Tuesday 27 Sep 2016

On Guard for Thee
Jennifer Flaten

We have a dog, a generic black dog. We love him as a member of the family, albeit an unemployed family member who spends his day sleeping on the couch.

Actually, if you asked the dog he would say he has a job. One of his main duties, aside from holding the couch down, is to serve as an early warning system. A warm alarm, he works for food and tummy rubs.

He springs into action anytime a car pulls into our driveway or the driveway across the street or even the house down the block. He barks if a car slows down looking for an address. Sometimes he barks to let us know he’s on duty.

Anyway, visitor, pizza man, UPS man, all of them cause the dog to go from sleeping, that is, almost in a coma, to full bark mode. Before the visitor can put the car into park, the dog is off the couch and running to the door. All this is done while barking at the top of his little doggie lungs.

Much like a bouncer, his primary job is to keep unwanted guests from entering the house. Luckily, the dog comes equipped with a menacing bark and imposing size. Unfortunately, just like a real bouncer if you slip him a twenty or, in the dog’s case, a dog biscuit, he will look the other way as you slip past the velvet rope.

He is not the entirely reliable at telling friend from foe. He welcomes the fellow who sells meat of the back of the truck with open paws. His job is mostly ceremonial.

When the dog barks, people are suitably terrified, drop the package or flyer on the porch and run off. The dog, feeling smug, goes back to sleep on the couch. The self-satisfaction of a job done well comforts him.

The dog, to put it mildly, is energetic. No really, he is when he’s not sleeping he is always up for a walk or a good squirrel chase. Anyway, he is also ten years old, which borders on ancient for a dog his size, but don’t tell him, as he still thinks he’s a puppy.

In fact, the last time I took him for a walk a couple stopped us to ask if he was “done growing yet?” Um, yes. In fact, he’s been “done” for the past nine years. You can imagine their surprise, when I told them he was ten, the look on their faces told me they thought I was pulling their leg.

Yep, he acts like a puppy, without all the “accidents” and chewing stuff. Although, I wouldn’t mind if he “accidentally” ate some of the kids more annoying toys.

This joie de vive most likely caused his injury. He tore his ACL ligament. Yes, my dog and professional athletes share the same injury. Though I doubt that major league, athletes get their injuries from chasing a squirrel.

We took him to the vet, which as far as the dog is akin to a day at the spa. Most other dogs run and hide if you say, “vet” our dog runs to the car. He jumps in the car, starts it up and guns the engine.

He loves the vet’s because they give him attention. Who cares if the attention includes poking, prodding and shots? He is getting ear scratches and treats, treats!

The doctor diagnosed a torn ligament and recommended several different treatments. One involved lasers. I declined, unless the lasers, somehow, mounted permanently on him, making him a true home defense system I think medicine is a much better and less expensive way to go.

Don’t worry the medicine is working.  If you need to deliver a package here watch out the dog is ready to leap off the couch and demand to know if you name is on the guest list.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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