Fido is shopping.
“The trick,” he said, “is to find gifts that dogs themselves dig, rather than humans. Get it? Digging dogs?”
Fido paused to lick his, um, belly. He lay near the table, dictating to me as I worked the Web on his behalf. His legs are as nimble as fence posts, and his paws just can’t work a keyboard.
“You have an actual strategy?” I asked.
“Why, yes,” he said.
“I get it. You are a very clever dog, my good man.” I gave him a pat and a scratch.
Fido closed his eyes halfway. He was in thought.
“No plush toys,” he said. “Not all dogs like ‘em. No dog beds. Too expensive, and not nearly as comfy as the couch.”
“Not everyone allows dogs on their couch.”
“Meh,” he said.
“Like ‘feh’ but less aggressive.”
“Also,” said he, “my dog-pals would prefer hand-made gifts. It’s one of the tricks we picked up from humans.”
“Okay,” I said. “What do you think? What can you make?”
“A music CD for and about dogs!”
“Wow,” I said. “A fabulous idea.” I pulled up iTunes and asked his first selection.
“I always liked that John Hiatt song, ‘Dust Down A Country Road.’ Dust down a country road/Blowing in the wind/Behind an old truck load/Up before the rooster crowed/There’s an old dog staring/At the dust down a country road,” he sang.
“Good one!” I said. “I like the notion that the word ‘dog’ isn’t the title.”
“Then there’s that Greg Brown song, “Like A Dog,” Fido said. He began to sing. “Maybe I shouldn’t admit it./Maybe I shouldn’t have tried./You want somethin’, honey, I’ll get it./A dog is not burdened with pride.”
I myself began to get the drift. We suggested songs to each other and played them. Sometimes we cranked the volume and danced, his big red fence-post legs planted on my chest, me with my arm around his shoulders. At one point we tried the “Dog Trot,” a variation of the Fox Tot that has endless variables.
Naturally we sang along. We had a high old time, all right.
We captured “Bird Dog,” by the Everly Brothers, “Old King,” by Neil Young and of course two dog standards,
“Walking The Dog,” by Rufus Thomas, “Hound Dog” by Elvis, no last name needed.
“Anything more?” I said.
“Ah, the pièce de résistance!” he cried. “It is ‘I Love My Dog.’”
“Can’t say that I know that one, Fido. Why is it the pièce de résistance?”
“Because it’s by Cat Stevens!” he said.
With that, Fido flipped over on his back and laughed. Howled. Roared. Happy tears streamed down his face.
We ripped the CD. A masterpiece.