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Senior Correspondent

Shoeless, I gracefully frolic as neighbors lovingly walk their pups, baggies in hand. I appreciate them and their doggies. No animals do more for people than dogs. (I do not want to hear from monkey lovers, puleez!) Canines have existed for centuries protecting and pooping on property. Indeed, the ancient Ethiopians respected dogs so much they once chose a dog as king. They obeyed his every command, or what they believed to be his will whenever he barked.

They must have been busy, those Ethiopians, if their king was anything like our dog. He barked at cat commercials and vacuum cleaners. Ants drove him nuts. He adored burglars. He allowed us to sleep throughout the night while two bikes and a weed whacker were snatched.

A dog intelligence test would have concluded that our dog was not too bright. Tests, like elections, are open to interpretation. Frankly I'd prefer my dog to represent me in our current congress … but that is another story.

That ridiculous exam would want me to believe that my precious dog had a bird brain but I see him as having different priorities from us. Insects bugged him; burglars did not.

Fortunately, he never learned he was too good for us. We already felt inferior since he was a purebred golden retriever and we were simply mutts from Brooklyn. His name was Charlton Farthington Worthington, IV. When I teasingly called him Chuck, he summoned his manservant to have me removed from the premises, till dinner time.

Environment is said to influence canine behavior. That is totally not true. We brought him up to believe that sex is beautiful, a natural function between consenting adults. Still a few times a year he'd slink out the doggy door and hook up with the poodle wearing her off-the-shoulder flea collar, who lived next door and when Charlton returned he was filled with guilt.

He'd sneak across the floor close to the wall and hide under the bed. Where did he learn that? We stopped behaving that way several years before his arrival.

Our dog brought us so much joy and humor most of the time and even a bit of exasperation when he was but a tyke. One time we had to attend a function for most of the day, leaving him food and water to cover our absence. He was so angry at us that when we returned, we saw that he had dragged a 6 x 9 rug out the tiny doggie door along with paper goods, toys and any shoe he was able to find. To this very day I cannot believe he could have done this, unless he had an accomplice.

So though I honor and salute his memory often and specifically on “Happy Dog Day, to Charlton and all other dogs” let it be known that if Chuck had flunked any IQ test, I would have continued to adore him.

He was loyal, forgiving and licked me all over when I returned home. Can you make that statement about any other friend? Do you have his number?

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©2012 Jan Marshall. All rights reservedUnauthorized use is strictly prohibited 

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