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Fido does not pass gas.
â€śItâ€™s an untoward behavior,â€ť he said the other night. We lay in bed, ready for a long winterâ€™s nap. â€śItâ€™s no more acceptable than it is in humans.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s a good thing you think like that,â€ť I said. â€śOtherwise youâ€™d be outside.â€ť
We had just finished reading the long, long, l-o-n-g New York Times article about purebred dogs, especially bulldogs.
â€śInveterate farters,â€ť said Fido. â€śItâ€™s why I didnâ€™t mind that the Georgia Bulldogs didnâ€™t win. Not even the Superdome would be able to mitigate their behavior.â€ť
Fido is teaching me deep breathing.
â€śHey, hey, hey hey!â€ť
He lay on his side and invited me over.
â€śI have noticed that lots of humans donâ€™t quite get this,â€ť he said, â€śbut once you get the hangdog of it, itâ€™s easy and it will make you feel better.â€ť
I had just passed through a weekend of football â€” college and pro. During the Iowa-Nebraska game a week ago, I was a total wreck. I can handle a boring game if my guys come out on top, but alas, it was that kind of game and that kind of season.
Fido hates the woodstove.
Go figure. Dogs are supposed to love them, if you believe the pictures in the L.L. Bean catalogs.
â€śGet me out of here,â€ť he pleaded. â€śWhat is this? Aruba?â€ť
This was on one of those really cold days in early November, when the wind howled and the temperatures dove. Outside, our street was frozen solid, with icy spots all over the place.
I built a fire in the woodstove and things were darned cozy at our place, at least for me.
Fido retreated from the living room and took up a post under the dining room table. He panted.
â€śPeople get the wrong idea about Oakland,â€ť Fido said.
â€śYeah, I know. What makes you say that?â€ť
â€śI was there for more than a month, and I didnâ€™t see anything like the stuff that showed up on the Jon Stewart Show or the TV news.â€ť
Fido leafed through the California section of the Sunday New York Times, pondering the pictures. When Fido reads the papers, itâ€™s awkward because his finger dexterity is poor, and he tends to get distracted easily.
This time, he lingered.
ictor and Dennee Alcala welcomed a baby boy, Ezra Xavier on Sept. 30. â€śEzra arrived late but was well worth the wait. He has been welcomed into the world by a large, loving circle of family and friends who have provided support in countless ways,â€ť sez the new parents. â€¦
Our deepest condolences to longtime local Stacy Corless, who lost her sister, Lisa, on Oct. 16. Our hearts go out to Stacy and to all of Lisaâ€™s friends and family. â€¦
â€śWelcome back, Ziggy!â€ť Thatâ€™s Ziggy, the much-beloved, black cat that belongs to Crowley Lake residents Fred and Patti Stump. Ziggy disappeared early last weekend and still wasnâ€™t back Monday morning. As any Eastside cat owner has learned, after three days of being missing, itâ€™s rare for a cat to come home again around here. But on Monday morning, Patti Stump decide to try again, and tapped on the closed shed door of a neighborâ€™s place. A hearty and cranky â€śmeowâ€ť answered her, and Ziggy was found. Awww. â€¦
â€śIâ€™d like to try yoga.â€ť
Fido lay at my feet, watching a yoga program on television.
â€śWell, itâ€™s not unheard of,â€ť I said. â€śPeople and dogs who do yoga together call it doga. They swear by it.â€ť
â€śTell me more, please,â€ť Fido said.
â€śI will, but only if you tell me about this wild-hair of an idea first.â€ť
â€śOh, I donâ€™t know, but I figure winterâ€™s coming up pretty soon. There will be lots of days that just wonâ€™t be very pleasant outdoors, so Iâ€™m looking for something to do in here.â€ť
â€śFair enough, Fido.â€ť
He leapt to his feet.
â€śHey hey hey hey! When can we start?â€ť
â€śI think we should maybe invite a cat into our home.â€ť
Honestly, I thought I was hearing things.
â€śFido, what did you just say?â€ť
â€śMaybe we should get a cat.â€ť
You could have knocked me over with a feather. There have been plenty of cool cats cross my path over the years. There was Buster, for example, over in the East Bay, and there was the cat in Cedar Rapids that caught everyoneâ€™s attention. His name was Director.
There were dozens of others.
There have been disasters, too, such as that Cat Who Shall Not Be Named.
Fido locked me out of the house. In the process, he locked himself in.
â€śGet me out of here!â€ť he whimpered from behind the door.
â€śIâ€™m trying, you big lug, but the deadbolt seems to have been tripped.â€ť
â€śWhatâ€™s a deadbolt?â€ť
â€śA deadbolt, Fido, is the one lock on the door that I donâ€™t have a key for! Iâ€™ve never even used the deadbolt and donâ€™t even have a key for it. How the heck did the deadbolt get tripped?â€ť
I tried to put the sequence together and that took a little time.
â€śFido, was anyone in the house when I was gone?â€ť
â€śI have to pee.â€ť
â€śI know, I know. Me too!â€ť
â€śIâ€™d like to have a Happy Hour.â€ť
Fidoâ€™s funny like that. He comes up with things that are so out of the blue that I hardly know what to think.
â€śIt sure sounds like fun,â€ť he said. â€śI just donâ€™t know what it is. Letâ€™s have one.â€ť
â€śWe can have as many as we want,â€ť says I. â€śWhatâ€™s your idea?â€ť
â€śIdea? Iâ€™m a dog. I donâ€™t have ideas. I have instincts.â€ť
â€śTell you what. After work, weâ€™ll have a Happy Hour.â€ť
â€śHey hey hey hey!â€ť
Fido says he wants to join a dating service.
Me, I was listening to a baseball game, concentrating on a two-on, two-out, one-run game, and this took me by surprise.
â€śWhat the heck-fire?â€ť said I.
â€śItâ€™s not that Iâ€™m lonely, but Iâ€™d like to have someone of my ilk to share experiences, romp around, get into sniffing contests, have conversations, discuss brands of kibble, that kind of thing.
â€śGood God, man,â€ť I said. â€śMammoth has more dogs than humans. Are you sure youâ€™re not already sitting on a canine gold mine?â€ť
Fido rolled over on his side and let out a long breath.
â€śTo live alone one must be a beast or a god, says Aristotle. Leaving out the third case: one must be both - a philosopher.â€ť
â€śWhaa?â€ť I says.
Fido repeated it.
â€śIâ€™ve heard this before,â€ť says I to Fido. Me, I was listening to the baseball game.
â€śItâ€™s Friedrich Nietzsche,â€ť says Fido.
â€śI can hardly believe my ears,â€ť I says to him. â€śYou buy that?â€ť
â€śDunno,â€ť says Fido. â€śIâ€™ll believe anything if thereâ€™s a biscuit in it.â€ť
Fido and I are playing checkers.
Most people think checkers is a kids' game, but checkers is more complicated than you'd think. Even more than that, checkers is a convivial game. It' not like chess. Chess is played by erudite and bloodthirsty combatants; Germany and France and all of that.
Fido is neither erudite nor bloodthirsty and checkers is the game for him.
Being a red dog, he always chooses the red pieces, so he gets the first move.
I am trying to teach Fido baseball.
Heâ€™s doing pretty well since April, but heâ€™s got a ways to go.
There is no set way to teach a dog baseball. For that matter, thereâ€™s no set way to teach a human, either. Itâ€™s an acquired thing, based on repetition.
â€śWanna learn baseball?â€ť I says to Fido as the season began. Snow was falling outside.
Fido says,â€ťHey Hey Hey Hey!â€ť
So we began.