Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Mousetraps on the Sofa

I wonder what Barry will use in the White House?
by Charlie Leck

Jasper, the Black Labrador who came to live with us this past September, is basically a wonderful dog. Mother has been taking him to obedience school and he passed quickly through the first three levels and found himself proudly at the top of the class in level four – a post graduate level where a dog may earn the M.A. of obedience training. Only a PhD lurks out there beyond him yet – the designation of “companion dog.”

So, indeed, mother is to be congratulated for her commitment to regular attendance at these complicated training seminars.

A friend I chat with regularly at the dog park mentioned that “she will be ever so much brighter and disciplined for the experience.”

“No, no,” I reminded my friend, “Jasper is male – a he!”

“Indeed, I know,” said my friend, “I’m talking about your wife.”

I want to be careful with my wording in this blog because I understand it is important not to allow a student, who is rising through the levels so quickly, to develop any sort of sense of inferiority. Therefore, if you encounter him, don’t bring this topic up with Jasper.

This is a dog who has mastered “sit down, stand up, shake my hand!... lie down, roll over, fetch this ball!” That’s all masterful stuff. He even knows the difference between “stay there” and “wait there,” which I yet do not.

Yet, the lowly, black mutt cannot learn to stay off the friggin’ furniture! He thinks every upholstered chair and every sofa in the house is his personal domain.

As I began decorating the Christmas Tree on Sunday, mother came home from the hardware store with a bundle in her hands and a wide smile spread across her face.

“Mouse traps,” she beamed, “these will do the trick.”

She began “setting” mouse traps (complete with artificial cheese that smells like little, skinny strips of yellow plastic) on all the furniture in the living room – 3 on each sofa and one on each of the comfy chairs, including upon the one I call “Archie Bunker’s chair,” and upon which no “meathead son-in-law” is allowed to sit, but upon which Jasper takes great pride in sprawling.

“Now we’ll see how quickly he can learn,” said the gloating woman of the house.

The dog watched her doing her evil work. He tilted his head from one side to the other each time she drew a trap back into its firing position and then gingerly placed them upon each inviting cushion in the big room. Now, granted he’s a smart dog, but it didn’t really take a PhD to figure out what this geek of dog training and obedience lessons was up to.

In the 48 hours since, no black dog has approached any of the furniture in the living room; however, he’s been content to curl up on any of the several beds we have scattered about. He’s also found a nice, cushy chair in my study about which the trap-meister forgot. He’s curled up there now, snoring lightly as I conclude this blog posting.

Oh yes, in this 48 hour period, neither has any human being approached our cushy furniture. I even brought a straight-backed chair in from the dining room in order to watch the Vikings play the Lions on Sunday afternoon.

“For Pete’s sake,” my wife scowled at me and gingerly picked up the trap from Archie Bunker’s chair.

“All you have to do is pick the trap up like this,” she said, holding the trap out for me to see. A wide, derisive smile was just starting to spread across her face as the trap fired off and jumped in her light grasp. She shrieked as the trap flew through the air and landed squarely in the middle of the Christmas Tree.

So, there will be a new dog at the White House. Now that’s a lot of sofas and chairs! They’ll be teaching Prime Ministers of distant, foreign lands how to move tiny mouse traps before they invite them to sit down to talk about world peace.

1 comment:

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