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21.12.04

Dogs v. Cats

I'll admit it. I have two cats, who I absolutely adore, but I am a dog person. I got my first dog when I was two. I don't really remember that much about being two (I think it's just because I have a bad memory and nothing with suppressing anything awful), but I remember my dog. But I could be remembering my dog from when I was 10. You never know with me.

When she died when I was 14, it was quite possibly the worst feeling. We got another dog when I was 17 (same breed. I think some people get loyal to a particular breed.) If I wasn't at work such awful hours, I'd have tons of dogs. Or at least one. But since I have an unpreditable work schedule, having a dog would be unfair, even if I have a four bedroom house that largely goes to waste. So I have the two cats. One who was raised around my dog and acts like a dog. He might, actually, weight more than most small dogs. (I took him to the vet this morning, he weights 17 pounds, and has to go on a d-i-e-t. Damn...He is also blue right now. Not blue as in depressed because of his diet. Actual, literal blue. He is normally white, but he leaned against the blue wet point. D'oh!)

But anyway, back to my point, which is, my love of all things dog, explaining why this article cracked me up.
Man's best friend is always ready
DAVE BARRY

I'm trying to convince my wife that we need a dog. I grew up with dogs, and am comfortable with their ways. If we're visiting someone's home, and I suddenly experience a sensation of humid warmth, and I look down and see that my right arm has disappeared up to the elbow inside the mouth of a dog the size of a medium horse, I am not alarmed. I know that this is simply how a large, friendly dog says: ''Greetings! You have a pleasing salty taste!''

I respond by telling the dog that he is a GOOD BOY and pounding him with hearty blows, blows that would flatten a cat like a hairy pancake, but which only make the dog like me more. He likes me so much that he goes and gets his Special Toy. This is
something that used to be a recognizable object -- a stuffed animal, a basketball, a Federal Express driver -- but has long since been converted, through countless hours of hard work on the dog's part, into a random wad of filth held together by 73 gallons of congealed dog spit.

''GIVE ME THAT!'' I shout, grabbing an end of the Special Toy. This pleases the dog: It confirms his belief that his Special Toy is the most desirable item in the universe, more desirable even than the corpse of a squirrel. For several seconds we fight for this prize, the dog whipping his head side to side like a crazed windshield wiper. Finally I yank the Special Toy free and hold it triumphantly aloft. The dog watches it with laser-beam concentration, his entire body vibrating with excitement, waiting for me to throw it . . . waiting . . . waiting . . . until finally I cock my arm, and, with a quick motion I . . .

. . . fake a throw. I'm still holding the Special Toy. But WHOOOSH the dog has launched himself across the room, an unguided pursuit missile, reaching a velocity of 75 miles per hour before WHAM he slams headfirst into the wall at the far end of the room. This stimulates the M&M-size clump of nerve cells that serves as a dog's brain to form a thought: The Special Toy is not here! WHERE IS THE SPECIAL TOY??

The dog whirls, sees the toy in my hand and races back across the room. Just as he reaches me, I cock my arm and . . .

. . . fake another throw. WHOOOSH! WHAM! The fake works again! It will always work. I can keep faking throws until the dog has punched a dog-shaped hole completely through the far wall, and the dog will STILL sprint back to me, sincerely believing that THIS time, I'm going to throw the toy. This is one reason why I love dogs.

My wife, who would not touch the Special Toy with a barge pole, is less impressed. She fails to see the appeal of an animal that appears to be less intelligent than its own parasites. Oh, I've tried to explain the advantages of having a dog. For example:

A DOG IS ALWAYS READY. It doesn't matter for what: Dogs are just ready. If you leave your car window open, the dog will leap into the car and sit there for hours. It will sit there for DAYS, if you let it. Because the dog knows that sometimes the car just starts moving, and you have to be ready! Usually the dog will sit in the driver's seat, in case (You never know!) the dog is called upon to steer.

A DOG IS VIGILANT. One time, on a movie set, I watched a small dog walk past a line of six metal light stands. When the dog came to the sixth light stand -- which was EXACTLY the same as the other five light stands -- the dog stopped and began barking furiously at it. The dog would NOT stop. The owner finally had to drag the dog away, with the dog yanking wildly at its leash, still enraged by the light stand. Clearly the dog had detected some hostile intent in this particular light stand, something that we humans, with our inferior senses, were not aware of. We humans were thinking: ''What's WRONG with that dog?'' Whereas the light stand was thinking: ''Whew! That was close!''

These are just a couple of examples of the practical benefits provided by dogs. There are many more, and I have tried pointing them out to my wife, but she doesn't see it. This is why, in our house, we have fish. They're nice fish, but they're not a whole lot of fun. Although they are excellent drivers.
Too funny!! Oh my gosh! I actually do that with my adorable golden retriever. He's 11, so I'm starting to feel guilty about it. He just might be the sweetest dog to ever live. But he isn't the brightest animal ever. Actually, we play Tug Of War with those ropes. You put your hand too close to his mouth, and he gets worried that he will hurt you and he will immediately let go. I mean, the sweetest personality ever. We once had a pet rabbit, and the rabbit could run around and he wouldn't attack it. They would actually curl up and lie together. He has had to deal with both my cats visiting for a month here and there when I was on breaks, then my sister getting a cat, then my brother getting a dog. He went from the only child to the oldest of three. And he never once minded when a new animal came in the house. He is just adorable. The sweetest thing ever.

I have no point to this, if you were waiting for it. I often have no point. It's part of my charm. Or so I tell myself. I'm sure other words spring to your mind...

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