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  Updated 12-12-07




















All I'm Sayin' Is...

By Susie Dunham

…you can teach an adolescent dog new tricks.

Where there were once off-limits signs for anything female or cute there are now squeaky toy frogs, stuffed monkeys in hula skirts, brightly colored treat balls, “blankies,” Miss Love Doggie (don’t ask) and assorted other items to keep Bill’s curiosity busy.

Bossman’s black leather recliner has been claimed by Bill as a favorite place to snooze as Bossman, aka Pap, does busy work at his desk.

Bossman’s Candy Jar has been turned into Bill’s Treat Jar, which is a big ol’ hoax on this cute little dog, because there aren’t treats in the jar; they’re his regular dog food posing as treats because he’s on special dietary food made out of tofu or something.

The first floor of the house has been declared a Closed Door Dwelling. All bathroom doors have been relegated to Shut Mode because Bill has a fondness for paper products—his favorite by Charmin. “Goes down smooth, comes out soft.” One day I forgot to shut the door and there he was, lying on the floor in front of the commode, nibbling on a ribbon of T.P. Just like spaghetti, only quilted.

Bill’s edible-paper past has been well documented. His appetite for paper has been anything but stationary. I’ve noted many past instances when he’s gobbled up used dryer sheets, Kleenex, paper money ($19 to date), temporary driver’s licenses, rabies documentation, receipts, paper towels and more. He’s a hairy shredder.

This dog is a kid’s dream come true. When the kid doesn’t want to do homework, just feed it to Bill.

And this bow-wow is quick. Our daughter dropped a new blouse on the floor and Bill, faster than Pacman could say, “I wasn’t there,” grabbed the tag, ripped it off the blouse and ate it in a nanosecond. I don’t think you could even see it happen in slow motion on the JumboTron.

This four-year-old canine also had a tendency to just turn miserable for whatever reason. Look at him cross-eyed and he’d snap, crackle and pop at you. His human mother didn’t believe in spanking or talking harsh. He’s a furry only child with a single mom and he was getting away with murder—or close to it.

Well, down here in Franklin, there are a couple of new Alphas in town: Bossman and me. Tough Love is our motto. Speak firmly and give praises with a treat in hand. (Even if it is only kibble.) Bill has gained seven pounds in two weeks, but he’s a more loving and fun dog…er…make that granddog to be around.

His tail is wagging, he loves to dance, he jumps on our laps, he’s happy to see Pap and Nana every morning, he likes walks, he stays when commanded (most of the time), and we think Precious, the little Maltese next door, has a crush on him.

Bill’s new tricks are a real treat for all of us living with him. Now, since he’s got the paperwork down, if we just get him to use the toilet.

Copyright 2007 Susie Dunham


Susie Dunham is a newspaper columnist living in the Nashville, Tennessee, area where she writes for the WestView/Grassland Community Newspaper.


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