PATROLLING

I was dreaming about the schoolchildren I had helped read in the morning. They read See Me Dig, Go, Dog, Go, and books about an elephant, Gerald, and a pig, Piggie. I like it when they pet me in between books with their small, smelly hands.

When you let me come with you to tonight’s meeting, I didn’t know it would be so boring. You were enjoying yourself, but I had to lie down and snooze. A few people had dogs with them. The smart ones left their animals at home. Every time you stood up to move from table to table, I thought it was time to leave. I am always alert, even when I pretend to be sleeping.

Suddenly, I heard someone outside the closed double doors. That someone did not sound or smell right. He was shuffling and breathing hard. I barked once to let everyone know there could be danger. The sound and smell dragged across the floor. I barked again several times. You took my face in your hands and tried to calm me down. I knew better. It was not good. I kept barking.

You put your big purse on your shoulder and we walked out. There he was, right outside the door, just like I was trying to tell you. You saw him too. He didn’t look as bad up close, but he had me worried. It is my job to locate all people who could be a threat.

I know I am not supposed to bark at meetings. You have told me that before. But, I had a conflict of interest. It happens.

Oliver’s Advice: I’m glad you understand me. Sometimes, I can’t help barking.

WITNESSING

Hello, everyone. Today you and I were walking around one of Minneapolis’ wonderful, odoriferous lakes. The tree bark smelled especially slurpy. I had just been groomed and I was very clean and handsome. That usually lasts about three days. A friendly, delicious labrador, wet and muddy from the lake, bounded out of nowhere to greet us. You were twirling around trying to keep him away because he was not on a leash and you had just paid a lot of green stuff to the kind person who grooms me.

From far away a woman called his name. She looked like she was pushing a stroller. You hurried toward her to help, and we both saw she wasn’t pushing a stroller at all. In fact, she was pushing a knee caddy, the kind you had in December when you broke your foot. She was out of control and her dog was out of control and it was a very bad thing. Suddenly, her knee caddy slipped out from under her, and she toppled over. Right on the gravel. Her dog pounced on her and sniffed and licked her until she grabbed her long Chuck-it with the ball in it and whacked her dog a few times on his back.

I felt very sad. So did you. We hurried to help, but she had already righted herself and gotten her caddy, dog, Chuck-it, and herself into the car. You talked to her through her car window. She was crying. Her face looked squinched up. She said she’d had a very bad day.

You get upset with me when I steal socks and shoes, but you have never ever hit me, especially with an instrument of torture. You get particularly mad at me when I turn down your bed. I will admit that my service is not at neat as it could be. After you have made the bed so nicely, I like to put my stamp of approval on it. I toss your pillows around and pull your bedding down just like I have seen in the hotels we stop in on our way to California. I am an amazing dog, quick as lightning.

Oliver’s Advice: You aren’t perfect, but thank you for not hitting me no matter how naughty I am.

PLACES I DON’T GET TO GO

placesI happen to know you go places where
people bring dogs, but you don’t bring me.
I know this because you just took a photograph
of a Pomeranian named Gracie Bear
with black fur and a red leash
who seemed to be drinking beer at a burger joint.
She was sitting right up on the lap of some blonde
getting ready to imbibe.
I’m not asking to sit on your lap.
I’m too big for that.
I know how to lie under a table quietly.
I’m not asking for beer.
I know better. Alcohol is a depressant.
I’m not asking you to be blonde.
I like you the way you are.
I’m asking you to leave your bicycle home
and take me to dinner.
How about it?

Advice from Oliver: Take me with you,
especially if you sit outside. I am at least as cute as Gracie Bear.