The Main Dog and the Back up Dog
I remember once Dave Barry pointing out that most families have a main dog and a back up dog. When my kids were growing up, we had just such a situation, their names were Buddy and Lucy.
There was our main dog, Buddy, a Cocker Spaniel who we bought one afternoon after stopping by the pet shop “just to look.” Buddy had been hard to sell because he was way too big to properly represent his breed in any kind of aesthetic way. I think Buddy might have had the same condition as Clifford except Buddy wasn’t red.
And then there was our back up dog, Lucy, whose parents were purported to be Cairn Terriers. Lucy, however, grew up to resemble a miniature coffee table with bugged out eyes more than she resembled a Cairn Terrier. Lucy’s parents were ahem . . . how to put this . . . brother and sister. We always referred to Lucy as our little Egyptian.
If you were holding Lucy when you opened the front door to find, say, a Jehovah’s Witness or roofing salesmen, Lucy would wait until you were talking and then she’d stick her tongue inside your mouth and then back out again in one smooth, rapid-fire motion — leaving you to wonder if you should acknowledge what just happened to the total stranger or if you should simply ignore it and hope it was quicker than a Jehovah’s Witness’s or Roof Salesman’s naked eye could detect.
Back to Buddy
Now Buddy was horribly sneaky, and horribly horrible at hiding his guilt. Sometimes we would come home to find Buddy with this expression:
which meant that while we were away, Buddy had binged on his favorite, decadent guilty pleasure, the garbage.
One day, we came home to find Buddy with “the look” lying next to an empty package of hot dogs which had previously been thawing on the kitchen counter.
It seems in our absence, Buddy had somehow managed to climb up on a stool jump onto the counter, grab the package of hot dogs then fall off the counter shattering his elbow all in one unsmooth, uncoordinated move. The hot dog package was empty however, — so, knowing Buddy, I’m sure shattering his elbow was well worth it.
We rushed Buddy to the vet and Buddy came home with his leg in a cast up to his armpit The vet gave us strict instructions not to let him run for at least six full weeks.
Of course an hour later, in the joy of the homecoming — my daughter, Nikki, who was two — threw the tennis ball for him and Buddy raced across the back yard as fast as he could to retrieved it for her (bless his heart!). His leg finally healed but he always had a limp.
Buddy also had a strange quirk, when it came to my friend Laura.
Whenever Laura came over, Buddy, who was normally house trained, would poop on the rug right in front of us. One day, Buddy even went so far as to climb up on the dining room chair put his front two paws on the top of it and tip it over into the family room as we sat visiting then, of course, topped off his performance by pooping.
Another time, when Laura was over, Buddy somehow got into the refrigerator vegetable drawer and pulled out a carrot that had a long green stem on it. He brought it into the family room, where Laura and I were visiting and then, with carrot in mouth, topped of his performance by pooping.
Anyway, I think it’s fair to say that Buddy, the main dog, and Lucy, the back up dog, lived their entire lives as though they were auditioning to become the world’s weirdest circus dogs. And oh how we loved them for it!
Until next time . . .I love you