A few weeks ago my mother informed me that she has been watching The Dog Whisperer on tv. She told me that Cesar Millan, the host of the show and the Dog Whisperer himself, has been teaching her a lot about how to handle her own juvenile delinquent Maltese, Fritz.
She said, “I’ve learned to speak quietly to Fritz.” Whereupon, Fritz began barking. Without skipping a beat, she whirled around and hollered at the top of her lungs, “Fritz!! Shut!! Up!!” If that was her quiet voice, I was glad to be enjoying that slight touch of middle-aged deafness. Perhaps Fritz was now deaf as well, and that was why he repeatedly ignored her commands.
Wondering just who this Dog Whisperer was, I went to the library and checked out the DVDs, bringing them home to watch. I learned several eye-opening things. One was that Randy and I had made grave mistakes dealing with my 5 lb poodle named Beauregard.
Beau came into my life 30 years ago when I was still in high school.
We quickly became inseperable . . .
. . . doing everything together. . . sleeping, playing, eating. . . I remember going for Kentucky Fried Chicken runs in my ’72 Buick Skylark. Beau would ride my shoulder while I drove to the restaurant, then guard the box with his life while we took it home. This involved embracing the lunch box, wagging his tail, sniffing deeply, and growling at any passengers who looked at him.
Then I met Randy, my husband-to-be, and Beau’s life ended. Or so he thought. On the evening after my wedding, I stopped by the house to pick up some things I had forgotten. On my way back out the door, Beau wrapped his legs around my ankle and tried to stop me from leaving. Of course, at 5 lbs, I didn’t even know he was riding my foot until someone stopped me before I could exit the house.
The first few weeks I was married, Beau spent every day and every night sitting on the front window sill, watching for my return. And every time we came back to visit, I would have to reassure Beau that we were still best friends in spite of Randy.
At this, Randy invented a game called, ‘Who do you pick?’ This involved Randy and Beau vying for my attention, while Randy asked me the question that gave the game its name. They would both stare at me, waiting, Randy playing at looking sad while Beau spent all his energy trying to push Randy’s face out of my line of vision.
And, of course, playing the game, I would pick Beau. And as I hugged and kissed Beau, he would turn to make sure that Randy was enviously watching.
I don’t have to wonder what the Dog Whisperer would make of that.
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