For a long time I have been praising the acute intelligence of our dogs. Now I hang my head in shame as I am forced to proclaim that they are idiots.
I am talking about Hutch, the black Labrador mix, and Buddy, the ‘I don’t know what he is’. No, I didn’t bless them with those names. My wife declared that the black dog would be henceforth be known as Hutch – for that was a manly, strong name befitting a brave black Lab. (The underlying message there. I think, was that Jerry was not a manly strong name – although I didn’t press the point..) Buddy, which is a cross between a German Shepherd and Beagle and about every other mutt in the world, is quiet, amiable and friendly with everyone – hence he is a ‘Buddy’.
To give you an idea of their personalities – when we go to the Dog Park , Hutch prances around like he owns the place, many times challenging other dogs that are smaller than him. But, if they snarl at him, he quickly backs off.
Buddy, on the other hand, kaplops over to everyone offering to be their friend. Kaplops? Well, when we found Buddy, he had a limp in his left front leg. The doc said there was a calcified bone chip in the leg, and the $1,000 surgery probably wouldn’t help. So we give him baby aspirin and glucosamine. But his little limp doesn’t stop him. He can kaplop pretty darn fast. He is sort of the lovable favorite of everyone.
Late last night my Marilyn and I plopped on the couch to watch the news. Hutch snuggled on the couch between us, and Buddy stretched out behind the couch next to the sliding glass doors. Yes, that’s right, we have a sofa against the glass doors. That’s just the way it is – our den furniture can only rearranged so many ways. Anyway, we use another door for access to the outside.
The news was boring and all was calm. Suddenly Buddy, the one behind the couch, started scratching himself, and in so doing was banging his elbow against the glass door. I guess that should have been an indication right there. I mean, if you scratched yourself while banging your elbow on something, wouldn’t you stop or move or something? Not Buddy – he just continued scratching and banging.
Well, with all of this commotion against the glass doors, Hutch jumped up. Clearly someone was trying to break into the house. He jumped off the couch and paced back and forth barking and whimpering. We tried to explain to him that it was just Buddy. He looked at us thinking that we are just stupid humans that can’t hear anything, and clearly someone was breaking into the house and it is his responsibility to protect us.
So he danced around barking and kept running back and forth and finally tore through the doggy door barking up a storm.
Now this started a firestorm with Buddy. As far as he was concerned, Hutch had found an intruder and needed Buddy’s help to fight him off. So Buddy starts barking and tears off from behind the sofa and he too flies out the doggy door barking insanely.
While they are in the backyard chasing invisible desperadoes, I sat back down and looked at my wife. She looked at me, and we shook our heads in resignation. Clearly we were going to have to withdraw our dog’s names from the Nobel Prize nomination list.
The sequence of events. Buddy made a noise. Hutch thought that noise was an intruder and went to chase him. Buddy also thought there was an intruder because Hutch thought so.
A few minutes later they came back into the house prancing proudly. They looked to us for praise, for they had risked life and limb to protect us from those evil forces that were trying to do us in. We praised them while also pointing out that they were stupid. They didn’t care. They felt good about themselves.
I guess the message here is if you are going to do something stupid, do it proudly.