Man`s Best Friend—yeah, Sure
Man’s Best FriendYeah, Sure!
As Told to Bob Sanders
Hi. I’m a dog. My name is Schumacher. What kind of a name is that for a dog? I’ve been asking that myself ever since I was a pup. I hear it means “shoe maker”. I’ve never made a shoe in my life. Oh, I’ve chewed up a few, but I’ve never made any. I’ve never made anything but a mess on the rug once in a while. Yes, I know how to let my humans know I “need to go out”, but you’ve got to let them know now and then that having a pet is not always fun and games. Frankly, taking a poop on the rug helps my self-image. All the attention it gets makes me feel more important.
I understand that humans need to improve their self-image periodically, too, but if they took a dump on the living room rug—well, what they got wouldn’t make them feel important. If it was a kid who did it, he’d get a burned butt. If an adult did it, a psychiatrist would get a call. A dog friend of mine told me he owned psychiatrist once who crapped on the floor himself a couple of times. He wanted to get a personal “feel for the problem” he said.. I thought he was a few cans short of a full case, but all the publicity he got out of it made it possible for him to raise his price for an office visit up to $500. I’m a pretty smart dog, but I’ll never figure these humans out.
But back to my name, Schumacher. I heard my female human, (funny thing, when they’re talking about us dogs they call females bitches. I guess that makes me a son of a bitch. I’ve never minded being called that because that’s what I am, but some humans are called sons of bitches and they don’t seem to like it. Weird, these humans, Anyway, I heard my female human telling her “husband”, whatever that is, that I was a mongrel. That has something to do with my ancestry. I think it means a whole lot of dogs of different breeds hooked up (after all, this is a family story) and somewhere down the line I was the final product. So, they couldn’t say I was any one breed. Millie, my bitc—er, my female human, figured there must have been a German Shepherd or two somewhere in my family tree mix, so she decided to give me a German name. Said that would give me some dignity— or in my case, “dognity”. (Sorry, but I couldn’t resist that)
.My male human is named Larry and he’s always hopped up over what he calls my “education” and Millie says she wants to help. You know, humans amuse me. They think they own us dogs. They never seem to get it that we own them. If they want us to do something that we don’t want to do, we just act stupid and don’t do it. But don’t let that fool you. We dogs are smart. For us to act stupid, sometimes it takes a pretty good acting job. Me, I ought to be a Hollywood dog. If I want something, all I have to do is look sad for a few minutes, give my tail a couple of wags and I get anything I want.
And you know something else that knocks me out? You know that little thing dogs do when we sit on the floor and give ’em a quizzical look? They think that’s so cute. When we cock our head to one side a little they go up for grabs! I’ve heard many a human say. “I wonder what that dog is thinking”? If they had the brains of a Billy Goat they would know we were thinking “How long do I have to do this silly crap before you feed me?”
What was I talking about? Oh yeah, my education. We started out with some real simple stuff. Millie says she wants me to “shake hands” with her. Shake hands? I’m a dog—I don’t have any hands. Besides, I hardly know her. They just brought me home from the pound a short time ago. Besides, I’m very particular about who I let get intimate with me. I only let known friends shake my paw. I’ve got my pride. But It looked like she wasn’t going to feed me until I shook hands with her, so I let her shake my paw. Big deal. But she wasn’t satisfied with that.
The next day she wants me to “roll over”. That’s right, lie down on the floor and roll over—for no reason at all. How ridiculous is that? If she keeps this up I’m going to insist that I teach her some dog tricks. Okay, okay. I rolled over—but I think I sprained my back.
Larry wanted to continue my education, so one day he takes me out in the back yard and he has a stick in his hand. At first I thought he was going to whack me with it, but that wasn’t what he had in mind. You know what he does? He throws the stick to the other side of the yard and says, “Go get it, Schumacher! Fetch the stick! Bring it back to me!”
What is going on here? If he wanted the stick, why did he throw it away? As I said, I’ll never understand these humans. Okay, Larry. I’ll play your silly little game. I went and picked up the stick, but I decided I’d have a little fun. I didn’t take it back to him; I just started chewing on it. “No, Schumacher!” he yells, “No! “Bring the stick back to me”! Humans. They’re never satisfied. Well, I went along with him. Every time he threw the stick to the other side of the yard I’d run and pick it up and bring it back and drop it at his feet. It doesn’t take much to make Larry happy. To tell you the truth, I’m not sure he’s all that bright. But every time I brought the stupid stick back, he’d give me a dog biscuit. It’s fun, but I’ve got to watch my weight.
That stupid game got boring after a while, so I went into my “tired dog” act.. I started whimpering and laid down. Larry (as I hoped) decided to give me a rest. I wasn’t really tired—-just tired of humoring him.
After I had been faking the tired dog bit for a while, Larry went into the house so I was left looking for something else to do. I actually wanted to improve my social life, and I had noticed another dog which lived next door. I thought I’d jump the fence and see if he wanted to play. He told me he admired my jump and we liked each other right away.
We began to play together a lot. This dog’s name was Rex—only he told me on the first day his whole name was Royal Rex, Monarch of the High Plains. I asked him what that was all about. He told me that was his full name—the one that was on his pedigree. I asked, “What’s a pedigree?” Rex said it was a piece of paper that told what breed of dog you were, what dogs had been your ancestors and all that stuff. It’s all nonsense, but it keeps the human dummies at the American Kennel Club occupied, I guess.
Rex said, “You can’t have a pedigree unless you’re a purebred dog. All of your ancestors have to be just one breed. I’m a purebred Lhasa Apso”. ” Lhasa Whatso? I asked him. “A Lhasa Apso. My ancestors came from Tibet. That’s a country clear on the other side of the world. I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but we Lhasa Apsos are a very superior breed of dog”. He put his nose in the air and walked away. Well, smell him! Even if I wanted to be a purebred dog I’m not sure I’d want to be a Lhasa Whatever. I’m happy just being a regular dog. Sometimes they call me a mongrel and sometimes they just call me a mutt. I thought about that a long time once and then I decided, Yeah! I’m proud to be a mongrel! I like being a mutt! And if Rex Lhasa Whatshisface doesn’t like it he can go and drag his fancy ass on the grass!
But truthfully, one day I was feeling pretty low about not being purebred and all that, but then my female human Millie said something that made me feel better something that made me feel that she trusted me. She said, “Schumacher, I’m going out. I’ll be gone for about two hours. It’s cold out so I’m going to leave you in the house, but if you have to ‘go’ I’ve put some newspapers on the floor—‘go’ on the paper. Got that”? Yeah, I got it all right, but I remembered all the attention I got when I was a puppy and pooped on the rug. Just for old times sake, after Millie left I laid a load about four inches off the paper. You’ve got to keep these humans in line.
Anyway, she left and I was looking over the newspaper she had left on the floor. An item caught my eye that said, “A pet psychologist at the American Veterinary Association reports that a study done on the intelligence of dogs shows clearly that mongrel dogs have much greater intelligence than purebreds”. Hey! How about that? It looks like I’m smarter than that snotty pooch Rex next door! But I don’t think I’ll tell him. He seems like a pretty regular dog most of the time and I don’t want to hurt his feelings.
Come to think about it, though, I remember him telling me that he never could catch on to that simple ‘fetch the stick’ game I told you about. I caught on right away—but then I’m smart. I’m a mongrel. Rex’s male human Tom tried to teach Rex how to do it, but Rex said he never did bring the stick back to Tom. He ended up just hiding four different sticks so he wouldn’t have to bother with it. Come to think about it, that’s not so dumb. Rex is supposed to purebred, but I’ll bet he’s got another breed or two in there somewhere.
One day Rex barked and called me to the back fence. He was all excited and said his humans were going to enter him in a dog show. A dog show? I’d heard of them, but I never knew what they were. Well, it didn’t take me long to find out. The next Saturday Tom put Rex in a cage—can you believe it? He’s purebred and a pretty fancy pup at that—and they put him in a cage! I heard him yowling and I felt sorry for him, but I couldn’t do anything. Poor guy! Those purebreds have an awful time. Well, I’ll tell you one entry you can make in your collection of canine capers. You won’t ever see my mongrel butt going into a cage. I simply will not stand for it! Dogs need to be free. They need to have plenty of room to run and play! That’s what dogs doplay. And I’m an expert at it.
But I was telling you about my friend Rex’s humans putting him in a cage and hauling him off to a dog show.whatever that is.
Well, Rex came back from the dog show Monday and told me all about it. It was not a pretty story. Rex’s male human Tom took him to Chicago for the big dog show. When they got to the arena where they were having this thing Tom took Rex to a little curtained-ff space where and took him out of that blasted cage and stood him on top of it. He made him stand on top of that cage while he brushed his coat for about two hours. Rex has long hair and that stupid human brushed him until not a hair was out of place. Then he took him down to the main arena where a bunch of other purebred dogs and their humans were running around in circles while some other humans were looking at them. Don’t ask me what the purpose of all this was. They’re humans and sometimes you just have to put up with them. Rex heard somebody call these humans who were looking at the dogs “judges”. Some of these strange judges even put their hands on the dogs. One lousy human actually opened one dog’s mouth so he could look at his teeth! It’s a good thing no human never tried any of that stuff with me. I’d have bitten his fool hand off.
They handed out ribbons to some of the dogs, but Rex didn’t win anything. It was probably all that brushing that wore him out. I hope they don’t put Rex in any more dog shows, He can stay here and play with me.
Everything I’ve told you about my life so far may have led you to believe that I haven’t had any real problems—that I’ve been one happy pooch. I have to admit that that’s the way it has usually been around here, but I’ll tell you about something that rocked my dog world!
The day it all started had been pretty much like any other day. I had learned to behave reasonably well by human standards and for that behavior I had been well fed, had a comfortable place to sleep and was treated pretty well—or as well as the humans thought I deserved. Oh, sometimes I got out of line. Once in a while something was left lying around that I knew I wasn’t supposed to chew on, but there were times when I couldn’t resist temptation. Like the time Millie left her slippers on the bathroom floor. Wow, did they look like prime chewing material! Before I could stop myself, I had utterly destroyed one slipper and started on the other one when Millie came out of the kitchen and caught me in the act. I guess I deserved it, but that was one time I got my butt whacked good!.
But, all in all, this dog’s life has been a pretty good life. That is until one afternoon last week when I was snoozing on the bedroom floor. Larry and Millie had been out of the house all day. I was getting kind of hungry so I was glad to hear them come in. I ran to the front door to meet them, wagging my tail and jumping all over them. They always tell me to get down. They try to act as if they don’t like it, but I’m wise to them. They love it. I know they do. About that time I noticed that Millie was carrying a little basket. She said, “Shumacher, I’ve brought you a little friend. Right away I was suspicious. I had all the friends I needed. She and Larry were okay, as far as humans go. I had Rex, my buddy next door, the delivery men gave me somebody to bark at once in a while, so I figured I was pretty well set socially, but nothingnothing had prepared me for what was coming next. Millie reached into the basket and brought out— you’re not gonna believe this—a cat! A real, live, honest-to-God cat! A lousy little yellow ball of fur, looking all confused and scared. And if he wasn’t scared already, I’d give him something to be scared about! I started barking and trying to get at the little varmint. But Millie held him out of my reach and Larry said, “What’s the matter with you, Schumacher? It’s only a little kitten”. Kitten schmitten! It’s another animal! Another pet! Didn’t they know I’m the pet around this house? We don’t need any more pets. The lousy cat will probably eat all my food. He’d probably take my bed. I’d make that beast sorry he was ever born, or hatched, or however cats get here. I wished I could speak human. I’d let them know what they could do with that—that intruder!
They took that miserable little jerk into the living room and started to pet it. Just ignoring me. Not even looking at methe faithful, loyal dog. They acted like I wasn’t even alive. I’ve heard cats have nine lives. Well, that cat was gonna need ’em all and a few more before I got through with him.
I heard Millie telling Larry they were going to name the kitten Dora—because she was so adorable. She? She? Not only was the little jerk a cat, the lowest form of animal life—it was a girl cat. Doesn’t that make you want to throw up? It did me.
Well, after her highness—ugh—Dora had been around for about a week, I thought I’d better make my move.