Saturday, November 24, 2007

Dog School, Zoe Style

Sailor here.

I learned that there are two kinds of Dog School: Dog School with Mom and Dog School with Zoe. They are very different. Dog School with Mom is where I learn to sit, stay, heel, and lie down to a hand signal. Dog School with Zoe is where Zoe teaches me to be a Siberian husky.

One morning on a Zoe-school walk, Zoe and I found a dead opossum in the middle of the road. I wasn't much interested. I mean, dead animals? Give me a break.

“Oboy, look at that!” cried Zoe with delight. “Let’s chase it! Come on, Sailor, make it run!”

“Zoe, I think it’s dead,” I replied. “It won’t be running anywhere.”

“Well, then, we can roll in it.” Zoe was in her negotiating mood.

Mom promptly took Zoe in hand and they practiced the Leave It command until I yawned loudly with boredom.

“Zoe,” Mom said to her dog, “Please try to act more like Sailor when we’re in public.”

“Can I act like a Zoe when we are at home?” Zoe asked.

“Of course, within reason,” Mom told her.

“Good,” said Zoe, “I will teach Sailor how to act like me.”

Back home, Zoe began to teach me to play Siberian-style. This meant running and jumping and punching and playing Spit Head and being VERY loud at the same time. I was trying to be LOUD, but it was hard to remember to make noise when Zoe jumped all the way over me.

Zoe taught me to roughhousing in the kitchen, too. And we spilled the entire water bowl all at once. It made a great splash and a pinging-zinging sound and our feet got soaked.

“Can we do it again?” Zoe asked Mom, shaking the water from her paws.

“Certainly not!” Mom broke out the towels. “Too bad you didn’t splash Sailor’s head, though. It’s all covered with dog spit from your wrestling games.”

Fearing a bath, Zoe slunk into the living room and curled up on her rug. I joined her.

“What’s next?” I asked. “Being a Siberian is lots of fun.”

“Follow me,” Zoe led the way to the guest room. “I will show you how to jump on the bed.”

“Zoe and Sailor! What do you think you’re DOING?” Mom yelled when she caught us.

“Who me?” Zoe gave Mom her most innocent look. Zoe is famous for looking innocent during all manners of disasters.

I cowered in the corner, fearing that the world would come to an end.

Zoe whispered to me, “Don’t worry, Sailor. Mom isn't really mad; she just wants to make a point.”

Mom threw us out the back door. The world did not come to an end. I am NOT, however, going to jump on that bed again. Ever.

Next, Zoe taught me how to jump on the couches, but Mom let us know that was not allowed either.

“Foiled you,” she said to Zoe.

She put aluminum foil on the couches and it was really YUCKY to jump on the foil. Zoe set about to foil the foil, and I can't wait to see what she comes up with.

When Mom was at work, Zoe and I spent our day in the outdoor dog run where we were safe. I had always thought the dog run kept us safe from bears in the backyard or falling tree limbs, but now I know that the dog run is a place to keep us safe from ourselves.

“Hey, Sailor,” called Zoe from the deep inside the doghouse. “Let me show you how much fun it is to take things apart.”

She dragged out the cool mat I liked to lie on during hot days of summer. Zoe chewed and chewed. Water ran out of the mat and Zoe chewed up the foam and scattered it around.

“Oboy, this is fun. This is really fun,” she said between bites. “I love this. This is really fun.”

Then she threw up.

It didn't look like fun to me.

I thought Zoe was going to be in big trouble when Mom got home, but Mom didn't say anything at all. I was disappointed. All Mom did was sigh deeply and clean up the mess. Zoe's poop looked a little funny the next day, too.

“I’ll keep a close eye on Zoe,” Mom told me, “in case she gets sick.”

“I’ve never been sick in my life,” Zoe said and went to lie down by herself in the far corner of the dog yard.

I lay down nearby in the sunshine, hoping that Mom would find a new way to keep me cool when the sun was hot. I wondered how long it would take for me to turn into a Siberian husky and if Mom would ever take Siberian lessons from Zoe, too.

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