Monday, December 24, 2007

Something Nude

Sailor here.

Right after dinner, Mom hupped me onto my grooming table and took the pin brush to me. “Sailor,” she said between tangles, “Tonight we are going to night-time dog school.”

“You mean I won’t see Mrs. Dogs-On-The-Inside anymore?” I asked.

“We will still go Saturday morning,” she explained. “We are adding a class Monday night to get you ready for your CD.”

This was a lot to think about. I’m glad we will still take class with my Saturday buddies. And I’ve waiting forever for that Compact Disk to appear, so Monday nights will be fine with me, too.

And in fact, Monday night was a blast. First of all, it was dark and for once, I could see better than Mom. Instead of Mrs. Dogs-On-The-Inside, our Alpha was Mrs. CounterclockwiseEveryone. I remembered her from the Nine-Year DownStay evening in which I do a DownStay for nine years and Mom listens to a bunch of people meet and talk and eat cookies. Some times I get cookies, too, when I am lying down doing nothing. (Zoe thinks this sounds like heaven: cookies for doing nothing.)

Second of all, our dog school class gave me the opportunity to show off. I love showing off. I showed off how I could heel and come and sit and heel and heel. I got to show how I have overcome my lagging tendencies and now end up forged. And best of all, I got cookies. And cheese. And Rollover.

“How do you like your Nude Dog School?” Mom asked while we were waiting in line for the Recall.

“Huh?” I looked around. No nude dogs, just a lot of hairy ones. Some of the people were hairy, too. Mom has some strange notions at times, but I decided that tact was the better part of getting cookies and overlooked Mom’s insanity..

“Great,” I said, “just great.”

On our next heeling pattern, Mom stumbled a bit on the bumpy grass and I banged into her. Her timing was all off in the dark. Mrs. CounterclockwiseEveryone then asked the humans to count in cadence when we heeled to make it easier for us dogs to keep our humans in step. I thought that was a great idea. After all, this is obedience class and our humans are learning to be obedient.

“One, two, one two,” some people counted.

“Tick, tock, tick, tock,” I heard others chant.

Mom had a different idea, though. She started singing to keep time. This would have been OK, except she started singing about our web–footed friends and this reminded me about the great duck disaster. Ducks are NOT my friends, especially puffy-headed, slappy-footed rogue ducks. I lost my concentration and took a few missteps.

“Mom,” I whined banging into her knee on the Left Turn. “Ducks? Please gimme a break here.”

“Oh, Sailor, sorry,” Mom whispered. “I forgot.”

Mom stopped, regrouped and started off on her left foot humming an Ode to Joy. I looked around for Joy, but she wasn’t there. Shrugging, I decided Joy was better than Ducks, even though she was absent, and, forging a bit, I took off by Mom’s side, keeping her more or less in step.

Too soon, it was time to go, and I reluctantly jumped into the dog car for the ride home.

But the next night, Mom again hustled me into the dog car and drove off with my water bottles in my backpack and cookies in her pocket.

“Nude Dog School again?” I asked, as we pulled into the parking lot and Mom saddled me up.

“No,” Mom answered. “It’s dog club night.”

I had a very bad moment suddenly, picturing abuse and violence. So when we arrived at the meeting room, I spent a few moments sniffing all the corners, looking for clubs. Mom noticed my agitation and patted me on the ribs reassuringly. She explained that we were at a meeting of her dog TRAINING club, but even so, it took me a while to relax. Training clubs sounded even worse.

Mrs. CounterclockwiseEveryone was there and gave my ears a rub when I wagged up to her. My other friend, Pat the Doberman, was there, patting her Doberman. I gave her a big hug and politely sniffed noses with her pretty Doberman bitch. Mom has told me to always be polite to Dobermen, and I suppose the same applies to Doberwomen, too.

Then began the long DownStay. After three minutes, I popped up.

“What?” Mom said, looking surprised.

“My three minutes are up,” I patiently explained.

“This is not the three-minute DownStay,” Mom said, waving me into a Down again.

After five minutes, I popped up.

“Sailor,” Mom said, waving me down a second. “You must stay down until I release you.”

Hearing the magic word, I popped up.

“Arrrgh,” Mom growled and gave me a very small leash pop.

I downed. And stayed down. For nine years.

I am so glad we only go to Dog Training Club once a month. It’s not easy being obedient with nothing to do but smell the cookies in Mom’s pockets.

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