine it gets frustrating for our pampered little pooch now and then. Most of her needs are attended to — but if they aren’t, she has only one recourse.
“Of course, we have no way of knowing an ’emergency woof’ from a ‘gee, I bet that retriever’s ass next door smells mighty good right now woof’.”
That’s it. No matter what she wants, she’s limited to a one-trick attention-getter. Oh, she can stare at you first, with an expectant, hopeful furrow in that fuzzy brow of hers. But all that says to me is:
‘Hey. I’m about to need something. If you’re interested in my needs, you should probably wrap up what you’re doing now, so you’ll be properly available and attentive when the time comes.‘
Right. If I were a butler, I might consider that sort of thing. Maybe if I moonlighted as a Wimbledon ball boy. Or was married to a nymphomaniac with ADD. These are situations where prepping frantically to meet an anticipated ‘need’ might be appropriate.
But just because Fido feels a piddle coming on? Canine, please. Don’t let the doggie door smack you in the ass on the way out.
Still, there are times when the mutt has an emergency, and we’d like her to alert us. If she feels a particularly pressing Purina poop brewing, for instance. If, say, the TiVo was on fire. Or if little Timmy fell into a well. Another well.
(Seriously, couldn’t those people just buy bottled water or something and board up those freaking wells? Lassie spent half her time fetching the kid out of those things. It’s just damned lucky the family didn’t have an outhouse, or a septic tank.
I’m beginning to think little Timmy was mildly retarded. Something to keep an eye on in the reruns.)
Of course, we have no way of knowing an ’emergency woof’ from a ‘gee, I bet that retriever’s ass next door smells mighty good right now woof’. That has to be frustrating for our little canine communicator. Sometimes, she’ll fix us with a desperate earnest stare, and lean in close as though she’s explaining something very delicate and important. And what we hear is:
That’s when we play the guessing game with her. Naturally, the dog doesn’t respond to English conversation, outside of a handful of simple commands and any word that rhymes with ‘treat’. We can ask her mostly anything, and whether we get it wrong or get it right or tell her, ‘A sphincter says woof?‘, all we’ll ever get out of her is:
It’s like asking chimpanzees to play Wheel of Fortune. Any genuine progress is purely a matter of luck, and even if the ‘Food and Drink‘ answer happens to be ‘banana’, they’ll never put two and two together. At least the dog doesn’t fling poo during our conversations. Mostly.
The dog does enjoy one advantage with her limited language capabilities, though. If she can’t make us understand, she can never be certain we’ve said ‘no’ to whatever she’s yipping about. If you didn’t know German, could you safely say ‘nein‘ to any proposal? Nein doch! Of course you couldn’t.
So what if the dog is really saying:
‘This bark means if you say the word ‘no’, I’m going to poop on your pillow while you’re at work tomorrow.‘
I don’t speak dog. How would I know? And am I willing to risk terrier turds on my Tempur-Pedic to find out? Hardly.
So maybe the dog isn’t as frustrated as I thought. With one cryptic guttural yowl, she can ‘say’ anything. We can’t refute her, say she never warned us, or indeed decipher anything about what she’s getting at. With her one-woof-fits-all approach to life, she has access to anything she wants.
Unlike me. I’m the fully-enunciating literate articulate one who can explain exactly what I want, and I never get it. Don’t walk in the flower bed, I tell her. Stop chewing up my good shoes, I say. And for the love of Alpo, stop pooping on my pillow!
Does she listen? No. Does she learn? Never. Does she look frustrated?
Not one damned bit.
From now on, I’m taking a page out of the mutt’s book. When I want something, I’ll woof. If I get it, I’ll woof again. If I don’t get it, I’ll woof again. If I get something of equal or greater value in cash, cash equivalents, store credit, or gift cards?
Hey, I’m no idiot. It all comes down the age-old saying: ‘If you can’t beat ’em, woof ’em.’ When the dog barks, I’ll bark back until we’re both hoarse and exhausted and she forgets about what the hell she wanted in the first place. It’s genius.
And if that doesn’t work, I’ll poop on her pillow. Either way, it should be a lot less work than I’m doing now. And that’s something to ‘woof!‘ about.Permalink | 2 Comments