My owners are off taking a break, so I offered to pound out Robb’s column on the old Selectric. This will be a quick yelp, since my double-dewclaws get hung up in the return key. Not sure why humans call it “return” and not “fetch,” but that’s just me.
This may be news to humans, but like you, this time of year pets reflect on life. Or, in the case of cats, their remaining lives, and look for places we can improve. Fitness, finance, travel… we all have the same needs. So, I’m sharing my lists with you. Both of them—the one I have for myself, and the other I have for my owners.
- Bigger Holes – My owners have undone much of my year’s hard work by filling in my cool resting spots. This tells me I need to make them deeper and more numerous. In addition, I need to clear that pesky irrigation system out of the way. The sprinkler heads were masticated into non-existence by a previous pooch. But the PVC pipe remains. I can safely remove the remaining plumbing, though. Who’ll notice?
- Louder Barking – It’s a dangerous world out there, judging by the newspaper I deliver each morning to the porch. Only kidding. They been trying to get me to bring it to the porch for years, but I see this as a chance to extend our “we-time” and work on my game of keep-away. Anyway, I do know that the neighbor’s cat has evil intentions, and I am the neighborhood watch dog. It’s a thankless job, as I routinely get locked in the garage when the gal next door calls. I suppose she and her cat are both conspiring against me. That should go in the report.
- More Doggie-Variety Dietary Fiber - I just sniffed the garbage pile, and it all came back to me. Bow-WOW! Has it been more than a year since I ate mini-blinds? Oh, I know what you’re thinking. How blasé? Who eats those these days? I agree. The basic plastic variety offers no roughage and precious little flavor, much like eating a McDonald’s big Mac, with or without the Styrofoam case. But my hors-de-louvered treats are the oversized, custom-ordered, genuine wood numbers my owners had up in their front windows. Delicious, and it’s been entirely too long since I feasted on them. They’re a real delicacy, and only slightly less expensive than fine caviar.
- Stepped-up Shedding – Everyone needs a change of wardrobe sometime, and I have been wearing the same winter coat for weeks now. I may need a new scratching regime, or a Barcalounger-based exfoliating scrub. But this brings up an awkward point…. Is my hair thinning with age? That darn Roomba keeps sucking up my furballs. Terrible! I need to do better. Visitors might not know a dog lives here, and nothing says home-sweet-home like fuzzy floors.
- Better Begging – OK. I may have this nailed, but who has a list of just FOUR items? I’ve got the chops for this. Everyone melts before my big, brown eyes, and the laying-my-head-on-your-knee is the perfect closer. But I resolve to do more. Maybe I should take up whining? That seems to work for my canine companion, Gracie. Or, better yet, I could scratch at the door the way the cat does.
My Owners’ List
- Fewer Vet Visits – Yes, I know you felt you needed to take me in when the mini blinds went missing. But, really, was this for my health or were you just being mean? Let the vet put the thermometer below your tail and see how you like it. Remember, as the Good Book says, “This, too, shall pass.” Cost you some bucks, too. And his sage advice. “Just watch and check her stool.” Wasn’t that fun for both of us? Two words. Privacy-please.
- Less ‘Garage-Time’-It’s tiring digging those holes, and I want to come in and rest by the fireplace—not be stuck by the washer and dryer. Don’t kid yourself. The mud that falls off in the garage ends up inside anyway. It would save you time, and a second trip to the back door, to just let me right it. Isn’t it easier to just vacuum a bit rather than scrubbing my paw prints the back door?
- Better Kibble – I may be allergic to fish, but I still want it. OK? (See above note on vet visits, though.) It seems to bother you when I scratch myself silly and have bald spots. Really, I’m down with it. Well, maybe not…. But what’s the harm in occasional wheat and forbidden-meat? I usually manage to have my accidents on the hardwood floors. Let’s face it, they needed mopping anyway .
- More Walks!-I know it’s been rainy this month. But that’s not my problem. Buy some galoshes and a better umbrella. Yeah, I know, someone chewed up the last one. But it wasn’t me. OK, you saw me with it in my mouth, but I was just putting it back. You do trust me, right? I’m your best friend. And on that note….
- Ditch the Cats – Think of how much nicer it would be to come home and not find the carpet covered with hawked-up-hairballs. Imagine the joy of finding you your antique ceramic figurines intact and not on the floor, pulverized. Because I’m bound by the pet’s code-of-silence, I can’t SAY the cats did this. But just think a bit. It wasn’t you. The kids are gone. And I can’t climb up there. You do the math.
That’s it. I’m off to the back yard to work on my list. You should start on yours.
The cat carrier is in the garage.
Robb has enjoyed writing and performing since he was a child, and many of his earliest performances earned him a special recognition-reserved seating in the principal’s office at Highland Elementary. Since then, in addition to his weekly column on A News Cafe - "Or So it Seems™" - Robb has written news and features for The Bakersfield Californian, appeared on stage as an opening stand-up act in Reno, and his writing has been published in the Funny Times. His short stories have won honorable mention national competition. His screenplay, “One Little Indian,” Was a top-ten finalist in the Writer’s Digest competition. Robb presently lives, writes and teaches in Shasta County.