I don't get it. Can you 'splain it to me again, asks Euka. Why is that stuffed toy Ed is holding in his mouth not a stuffed toy?
Because that's his beard, I tell her.
Euka tilts her head as if shifting her brain to the right might help process this. So, she says slowly. If Micron holds a toy in his mouth and shows it to me, that's ok. I can wrestle the thing to the ground, right? She tilts her noggin to the left for this next thought. But if Ed leans into me with his stuffed beard, I get yelled at for trying to take it from him?
You know, I can almost see the logic in this. That is dog language after all, especially among retrievers. This passing toys between doggie maws. The deal breaker, I suppose, is when somebody is not actually another dog.
Think about it this way, I say. Dogs use their mouths as hands and people use their hands as, wait . . . that's not right either. Heh. Ok, let's just keep it simple here. Euka, my love, don't jump up on people.
Her brow furrows on this. Don't jump up on people. she repeats. I still don't get it. That's where all the good stuff is. How can I get to the cookie hands and lick their faces then? It's not like I can reach the good stuff from down here. You're weird, Food Lady.
I'm aware of that. It's what makes me charming, I say. Listen, this is the rule I want you to follow, and what you will keep tucked away in that polar bear noggin of yours. When you greet someone, it's always Four-on-the-Floor. No exceptions.
Oh! Nuh-uh! cries Euka. That ain't right! What about that little girl at the library? She smelled like bubble gum, she can't just have all that goodness for herself. And that one boy? He was like a three-foot french fry. yummy . . .
No exceptions, I say again. None nada nyet zilch. Just like Micron does, you sit and wait to be patted on the head.
So, what you're saying is I should do whatever Micron does, she says. A clever girl, our little Euka. She's looking for loopholes.
|That's a scrap of newspaper, not a beard. |
There's a difference. Who knew?
Ha ha! says Euka. You said butt. [snort].
You're a big girl now. And so very smart, I continue. In fact, I think you know full well what you're doing. We've worked on this enough, me and you. You're taking advantage of others who don't know you're supposed to be in a Sit for a greeting. Am I right?
Maybe, says Euka. But how does Micron get away with stuff and I can't. It's not fair.
|Micron meets Snoopy. This excerise in self-control|
lasted about ten seconds. Do note Snoopy's
body language of self-preservation.
Instead I say, because Micron suffers a chronic case of misfiring neurons in the presence of dog cookies. Or other dogs. Well, and stuffed toys. He kind of loses his mind in the moment.
Which is true. Stuffed toys are that dog's kryptonite. Extra fun when I have to stay hyper vigilant visiting nursing homes with him as a pet therapy team. Some ladies do like to keep stuffed toys next them in their wheelchairs. That's our Micron, three-quarters Golden Retriever and one-quarter work ethic.
And you, Euka, I continue, are learning how to be an assistance dog. Micron is not. Special rules for special dogs.
And between me and you, I think you can actually set a good example for Micron. Instead of being a monkey of his misdeeds, how about you show him how a good dog behaves. So let's do an experiment, but you can't tell Micron, ok? You start following the Calm Greeting rules and see if he follows your lead.
I don't know about that, says Euka. But I guess I can try it. Ok, I think I've got it now. So I can play mouthies with Micron, but for people I Sit. Four-on-the-Floor.
Yup, Four-on-the-Floor. Make me proud, little girl. You can do this thing, I say. We both can do this thing.
It's the start of a new work week tomorrow. Let's keep paws crossed for keeping masculine facial hair intact and calm puppy greetings all around.
For Euka, of course. There's not much we can do with the big guy, you know, with his heart of gold and his head full of . . . well, happy thoughts.