When You’re Blonde Enough Nothing Else Matters
Eight years ago my wife adopted a three year old blonde cocker spaniel. Kathy was won over by Abby’s big brown eyes and Jennifer Aniston haircut. Abby was, essentially, already full grown and set in her ways, but I have a hunch that Kathy wouldn’t have been much of a taskmaster. Kathy considers that having raised three pretty good kids, she’s entitled to a dog with challenging behavior. I keep telling her that Marley pioneered the acceptability of bad dogs. Kathy will only grudgingly agree that Abby isn’t exactly Lassie material.
Abby has never been terribly smart. She knows, “Want to go for a walk?” and “Want a cookie?” But any other command and Abby just blinks. Abby liked to run outside and explore our yard. With the heavy dew or rains she would come in thoroughly wet and still expect to sleep on the couch. The only sure way to get her to come was to call, “Abby! Cookie!” When we lived in Seattle Kathy regularly took Abby for walks on a long off-leash trail. Every day Abby happily jumped in the car, traveling to the trail. She would perch on Kathy’s lap. I shuddered every day thinking that Kathy would get a ticket, but she never did.
When we moved to Kentucky Abby got to come too. She rode in the backseat and would lean over to peer out the windshield. Did she wonder at all the different smells as we drove across the country? Does she miss our big backyard and the off-leash trail? One thing is certain: she no longer bears the Most Adorable Surrogate Grandchild status now that Sam and Caroline live near us.
Now Abby’s excursions are mainly walking around the block two or three times a day. She does patrol our yard for squirrels and evil cats (neither of which she has been able to scare away). She still comes (usually) with the promise of a cookie. Now her favorite place is to wait somewhat impatiently underneath Sam’s high chair, hoping that Sam will accidentally drop some of his food. Abby is very good with Sam and Caroline. Sam can throw a ball and hit Abby while she’s asleep and she just blinks and moves. Caroline can grab some of Abby’s hair and she just rolls over.
This weekend our son Andy and family will be adding a Newfoundland “puppy” (at 10 weeks old the “puppy” is already as big as Abby). Andy vows that HIS dog will be well behaved. We shall see.
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