I unearthed a major discovery the other day. I finally figured out how our twelve-year-old Lhasa Apso – Bichon Friese dog spends her days. I had a chance to follow Nittany for a full day.
It’s been a fascinating discovery.
My wife and I assumed that she spent the bulk of her days sleeping, eating, pooping where she shouldn’t, and sleeping some more. We were right in our assumption that she lived like a queen, but not the way we thought.
I took the job seriously. As soon as I woke, I grabbed my notebook and found Nittany on our couch. This had to be her lowest point in the day. She looked up depressed to see my wife and then my son leave for the day. If she were a human, I would have suggested she go talk to a doctor. She looked like her best friend had died.
When my son had left, I thought she would stay lying on the couch, but her next move shocked me. She got up from the couch and walked to our back door, jumped to the chair sitting next to it and used her paws to turn the knob.
When had she learned to open the door? I can’t even teach her to play fetch. I wondered what else she could do, but I thought I would go with it and followed her out the door.
When I caught up with her, I asked if I could follow her. I didn’t expect an answer, but didn’t you know it she spoke her first ever words to me: “It’s a free world. Just try to keep up. And don’t make look bad.”
Again, real shocker.
Step up to the bar
Nittany went down the deck and crossed our yard, strolling towards our neighbor’s shed. I wondered where she was headed. When we got to the shed door, she inched it open with her nose and walked in. I thought it was a normal shed, you know the type, big enough to fit a lawn mower, power trimmer, leaf blower, and perhaps some outside cushions, but, somehow it had been turned into a real life doggy lounge, dance floor and disco ball near the ceiling, and all the other dogs in the neighborhood sprawled out on cushions near a mahogany bar with a doggy bartender. A sign above the bartender flashed the name in neon blue: Cocktails & K9s.
“Hey everyone,” Nittany said.
And all the other dogs in the shed hollered back, “Hey Nitt!” It looked like something straight out of Cheers.
“Hope you guys don’t mind? My nosy owner decided to follow me today,” Nittany said. I still hadn’t gotten over that she could talk, but I was shocked even more to hear her talk about me with such contempt.
“What’s it going to be Nitt?” the bartender, a brown spotted mutt named Sparky, who I had seen running across my yard the day before, said to the both of us.
“You know the drill. Scotch on the rocks,” Nittany said. “Give him some of that bland tap water that he fills up my dish each night.” The bartender soon brought our drinks.
The gang’s all here
I looked around in amazement. Everyone was here. The huge black and caramel-colored German Shepherd from next door, the white Collie from up the street, the two brown and gray Pitbull mixes that occasionally visit my neighbors on the other side, and a few cats who kept to themselves in the corner. It was a who’s who of the local pet community.
“Who let the dogs out,” by the Baha Men played on the speaker, followed a short time later by Patti Page’s “How much is that Doggie in the window” and Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog.” The dogs seemed to have a special affinity for Snoop Dogg and Blake Shelton. I got the Snoop Dog reference, but an old Golden Retriever told me Shelton was a favorite because of his two hit songs: “I’ll name the Dog” and “Ol Red.”
I joked back, “I guess every dog has it’s day” but the Retriever didn’t care for my joke.
Meanwhjile, Nittany sipped on her drink, ordered another one when it got low, and palled around with her friends. At one point, she played a few rounds of poker with four dogs in the far corner. It looked like a serious game. Nittany wasn’t too bad. She left the table $70 richer. Of course, I wondered where she kept the money on her. She seemed to hide in her fur.
Back in time
Finally late in the day, Nittany yawned, took one last gulp from her drink, and got up from her cushion. “Sparky, it’s been fun, but I gotta get back before the family gets home. See everyone tomorrow?” The other bar patrons all barked their goodbyes to her. With that Nittany stepped outside and retraced her steps back inside the house, beating our son home from school. When he came home a few minutes later, she ran up to him acting like she had been thinking of him and snoozing the day away in his room.
When my wife came home later that night, she rubbed Nittany’s head and said “Were you a good puppy? Did you miss me?” Nittany licked her hands and looked happy. I swore I smelled scotch on Nittany’s breath, but I wasn’t going to let out her secret.
Who knows, maybe she’ll let me go bar-hopping with her again in a few days!