Sunday, March 31, 2013

It's the Euka Bunny

Hey Food Lady! Got some bad news for ya about the Easter Bunny!

Falling under the category of "Didja Know This?" I'm gonna explain why we can never get a handle on exactly when Easter Sunday is going to show up from year to year.

Easter 2013 is celebrated today, the last Sunday of March.  Last year we were hiding our grownup chocolate stash on April 8. Two years ago? April 24 and close enough to sandal weather to show off the first pedicure of the year.

So what the heck, Calendar People? Is there somebody in charge of this stuff we can talk to? Of course we can't blame the hapless folk that print our calendars. Besides, we really don't want them to have this kind of power anyway. Sure, first it's just one holiday. The Calendar People are all, Hey guys, let's move Easter again this year. And then next we have to suffer things like changing the actual time of the day back and forth by an hour for no apparent reason. Next up will be the mandate to have Halloween only during a full moon or Labor Day for when we're motivated to do something productive. A white Christmas is a natural choice to be proclaimed as mandatory, which is really bad news for the likes of Florida. It's just anarchy y'all.
The Euka Bunny

Well, I can tell you this much about Easter. You recall we just celebrated the first day of spring, right?  The vernal equinox, that was. Ok, for these last couple of thousand years or so, Easter has been determined to be the next Sunday after the first full moon that occurs after the vernal equinox. It's ok, read it again. It actually starts to make sense after the second reading. 

Here, how 'bout this:

1. First day of spring
2. Full Moon
3. Easter Sunday

Just like mapquest directions, right? When you reach spring, you travel in time for [x] days until you see the Full Moon. Continue on until reaching destination on Sunday.

Along with the Lenten calendar (which is six weeks long, but it's really only 40 days because Calendar People have infiltrated the church*), the triduum, and Pentecost, this is stuff I used to cover with the kids in my catechism classes every spring. Most would get it, some just didn't care to know the details.  Because all those poor kids would seem to be on a family-imposed sweets moratorium during the Lenten season. Really, they just wanted to know when they could drink pop again. And that's how you teach middle school kids, people. Get 'em personally involved in the subject.

What's that you ask? If I think I know so much, then what's the deal with this Easter Bunny legend?  Ah, easy nuff. I can simply say, I have absolutely no flippin' idea how a rabbit got involved with all this. Well, I guess there's spring, fertility, new life and such that can be rabbit related. But now you've got me curious, so I've gone to the Source of All Knowledge for you - Wikipedia.

Ok, so here at Wikipedia a search of "Easter Bunny" has scored us info about rabbits being hermaphrodites and making little rabbits without doing the deed and that German rabbits will lay eggs, but only in kids' hats and . . . wait, now they're just messing with us. I admit I only skimmed the article, but still. This is some heady material. Check it out if you want, but honestly I think they're just making it up as they go along.

[sigh], says Euka
But no time to ponder about androgynous bunnies from the middle ages. I had another mystery at hand to solve this Easter weekend. How to get Euka to wear bunny ears without the, well, hangdog expression.



 

Euka, I said. Balancing the camera in one hand and waving a dog biscuit past her eyes. Look! Cookie! Bring your head up a notch.

I can't, Euka whined. These ear things are filled with lead or a black hole or something. Feeling . . . faint. I'm so fatigued I don't even think I can [deep breath] finish a sent. . .[sigh].

Cut. It. I said. Out. I lower the camera and reach to pull the bunny ears from her noggin.  Fine. No problem, kiddo. Let's take a break then. I set the purple torture device on the snow. I need a minute to clean dog snot off the lens anyway, so you can just hang loose for a  . . . Euka!

Miss I've-Lost-the-Will-to-Live has snatched up the bunny ears and taken off at mach 1 with them.  Here comes Peter Cottontail¯, she sings. Hoppin' down the bunny trail. Batman smells. Robin laid an egg.

You're mixing up your holiday songs, Euka, I yell after her. And now that the dark cloud of oppression has lifted, let's get a nice bunny ear photo.

Hoppin' down the bunny trail . . .
Hey Food Lady, says Euka. How many legs you got? Oh yeah, [snort] just two. See if you can catch me.

Right. Nice try there, missy. I say. You have to run out of steam sometime. Get it out of your system, I'll wait.

You shoulda packed a lunch, hahahaha, says Euka. She's starts up her Euka Bunny song again. ¯Here comes Peter Cottontail, she sings. Hopping through the forest. Scooping up the field mice and bopping 'em on the head.

Ok, now you're doing a bunny medley with Little Rabbit Foo Foo. I say.  Oh, never mind. Enjoy your first Easter, little one.


Easter bells, Batman smells.
Robin laid an egg.




I kinda thought he'd taste like
malted milk balls or something.
________________________________________________
*Ok, not their fault. The Lenten Season spans six weeks, this is true. However, Sundays remain a day of celebration, not deprivation, and so are excluded. So, there's your forty days.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Spring snow


The Vernal Equinox, the first day of spring, fell on March 20 this year.

The infernal snowpocalypse, about four inches of [bleep]ing snow, fell on March 24.

And because we are forced to enjoy Ohio weather patterns (the midwestern states version of the Bermuda Triangle) the snow today has mutated into shoe sucking mud.

Which around these parts is just as much the first signs of spring as is the robins returning to our backyards.


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Sunday, March 24, 2013

You say hippopotamus like it's a bad thing.


Euka II meets The Bloggess

"Look! I'm standing in front of a fire. And I didn't start it this time!"  -The Bloggess (with a cozy fireplace at her back.)


As I scan the attendees of this standing-room-only book signing event, I take in that we're a bit of an eccentric group. I was going to say eclectic, but I don't think that e-tic word is as good a fit. This isn't my first book signing event, of course. I'm a bibliophile, people. I spend a lot of time with books so I can be all smart and stuff. And also being a people watcher (not a stalkerphile) it's interesting to me what brings a culture of folk together.

You know? Like how Dayton's Celtic Festival attracts a demographic a little similar to say, the Renaissance Fair, but with more guys in skirts. And less bawdy wench cleavage exposure, go figure. Ever been to a Comic Con? Sure, it's a total geek draw, but diversity exists even in that universe.  The Star Trek shirts always try to start a rumble with the Star Wars fans, like the Sharks and the Jets. Without all the choreographed finger snapping. 
 
And now here we are at Books & Co., Euka and me.  Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess, is in our fair city to promote the re-release of her memoir, Let's Pretend This Never Happened, in paperback format. And these are her people around us. Jenny is fierce and funny. Open and honest. And remarkably profane in refreshing kind of way.
 
I love her.
 
So nice I can see her twice. Because I'd rather
see this chick's iPad than the speaker.
Off to our right Euka is taking in the sight of a rather outgoing lady with a kicky purple and red spiked do (checking that one off the Euka's Seen That list). We meet two friends sitting together who were generous to offer me a section of their bench so I wouldn't have to stand. They talk on an on about their websites and stats. About ten o'clock to my left there's a woman holding a . . . wait, what is that? Huh. She's clutching a stuffed unicorn head in her lap. And there's that one hapless fellow in this otherwise progesterone laden audience. And yeah, me. The chick with the dog.
 
It really wasn't my first choice to bring six month old Euka to this event, especially after she worked a long day in the office. And by work, I mean she's not allowed to bark and jump on people and maintaing this level of self-control wears her out, she says. But tow her along with me, I did. The trip from work to home, then to the book store would have taken nearly two hours. Really.  And I wanted to get there early to score a decent number for the book signing line. A good idea that, because even getting there forty minutes early scored us a dreary #58. And we see no available chairs to park my wide load. Dang it, now I have to act normal so somebody will share a bench with me.

I keep one eye on Euka (what's the scrollwork taste like on the metal railing? wonders Euka. Augh! Euka! Don't! I say) and try pass the next few minutes by scanning through the Jenny's book. Now that I have quiet time to think, there are two questions rolling around my head. What would I say was what was my favorite story from the book, if asked? And does Jenny Lawson even like dogs?

Jenny Lawson reads the PG version of Stanley, the Magical
 Talking Squirrel.

If I would have remembered to bring the Kindle, both questions could be easily tackled with a quickie search. But I left the thing plugged in on the kitchen counter. No matter, I have plenty of time to roll through some of the chapters in the paperback I brought.

And yep here's a chapter with dogs in the title: You can't go home again (unless you want to get mauled by wild dogs). Well, that doesn't sound good. No spoilers here, but I will tell you it involves photos of stitches.  Ugh, so now I'm feeling unsettled, which is always a bad thing. Because that's when the paranoia starts.

How will she react to the pup when I walk up? Will we be rushed through the line? And what is that cop standing there for? We need a cop at a book store? Is this some kind of a high risk book signing? Dang it, what is my favorite story in the book?

Settle down, you weirdo, I tell myself. Grow a pair, girl, and act like you know what you're doing. A deep breath to chill myself out and holy cow . . . here she comes!
 
The Bloggess puts us all at ease with her open, friendly personality. So approachable and so very clever and funny. But, she tells us, she's been asked to not say any bad words during her book reading. Not an easy task, we fans of The Bloggess know all too well. We're not-so-strategically positioned right next to the children's section of the book store, so this censorship request is indeed easy to support. Yet, still a bit disappointing to think of her colorful words diluted to a watery gray version.

But Jenny Lawson is funny and clever, right? She's got this. For every R-rated word, she says, she'll replace with the word hippopotamus.  So she went off the usual plan and chose the chapter of Stanley, the Magical Talking Squirrel because it has the fewest f-bombs. The title suggests it could be a children's tale, doesn't it? It's not.
"Holy hippopotamus, you psychopath!" is what I would have said if I hadn't been eight years old. -excerpt from Let's Pretend This Never Happened.
I think it works. Even the cop cracked a smile.
 
So clutching my #58 line ticket, I await my turn to meet The Bloggess. The line is moving slowly because Jenny is allowing photo ops with all who ask. I take this as a good sign. As we reach the table I ask her publisher escort (who is not a prostitute, Jenny Lawson told us right up front) if she thinks Jenny would be agreeable to a photo with the dog. The woman looks at me like I just pulled a second head from my pocket and says something rather curt to me. She must be good with dogs, I think, because the chick sure is lacking in people skills. I shrug it off and decide to take my chances.

We made it, it's finally our turn with The Bloggess. An hour's drive and nearly another two hours waiting for this moment. Euka, our little confident pup, has been a rock the whole time - solid and steady.  We spent much of the time waiting by working on calm greetings and reinforcing her Sit/Stays and Down/Stays. Good grief, I couldn't be prouder of this six month old puppy that is Euka II.

nom-nom-nom, says Euka II.
Thank you, I say as The Bloggess hands my autographed book back to me. Then, could I take a photo of you with the puppy?
 
Of course! she says. While Jenny Lawson beams a smile, I ask Euka to Sit. And . . . it's this moment in time that our clever pup loses her ability to understand English. Que pasa, senorá?asks Euka. Pardoné, femme de nourriture? 

Sit, I say again. Like I mean it. Euka looks at me, looks around. Sniffs the floor. And continues to stand there. Even the cop is laughing now.  Now, Euka? I lament. This is our moment, babe. You do this now?

Fine. I dig out a dog cookie. Oh, Sit! says Euka. You slurred or something. I had no idea.

I don't want to hold up the line any more for the folk behind us. I snap a quick photo and check the digital image. Jenny looks great.  Euka looks like she's chewing a dog cookie with her mouth open.

Aargh, hippopotamusLet's get just one more, I say. What a good sport, that Jenny Lawson.

I thank her again, saying it like I mean it, and step aside for her next avid fan. Hi! how are you?, the fan asks Jenny.

I'm doing great, says The Bloggess. Now that I got to pet a dog.

I love her.

Euka II on an earlier visit to Books & Co. posing
in front of a book written by my favorite
 local author, Katrina Kittle.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: We meet The Bloggess

Euka II meets Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess and author of Let's Pretend This Never Happened.

So it's either tradition or a bad habit on Wordless Wednesdays to just slap a photo here before leaving for work (already late!).  We'll cover this experience more on Story Sunday. Because by then I can embellish the memories.

In the meantime, enjoy her website and we'll talk later about how well a six month old puppy might handle herself at a book signing.

Hint: the pup is only six months old.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Euka O'doggie

May the road rise to meet ya and
 your bowl be full o'kibble, says Euka.
Sam's coming over today, says My Favorite Kid on his obligatory weekend phone call to his mama, And I'm making shepherd's pie and boxty for her tonight.  I don't think I can handle making the soda bread so I had to buy that from the bakery.  So what are you guys going to do for a St. Patty's dinner?

You know you're German, right? I said. On both sides. If there's any Irish in your heritage, it's a closely held family secret, mein kinder.

Ma, he says. Everybody's Irish on St. Patrick's Day. You know that.

He speaks the truth, my smart kid. And so to honor this bit o'the green that lives in all of us this fine holiday, we bring you the best I can manage this afternoon. 

Photos of the dogs wearing head boppers.

What'd ya expect from me? I come from a German heritage. And hillbilly. A long line of hillbilly. Sorry 'bout your luck on that stellar lineage, kid.


Good grief, is that a come hither look or what?
Kiss me, says Euka. What's the Irish word for tart?

Micron wants to know to say
 I don't wanna play this game in Gaelic.
And of course limericks written by dogs is a must for this best o'times holiday.  From Dogster Micron wants to share his favorite.  He dedicates this ditty to his friend, Mere and her little toesies.

There once was a Boxer named Pete,
Who had an obsession with feet;
And when he sniffed toes,
He dove in with his nose,
'Cause nothing ever smelled quite as sweet.

Question: What does dog food and powered flight have in common?

They're all looking at me, aren't they?
Say what you will about the City of Dayton, Ohio. Go ahead, I'll wait. It's not like we haven't heard it all before. Sure, like any aging city in these great states we've seen the place go from boom town to some very troubling problems. And sadly, much of it has taken root in our historical sections of the city.

Which saddens me as I drive through our humble downtown and surrounding areas now. I have history here too having walked our city blocks as a gainfully employed young woman of the 1980's.  Lunchtime then was an event of changing out of them fancy heels into sneakers to spend an hour shopping at Elder-Beerman's before grabbing a burger from the food court at the Arcade. We had the Rike's building then, where I worked at E.F. MacDonald on the eight floor. And the upscale Metropolitan clothing store was across the street, next to Frisch's Big Boy with their cherry cokes. The sidewalk hot dog vendor guy, striped umbrella shading his steaming cart on Second Street. All are gone now.

The artful rotunda (yep, those are really turkey gargoyles up there) atop the Arcade will likely never be appreciated by another generation of Daytonians. But the Rike's building, which would bring families downtown to view the annual Christmas window decorations, was replaced by the Schuster Performing Arts Center. A definite plus for Dayton and redeeming cultural center that brings Dayton's street cred up by several notches.

Dayton has so much to be proud of, historically speaking. If we can just be reminded of it all.  And if we can continue to preserve it for our children, so they can pass this heritage of information on to their own.  We want it remembered that our gem city was built on a foundation of inventors and entrepreneurs.

We Daytonians are proud of our pioneers of creativity.  Deeds with the self-starter, technology that is used today in our modern vehicles. And of course Patterson who built a little company called NCR on the wings of the success of his electric cash register. And that fellow so important to my career, Paul Iams*, who founded The Iams Company with his concept that a high-quality protein based dog food will improve the health and well-being of our faithful friends.

Oh, but what are we really famous for, people? Do you know?

Dayton can crow her pride as the birthplace of aviation. In spite of that other state that attempts to stake claim to this first-in-flight stuff (yeah, I'm looking at you North Carolina and your annoying license plate logo.) it is within the boundaries of our fair city that the Wright Brothers were lovingly reared. It was here, right in our West Side, that Orville and Wilbur stewed their creative juices to design a flying machine. The first one that actually could leave the ground and stay up there for more than a few seconds.

The Wright Family lived in what is our West Side in the late 1800's, then a beautiful middle-class neighborhood of large frame homes and well tended gardens. And an area infamous now for its slow decay. But tucked within this shameful blight, we have a pocket of preserved history as the Wright Brothers National Memorial. To walk through this restored neighborhood, it feels a little like being in a bubble. We're safe here, inside our shimmering walls. All that stuff on the other side of the opalescence is too blurry to be seen from here. Squint your eyes and you can imagine what once was.

In celebration of Euka's six month birthday we took her to see the Wright Memorial museum. Well, that's what we told her.  We were actually on tour with our fellow members of the AACA, The Antique Automobile Club of America. Because we apparently have a visceral need to steep ourselves history of all kinds, even cars it seems.

In hindsight, I should have spent a
minute to adjust that cape. [sigh]
So how'd our girl do, you ask?  Quite well, I think. At work we have some trouble with the happy Euka trying to jump on people. Usually the same people, so there's a pattern there that makes it tougher to fix. At the Wright Brothers' museum, her greetings were professional [whew].  Even with small children, she would hold a sit for a head pat when what she really wanted to do was sloppily lick their little faces. Good girl, good girl.

Euka gave no response to the manikins in their period garb, which frankly creep me out a little bit. I have to just walk quietly past these things. So long as I don't look 'em in the eye, I won't be sending creep-out vibes down the leash to the puppy. Hey, that stuff happens, you know.

Euka respected the displays with nary a sniff. Stairs were handled with the ease of a pup who's done this stuff before. Just a little trouble with confidence going from carpet to slick floor, so we kept that event to a minimum. 

And her reward at the end of the tour was naptime during the thirty minute movie of the Wrights. My reward was learning so much more about the Wright Family than the FAQ's that we're fed over and over in the usual info tidbits. Did you know that it wasn't just Orville, Wilbur and Katherine that we always hear about? There were seven kids in the family, one son was a city commissioner. Another sib was estranged from his famous brothers. Who knew?  And dogs! They had family dogs.  Must learn more . . .

And hey, North Carolina. Are you still here?  I have two words for you. Well, besides Orville and Wilbur because those are proper nouns. Huffman Prairie, y'all. We take your twelve second glide at Kitty Hawk and trump you with the invention of full powered flight in Dayton. Who's got your birthplace of aviation now? Put that in your bowler hat and well, you know. Booyah or something, y'all.

A memorial bench to the Wright Brothers at
Woodland Cemetery. In Dayton. 

And the Wright Family plot at Woodland Cemetery. It's
traditional to toss a penny on Wilbur and Orville's markers
when you visit. And by the way, these guys are buried in
Dayton, the Birthplace of Aviation.
____________________________________________
*Euka sends a shout out to Paul Iams, the developer of the original Eukanuba formula. Eukanuba was a term popular during the Jazz Era.  It means "something supreme".  Euka would agree that her name fits perfectly.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Canine Funkitude

Is somebody frying bologna? asks Bodine the Cat.
Oh Bodine! Nobody move!, I say. I'm getting the camera.  Which is only three steps away on the kitchen counter.  I click off the lens cap, turn to focus and snap this.

And absolutely not the scene I had before me a mere five seconds ago. The dogs are fresh from their bath, damp and clean.  Bodine came up from the basement for his evening rounds and had curled up next to the two of them on the dog bed. He was grooming them. Alternating dogs to lick their fur dry. And purring. Seriously.

Somehow bizarre, adorable and strangely disturbing all at the same time.

The shot I got instead is Bodine acting like a cat.  It smells like papaya and wet labrador in here, he says, ears back to show his disgust in the canine funkitude. He wants you to know that I'm totally lying to you and he would never (Never! he says) groom a wet dog.

Meanwhile Jager, the Master of the Hunt and Avoider of  All Things Bath-related, is keeping a secured safe distance lest his stanky self be tossed into the tub next.



 
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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Hop aboard the Euka Express

Gimme a challenge here, Food Lady.
Let's set this thing on fire or something.
You know how they say dogs know basic math, right?  Show your dog you have three dog cookies in your hand, then only give them two. The dog knows you're holding out on them and why are you being such a jerk about the cookie because you're not going to eat it and they know that too.  I thought we were friends here, says your dog.

Our dogs show us their smarts all the time like this. Not just our über-intelligent CCI pups, of course. Each fuzzy comes packaged with their own brand of cleverness.

For instance, as a former stray Jager has a level of survival skills that he exhibits even these seven years after his Gotcha Day with us. Street smarts, so to speak. When in the office he does his Tiny Tim performance with my dog loving co-workers.  Oh please sir, says Jager with an affected cockney accent. He expands his pupils until his eyes are watery black pools. Could you spare a sandwich for a hungry dog? They don't feed me until the weekend, you know.

And so he's handed a pity cookie by a kind soul. Which he spits out. It's my jaw, you see, says Jager. I don't have much muscle here. Might you have a softer treat for the poor likes of me?  And sure, he gets a different treat. Who could say no to that face? Jager chomps down the soft treat, then snatches up the one he dropped and trots away to nosh upon the treat back on his dog bed. True story. Except for the cockney accent part. He actually has a hard time pulling that one off.

He's a clever one, our Jager.

But we know Euka's a rather smart girl, too.  She observes her environment and misses nothing.  I notice her relaxed posture as we walk into new situations, but I also see how she needs to process things. Not a fear or hesitation about what's going on, but instead she cases a room with a what's in this for me attitude.


You do have matches on you, right?
Our local chapter of puppy raisers for Canine Companions for Independence was provided the opportunity this weekend to introduce our pups to an agility course. Not as training for any competition, but an excellent and safe way to reinforce confidence with novel experiences.

It's a long drive for us, about an hour and a half, to reach the agility facility (heh. agility facility.) and we show up a bit after things have started. Activities in full swing with dogs and people absolutely everywhere. At one point I counted sixteen pups with their handlers. (During the playtime break, I'm sure the thundering herd was at least twice that.) It was so very interesting to watch Euka scan the room, the agility equipment, the dogs in motion. Her body posture - head up, ears perked - was all Coo-ell! Bring it on!



 
It didn't take her long to figure out that she was to jump through the ring or leap over the hurdle, not just run around the things. And then she was all over this stuff. Weave poles, A-frame, dog walk plank, even the teeter totter.  You can't stop the Euka train, she's just chugging along.  I mean, just look at her Labrador smile in these photos. This was exactly the kind of challenge our girl needs. Absolutely worth the drive; time well spent here.


Oh, but the tunnel. Short of me doing a demo of how it works (stuffed sausage, anyone?), Euka just wasn't clicking on this one. Euka on one end, me on the other waving a dog cookie in the opening. Euka! Here! I call.  You got it!, she says and runs around the thing to get her hard earned treat. I toss a treat to land about a third of the way inside. She pops in far enough to munch it and backs out. We then waited to watch another pup go through and still, Euka's like and why would I want to do this? What's my motivation here?

I'm just not getting this sandworm* thing.
But you know what? I'm not gonna push it. She's going head first with all the other equipment here, especially with all the distractions about us. And it's not even a fear thing we're dealing with. Merely a failure to communicate, the two of us. Not a biggie.

Turns out I was right not to fret about it, too. When we released the pups for a play session, when the dogs morphed from double digits to a hundred and two, there were several who decided to rassle inside one of the tubes. The heck! says Euka. I want a piece of that action! Rawr!

The girl found her motivation indeed. Two pups are inside the tunnel. Then three. And a fourth joins in.  Then how many are in there, we ask.  We don't know for sure. The thing is spitting out panting dogs like a projectile live birthing session, just to suck another couple of pups back into the other end. 

The Euka Express bursts from the train tunnel.
Woe to those dog in the path of the freight train.
All three of them.

Alrighty then. Checking off Sand Worm Tube from the novel items list. Been there, done that.

__________________________________________________
Loads of gratitude goes to ARF Agility and Rally for Fun in Gahanna for allowing us to use your facility for our CCI pups.  We do appreciate your generosity. You wore my dog out and for that I am in your debt.
__________________________________________________

*Of course I'm referencing the sandworms from the Dune universe. You knew that, right?  Too far geeky?  What if we called them Graboids?  See? Now you understand, don't you? Who would purposely put themselves inside one of those things?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: I don't always . . .

Stay vengeful my friends, says Bodine.
I've been seeing a handful of Internet memes lately with The Most Interesting Man in the World. "I don't always [something]," says TMIMITW, "but when I do I [something snort-worthy or rather naughty]."

So we made you a Bodine meme. Enjoy.

Bodine did.

And here's the PG-13 version.  Scroll down only if you're not offended by strong language. By strong language, I mean that word we say when we spill coffee on our ourselves or drop our car keys in a puddle. Or when the cat knocks a pile of books off the dining room table.



Sunday, March 3, 2013

Four-on-the-Floor


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?
Nice try, girly girl, I say. Not at all. In fact, most of what Micron does, well, don't do that. Like when he pulls my butt across the office to get to his favorite cookie person. We expect you to have better self-control than the mighty Micron.

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. 
And there it is. The whole 'it's not fair' thing.  As a parent, how do we answer this lamentation of our children? Right. We know well this mantra of  Life's Not Fair. Ah, how completely unsatisfying that response has been to the generations.

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.
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