Our dog Cody is no more a Westminster show dog than I am an Olympic athlete. Still, to us, he’s a real winner.
Forget that we don’t know exactly what breed he is – what with the short legs, long body, floppy ears and unruly tuft of hair on top of his head. His records at the veterinarian identify him as a Spaniel mix, so we’ll just go with that.
Cody has quirky habits that crack us up, humor others and sometimes just make us shake our heads. Even though he is 12, he shows no signs of outgrowing them.
Lots of things make Cody happy – tummy rubs, car rides, snacks from the canister labeled “Treats” – but company really swings him into action.
Cody greets every guest with a shoe or boot in his mouth that he has retrieved from the back hall. If people kick off their own shoes, we immediately put them somewhere Cody can’t get to because he is likely to drop the first shoe and replace it with one belonging to those who just arrived.
This is not acceptable, of course, so we must act quickly.
Breakfast is how Cody and I start our day. Every morning I serve him dry food in one stainless steel bowl and, while he begins eating, I fill another with fresh water. As I return the bowl to its stand, Cody stops eating, steps back and waits until the bowl has landed.
Why? I figure it’s because I once accidentally tipped the bowl and splashed a small amount of water on his head. “Small” is the key word here. Still, he remembers.
The other dog in my life years back was Rascal. Rascal was not yet 2 when she came to live with my parents and me, the month after I graduated from college. Newly employed, I planned to take her with me when I moved into the pet-friendly place I was to share with my best friend.
But my parents fell in love with Rascal and refused to let her go. It was the best choice, and Rascal immediately became a great pal to my dad and an interior decorator’s assistant to my mom, often riding along in the station wagon along with the wallpaper books.
I once described her in a column this way (the dog, not my mother): “She had wide hips and a small head and a plume tail that could clear the coffee table of wine glasses with one swish.”
We share dog stories around the office. When I asked my coworker Toni Ruberto, a real “Star Wars” fan, about her dog’s quirks, she shared this:
“When Honey the Dog feels she’s not getting enough attention – which is anytime I watch TV or get on the phone – she goes into the spare room I use as an office and takes my ‘Star Wars’ toys off any shelf she can reach. She throws them around the room and flings them at me.”
Now that’s funny. Even funnier than our dog running around with a big shoe in his mouth.