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This is a tale that wags the dog

People love to talk about their dogs.

I needed an article to write, so I asked about Jake. You know, the pajama wearing dog.

“How’s Jake?”

Jake’s owner, Judy, was more than glad to talk about him.

“Jake had some oral surgery. He had a tooth pulled.”

“I thought he had a tooth pulled last month and it cost $700. You mean you spent another $700 on Jake?”

“Well, he had his teeth cleaned, and some other work done, too.”

“I thought he was at the doctor’s office for pancreas surgery last month?”

“He was, and he is on a special diet. He can only eat certain things.”

I am thinking this is verging on the ridiculous. I’m not talking about someone’s grandma and her ailments; I am talking about Jake, the dog. But, this is what makes for great articles, so I goaded her to talk some more.

I had asked Sam, her husband, about Jake.

“Do you have a cutoff as to how much you are willing to spend on your dog’s health?”

“Anything,” Sam says.


“Well, almost anything.”

“You have spoiled him. You have made him a hypochondriac.”

“Maybe he is a little spoiled, but not bratty,” Sam’s wife popped up.

“Not bratty? What is the difference?” I wanted to hear more about this.

“Jake is very well disciplined. He behaves. Our daughter’s dog is bratty. It yaps all the time if you don’t pay attention to it.”

“And Jake doesn’t. You can’t leave him alone; he has torn up his kennel and he has ruined his teeth.”

I had pushed her too far. She is now on the defense.

“Jake is not spoiled, he has separation anxieties.”

Is that what you call it. How long have you had Jake?

“Four years. We do not know how he was treated before. It’s not his fault, he can’t help that he has anxieties. He is afraid of gun shots and lightening, too.”

“If it rains, you can’t leave him home alone, or he will tear up everything. And he’s not spoiled? Is he still wearing pajamas?”

“No, he is sleeping on his own bed.”

“He doesn’t sleep with you anymore?”

“Well, of course, his bed is on top of our bed.”

“And you all have room in your bed with his bed, too?”

“He’s a small dog.”

I shook my head in disbelief.

The next day, I received an e-mail from Jake’s owner.

It read: “He’s not spoiled, just pampered!”

Another e-mail was on my machine. I put a cute dog picture on Facebook and I got a response, “You are getting nicer.”

I don’t know this person, but apparently she knows me. I need to be nicer about people’s animals.

It’s going to be a stretch for me.

My daughter works at a local business which buys treats for their customers’ pets. She talks about Jake, Hoover and Rocky and all the other dogs who come in. My daughter thinks it is special that the dogs come right up to her cash register and wait.

My reaction is, “Of course, they would. You are feeding them.”

I am going to have to work on my pet manners. I have just been offered an assignment to write humorous articles for a periodical about dogs. Can you believe it? Life is funny. It’s a job.

It might be a short-lived job.

I’ll practice on my Sweet Al’s dog. I’ll suck up to Jake’s owners, again. I’ll talk to my daughter about all her animal friends from work. I need to start gathering dog stories.

There are more tales to tell on this tail that wags the dog! I need a good name to call my new assignment. Any thoughts? Maybe I’ll call it Pet Peeves.

Final brushstroke

The tail wags the dog. Apparently, everyone likes it that way. Who am I to judge other people’s love when it comes to what makes them happy?

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