Monday, January 7, 2013

Sweet, but DUMB

Let's play KEEP!

For the life of me, I thought we were safe. Surely none of the animal rescue shelters would be pawning off dogs at the local pet store the Sunday after Thanksgiving. It would be a simple mission of ducking into the store, buying a bone for Mrs. Poynor’s dog and mosey on home. Bad call on my part.

“Oh, look,” Mrs. Poynor said in poorly feigned astonishment, “one of the shelters is here. And look, they have a Labrador.”

“That’s nice,” I replied, walking on quickly. “The bones are on the other side of the store. We’ll just grab one and…” My voice trailed off when I realized I was talking to myself.

My wife has been operating under the mistaken impression that I have been pining away for another big dog since we had to euthanize our chocolate Lab, Cadbury, over a year ago. I returned to the front of the store to find my wife sitting on the floor, hugging a large, black dog. 

“Her name is Missy. She’s a lab and only two years old and is really sweet and housebroken and is good with other animals and likes people and doesn’t drool.”

A new bone AND a new sister?!

The drooling thing was important to emphasize. While Cadbury had been a great friend, not to mention the most easy-going editor I’d ever had, he had a severe glandular problem - salivary in nature. I’m not talking little flecks of saliva, I’m talking thick ropes of goo perpetually dangling from the corners of his mouth. That was when there was nothing to drool about; put out food, and the gooey ropes were instantly washed away in a torrent of thin, glistening slime. We referred to him as “Slime Beast” as frequently as we used his given name. He came to either with equal abandon.

It was obvious Mrs. Poynor was set on leaving with a new dog. Since we were in her car my options were limited. 

Missy has, indeed, turned out to be everything advertised, and one other that was not. Missy is dumber than a rotten tree stump. She is also not full Lab. The vet’s best guess is that she is half Rottweiler. The combination has resulted in a dog with an obsession about chasing after tennis balls, and an innate compulsion to retain them. In short, Missy doesn’t play fetch, she plays keep.

She will bound up with a ball in her mouth, begging for anyone to throw it, but won’t let go. Honestly, I don’t think she has the smarts to realize she needs to let go. I’ve tried throwing a second ball. She takes off like a shot to chase the second ball, then can’t figure out the need to drop the first to grab the second. Instead, she pushes the second ball around the driveway trying to get it into her mouth until wistfully giving up. 

I want to come back as one of my pets

I’m sure there are some who would be fooled into thinking she is trying to pick up both balls, but I have irrefutable proof such is not the case. Every morning we give the dogs pigskin twists. (Yeah, I want to come back as one of my dogs, too.) If Missy happens to be carrying a ball at that time, which is more likely than not, she can’t grab the twist. She tries earnestly, nudging the twist with the ball in her mouth. After a few unsuccessful attempts she wanders back out into the living room to make a few circles as she contemplates the problem. She will come back and make a few more fruitless grabs. This may be repeated several times before laying down in abject defeat. Only when she drops the ball on her paws does the light bulb illuminate. (The ultimate question is: who is dumber, Missy, or her owner for waiting patiently for things to get worked out?)

I guess I really shouldn’t complain. While Slime Beast was an easy-going editor, Missy is an absolute pushover.

Bet you thought I was kidding

1 comment:

  1. OK, she must have dyed her coat black and she's really a lab. So...why don't you just get rid of the damn ball (hehe)? Hard to fathom that the desire for food would not subconsciously take over her jaw muscles. Seriously though, is there a possibility that her jaw does not work correctly and it is physically hard for her to open wider to let the ball drop?? Other than that, I give up!