This is Lucky. He’s a good boy.
When my sister goes out town, Lucky stays with me — or perhaps I should just admit that he becomes the boss of me. I have a weakness for dogs, and given the choice, I’d rather spend a day with a four legged pooch than people. This has always been the case. I once got reprimanded by my father (not a dog person) when I voiced my companionship-preference, but years later I still feel the same way. Other dog people agree with me.
When I say Lucky is the boss of me, I am not kidding. When he’s home, our conversations tend to go something like this:
Lucky: Let me out. I left my ball outside.
Me: You just came in. Your ball is right there.
Lucky: Wrong. That is not my ball. My ball is outside.
Walter goes outside with Lucky.
Lucky: Wait here. I left my ball inside.
I have fallen for this on more than one occasion. I feel like a fool when I do, but something about Lucky’s brown eyes make me loose all sense of competence, and I’m easily overcome by canine logic.
When Lucky visits, we both get plenty of exercise. A Golden Retriever loves to run, and Lucky is very possessive about his belongings. Lucky has a soft-chewable ball he likes to keep with him at all times. When he’s indoors, he carries the ball in his mouth wherever he goes. While napping, he’ll rest his head on the ball, and at the sound feet coming anywhere near him, he’ll open his eyes to make sure the ball is safely guarded from prying hands. When he’s outside in the backyard, he likes to play fetch and run after the ball. Our games are simple and go something like this:
Lucky: Let’s go outside and play fetch.
Me: We just came in. I’m not going out now.
Lucky: Wrong. Let’s go outside. Throw me the ball.
Walter goes outside with Lucky and throws Lucky’s ball.
Lucky: Fetch my ball. I’ll wait inside.
I’ve lost 15 pounds since Lucky and I began playing fetch. He makes for a good workout partner and coach. The walking and fetching are a lightweight’s version of cross-fit exercise, with stepping on a pile of old dog poop the only danger to look-out for.
The more time I spend with Lucky, the more I wonder at canine intelligence and cunning. Dogs are not as dumb as some movies make them to be. Hollywood has a tendency to claim that dogs are not as clever or smart as cats, and that they are easily distracted by, say, chasing after a squirrel or trying to catch a limpkin. But I don’t find that to be true. On a recent visit, Lucky displayed dexterous flexibility and rational thinking skills while I made myself a snack.
Lucky: Gimme a milkbone. I’m a good boy.
Me: I already gave you four. That’s enough for today.
Lucky: Wrong. You don’t know how to count. Gimme a milkbone.
Walter gives Lucky a milkbone.
Lucky: I meant a bacon strip yummy. Gimme a bacon strip yummy because I’m good.
All of which proves my point that dogs are better company than people. On Mondays, when my sister comes to pick him up, I find myself longingly looking out the window hoping he’ll come back again, soon, so we can play fetch again, and curl up with the latest episode of Cesar Milan’s The Dog Whisperer. Now there’s a human who needs some dog training!