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One of those ‘Y’ words (11/08/2006)
By Frances Edstrom

The dog-who-must-not-be-written-about was moping around Monday morning, sighing heavily and refusing to come to me for a pet.

"Is there something wrong?" I asked.

"Uh, wrong?" he mumbled, pretending he hadn't heard me.

"Yes. Your body language is sending a pretty strong message of unhappiness," I said. "Did something happen?"

"I just have a question," he pouted.

"At your service," I said, biting my tongue.

"Is that puppy going to be coming around here often?"

"Puppy? Oh, do you mean the baby?" Morgan and Dan came to show off our new granddaughter, Peyton, to the family last weekend, admittedly creating a happy fuss among the grownups.

"Puppy, baby, same thing," he said. "Just another one of those words ending in ‘y' that you humans go crazy over."

"Oh, really? Words ending in ‘y'?"

"Sure, ‘puppy, baby, money, honey, sunny, funny'. You never met a ‘y' word that didn't send you into raptures," he said rather snidely.

"What about ‘tragedy'?" I said, thinking I had him cornered.

"Hah! That's the one you humans love best of all"¦if it happens to someone else. You can get months of mileage from a good tragedy!"

"That's not fair! How about ‘windy', or ‘attorney'?"

"Ooh!" he mimicked, hitting rather too close to home, "did you hear the wind last night? It was so windy! And attorney! You humans have more attorneys than a dog has fleas. You love your attorneys."

"Okay, I concede," I said. "But we still have the problem of the baby, don't we?"

"Not if they keep her where she belongs"¦in Illinois!" he said.

"Well, they're not going to do that, because she's part of the family now, and we all love her," I said. "She's beautiful, and sweet, and a really, really, good baby."

"She barks too much," he said.

"She doesn't bark at all, she just cries when she's hungry," I defended, "or needs a change of diaper."

"Aha! If I remember correctly, I was never allowed to wear a diaper. Even as a brand-new puppy, you shoved me out the back door to do my business. And another thing, you never held me while I ate. And you didn't think it was adorable when I chewed things"¦as puppies will do."

"Puppies are a different thing entirely!" I started.

"And I never in all my six years remember you singing to me. Not even a chorus of ‘How much is that doggy in the window' or ‘Who let the dogs out'. Is it any wonder I'm a little out of sorts?"

"You get a regular spa day," I tried.

"That's a haircut, sister!" he said rather forcefully. "And I never ask for it."

"I suppose you never asked to be born, either," I said. "But you were, and you're a dog, a very wonderful dog, but still a dog. Peyton is a baby human being, and requires different handling, you might say."

He was silent for a while, pacing in front of the windows, looking out at the lilac tree, and the few leaves clinging to its branches.

"Will you still love me?" he asked quietly.

"Of course," I said, "you're still my little doggy, and I still go crazy over you."

That seemed to satisfy him. Until the next visit. Until Peyton starts crawling, walking, talking, and stealing his toys.

"I can't wait to see her again," I whispered to myself.

"I heard that!" he said. "Have you forgotten my superior canine talents already?" 


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