Tuesday, November 16, 2004


Oh, the joy of it! Oh, the wonder of feeling the wind in my face, the sun on my back, and the delicious smells of the moist earth beneath the trees! I am the happiest being in Dogdom when my Person takes me to the Bark Park. I can run free there and not even worry about telephones ringing or alarms going off. I can stretch my legs and chase a ball or exchange a little sniff or two with the other dogs.

Sniffing is an exercise I enjoy! Humans don't seem to care for it at all, and this is probably why so many of them are lonely. If they just walked up to each other and started sniffing, they would make friends immediately as we dogs do and life would be more enjoyable for them. Instead, they just nod and shake paws and remain stiff and impersonal. Sometimes they even seem horrified by the practice. Not like dogs at all. We can distinguish a friend from an enemy with a couple of good sniffs.

Dogs have a lot more sense than human beings, I think. Most dogs accept other dogs for what they are. We don't look down on each other for being black or white or red or yellow or even fuzzy. The only thing we judge each other by is the strength of the teeth in biting. If I run into one of those big fellows with huge yellow fangs, I avoid him. He can snarl all he wants, it's a free country, but if he gets serious and starts biting, it's out of the Bark Park for him!

If dogs were as silly as humans, they'd start holding elections. They'd have candidates...perhaps a Great Dane who promised free bones for the needy and more affordable Vet insurance. The other candidate might be a Lab who would claim that no dog should expect free bones and that we need a Constitutional amendment banning those dogs who hump anything, even couch pillows.

Luckily, dogs don't care about minor things like that, but know how to enjoy life. We give extreme loyalty to our Persons and try to please them. Once in a while, we stain the carpet or get into the garbage and are made to feel that we do not have good family values. We feel very guilty about this and walk around for a while with our heads down and our tails tucked in. It's not that we're sorry about what we did, the odds are that we will do it again, but we know that if we show extreme guilt, we will receive forgiveness and perhaps even a Treat. You see, we're not as dumb as some folks might think.

I don't worry about all this as I lope around the Bark Park. I am far more interested in running through the woods and stopping to leave my mark on the trees. This is another thing humans do not do. How can they expect anyone to know they own anything if they don't mark it? Well, I have stopped trying to figure out the inadequacies of the human race. We can't change them. We can only lick their wounds and give them lots of sympathy.

My tail wags incessantly when I am at the Bark Park. Dogs use tails to indicate their mood. If humans had tails, they would find life easier, because you could tell when someone might be feeling grouchy by glancing at their tail. Humans use their faces instead of tails...smiling when they are happy. Crying when they are sad. Scowling when they are in a snit. Seems to me as if a tail would be far more energy efficient.

As I go through the Bark Park, my Person walks with me. Sometimes she is bundled in sweaters and coats, shivering in the early morning air. I have no need of this, because my glossy fur protects me from the cold. My Person grumbles because my glossy fur has a habit of covering the couch with a carpet of fuzz. She is constantly vacuuming and sweeping and brushing in an ongoing battle with my fur. She doesn't understand that, when my fur falls out, it is replaced with fresher, better fur. If human fur falls off, they stay bald.

Sometimes she takes me to be groomed, and the groomer bathes me, clips my hair and sprays me with smelly perfume. I'd like to say I enjoy this experience, but I definitely do not. I prefer the water in puddles rather than in tubs and being sudsed down is something no self respecting dog should have to endure. I do it for her, and she rewards me by telling me how beautiful I am...but I tell you, I can hardly wait to find a little dirt to roll in. Nothing like a pile of dirt to make a member of the canine species feel like a dog again, and if the dirt is mixed with some smelly substance of unknown origin, so much the better!

I wear myself out at the Bark Park and, when we go back home, I snooze awhile until its dinnertime. Then I lay at my Person's feet as the aroma of pork chops or beef roast drifts down to my nose, and I dream, as dog's do, of the day when I might get a place at the table, with my own share of those tantalizing dishes. But no, I am doomed to lay quietly, waiting for her to accidentally drop a bite or two. Sometimes it isn't easy being a dog.

But then, night comes, and I snuggle with her on our bed, and I dream of the chipmunk I chased in the Bark Park, the big one that got away. And I know that nowhere in Dogdom is there another dog as happy and comfy as I am at this moment. I close my eyes and sleep, knowing she is safe beside me, and that tomorrow will be another happy day.