Count to ten


by Frances Edstrom

The-dog-who-must-not-be-written-about has been feeling low lately, suffering from a combination of the winter blahs and an ear infection.

After I finally took him to the vet, he was more than a little perturbed. "I told you there was something wrong with me," he pouted.

"Let's not go there," I said, "and you could be a little more cooperative with the treatments, please."

"Those pills make me gag."

"Really. And old dead, decaying fish carcasses on a river bank don't make you gag? You dogs are nuts!" I said.

"Oh, yeah!" he said, "Well if I'm so nuts, how come you won't spring for a trip to the dog psychiatrist like the one I read about in the Minneapolis paper a while back? It's just another example of the abuse I suffer at the hands of humans."

"Please. I read that article, and it seemed to me that it was more an animal behaviorist, and I thought the humans needed her services. How crazy is it to have to sneak out of your own bed in the middle of the night to sleep on the couch because your dog growls at you if you roll over on him while he's sleeping with you?"

"You don't let me sleep with you," he said.

"You got it, buster," I said. "I have enough to endure with a certain person snoring. I certainly don't need someone in the same bed who yelps and runs in his dreams."

"I bet you let the cat sleep in your bed," he said.

"No way," I said.

"I bet you would have taken the cat to the vet right away if she told you she had an ear infection," he said.

"Sit"down," I said, trying to be nice. "What is all this about the cat? She's been dead about nine years! You never even met her. Why the interest all of a sudden?"

"I just don't feel valued, I guess," he sniffled.

"Valued!" I said, trying to keep the volume in check. "Have you seen the vet bill? If you were a house your value would have increased about 500% and counting!"

"Does everything have to come down to money?" he asked. "Can't you just see me for me?"

"I not only can just see you for you, I can smell you for you, too," I said, instantly regretting that I was becoming a little nasty. But this entire conversation was beginning to bug me. "Tell you what," I said. "It seems that you are just a little bit touchy. Probably because you don't feel well. Why don't we talk later, after you've had a little rest."

He nodded morosely and jumped up on the beige couch.

"Down!" I thundered. "You aren't allowed on the furniture!"

"Fran," he said, as he jumped down and went to his pillow, "when we go back to the vet for a check on this ear, perhaps we should talk to him about your anger issues."

"Either that or electronic training aids," I muttered as I went to my room to lie down with a cold cloth on my forehead.


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