“No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as your dog does.” Christopher Morley
I talk to my dogs all the time. What we talk about depends on what is going on that day. A few days ago I took a close look at Veruka and called her a fat whore. She didn’t care, even though she knows. She barked it off, a total brat.
She is going on a diet soon, if I can help it.
When I lived in Lorain, before I got married, I had two dogs, Niagara and Tonto. Niagara was half-witted, but Tonto was and still is the smartest dog I ever had. She and I talked. We even talked about God. She knew God, as certain as there is day. She knew who had created her.
When I’m in the kitchen I often ask my dogs questions they either can’t or won’t answer. My questions usually start with “How did this happen?” Then I point to whatever is the mess in the kitchen. They never say anything. They don’t want to get in trouble. But I can usually tell who did it.
I’ll walk up to the pack and say, “Who did this? I want to know right now.”
The ones who look around at all the others are not the ones who did it. They’ll look around at the other dogs and then look back up at me. The ones who look down right away are the guilty ones.
While they are getting yelled at, all the other dogs have big grins on their faces.
“Not me, right? I didn’t do it. I’m a good dog.”
Sometimes I have to step right up to them and show them what they did. If they just look at it, “Oh. What’s that?” they didn’t do it. But, if they look away, looking shifty, yes, they are guilty.
One day I did something that was my own fault. I left a bag of garbage on the kitchen floor. They ripped into it.
“Who did that? Get out of my house!”
They all slammed through the back door and into the back yard.
Jackie is our Blue Nose Pit. I’ve started called him ‘Hate the Mama.’ I ask him, “Why do you hate mommy so much?” He never says anything. He moves there, goes there, and I go, why? When I talk to him he thinks I’m playing. He opens his mouth and puts it on my face. He’s a very strange dog.
Whenever I come home he’s got to grab something, his toy, or whatever is close to hand, he’s got to have it in his mouth, and then he bonks me on the nose a few times with whatever is in his mouth.
If I am taking my shoes off, before I have taken the second one off, Jackie has the first one in his mouth and is trying to bonk me with it.
Talking to my dogs about whatever bad thing they’ve done doesn’t always work. That’s when it’s time for action. That’s when it’s time for the spank a heinie spoon.
I grew up with the rule of the wooden spoon. If you did bad, you got the wooden spoon, a heinie on the butt. Growing up, I was definitely scared of the wooden spoon. I hated that thing. I think the lack of spanking is why we have so many little punk kids like we do now with no respect for anything.
Give them the wooden spoon!
My dogs have grown up with the same rule as I did. You do bad, you get the wooden spoon. All I have to do is reach for it and they’re all good all of sudden. If I have to actually put it in my hand, most of the time I just crack it against the wall. They hate the sight and sound of it. They can’t get out of each other’s way fast enough.
Jackie, on the other hand, he gets a crack on the heinie, and he’s back on the move, WORTH IT!
I wouldn’t want that wooden spoon twice!
The squatter who lives in my basement sings to my dogs and his bulldog Louie, who is the dumbest dog I have in the pack. Lou is a good dog, but just stupid. All the dogs dig Kirby. They’re happy somebody is hanging out with them, talking to them. Kirby has been living scot free downstairs and talking to them for close to two years.
His disability checks are finally due to start arriving soon. We’ve depleted our savings taking care of him. He has plans of knocking out our kitchen wall and extending onto the porch once he starts getting his benefits.
“Yeah, that would be great, that would be fantastic, but I don’t know how much money you think you’ll be getting from the government,” I said. “Why don’t we wait until Brian’s business takes off, and we’ll look for a new house, and an in-law suite for you.”
We’re in it for the long haul with Kirby. He’s got nothing and no one. Where is he supposed to go? Who is he supposed to be with? His pothead friends down the street?
Kirby is always telling the dogs what to do. “You’ve been given a command,” he says. Except none of the dogs pay attention to him, including his own dog Louie.
One morning Louie was halfway up the basement stairs barking his head off.
“Get down here now, Lucifer, and stop that barking,’ said Kirby. He calls Louie Lucifer. “You’ve been given a command.”
We all laugh. It’s a kind of joke around our house. “Who did you give a command to?” None of the dogs ever listen to him, including his own dog.
Louie stayed put on the stairs and barked until he was hoarse. In the end he barked himself into not having a voice. That’s when he stopped barking, not before.
Click here to see more writing between fiction and non-fiction by Ed Staskus.