This week I yapped with a charming Chocolate Lab, Maggie Johnson. She’ll be 8 in May, but she has one of those Puppy Personalities, came right up for the Wag-an-Sniff, then shared some frenly bumps an nudges with my Assistant.
“Oh, goody, it’s YOU, Mr. BONzo. It’s Super Cool Dog Biscuits you’re gonna innerview ME. These are my Humans, David and Alice, I’ve been with ’em for almost my whole entire life. I’m an Only Dog. So, let’s go sit on the porch. I’ll show you my yard. I watch the birds an the boats goin’ by on the river. I have my own room, too. An a buncha bumpers to reTREEVE an chew on.”
I followed her to a nice screen porch with a pooch door.
“So, whaddya wanna know?” she asked.
“Well, first off – what’s a bumper?” I was hopin’ I wasn’t the only pooch on the planet who didn’t know. I mean, I figured it wasn’t the metal kind that go on cars. I couldn’t pickshur her draggin’ that across the yard.
“Oh, silly me. It’s a boat thing.” She went off into the house and returned with a white oblong object, about the size of a liddle loaf of French Bread. (How do I know about French Bread? That’s another story.)
Maggie explained, “David an Alice are Boat People, an they put these on the outside of their boats so they don’t, like, BUMP into the dock an get all dinged up. You can see they’re the PERfect size for reTREEVEing an chewin.’”
“Yep, I can see that.”
“I can go get one for you,” she offered, between munches.
“That’s so thoughtful, but I’d better keep takin’ notes. Tell me how you and you humans got together.”
“I was born way out in the country, near a place called Indiantown. There were nine of us puppies an I was the liddlest. By the time David an Alice started askin,’ there were only two of us left. They got to meet my pooch Mom and Dad so they could see how gorgeous I’d be when I grew up. If David an Alice had picked their puppy on adorableness alone, I woulda won, Paws Down. But they had NEVER had a dog. Ever. Or even a human puppy.
“So they read every Puppy Raising book they could find an that’s when Alice found The Puppy Test. She read the instructions and David followed ’em: First, he let me chew on his hands (just liddle puppy nibbles). Then he took a ball away from me. Then he played with my paws. Then he just walked away. WELL, I had it figured out by then, and you bet your biscuits I followed him. I thought it was all pretty fun, ackshully. The last part of the test was when Alice sneaked sneakily up behind me while I was playin; and banged two frying pans together!”
“Are you woofin’ me right now?”
“I woof you not. It made this big, loud noise, but I wasn’t scared. I glanced up, then kept right on playin.’ Of course, I passed The Puppy Test. Now, big noises never scare me. Even thunderstorms. Cool, right?”
“Totes! So, whaddya do for fun? Any pooch pals?”
“I’m mostly a People Pooch (no offense). My favorite pal is M-I-K-E the Pool Guy. He gives me treats. David an Alice spell his name cuz they think I’ll get all excited if they just say it regular. My pooch bestie’s a dachshund, Huck Wall. Me an him an our humans go on vacations together, to North Carolina. It’s real pretty and they’ve got streams with yummy cool water!
“In the summer I pant a LOT, so we go to our house in Newport, an David an Alice go boating. Not me, though. I like adventures, but NOT boats. They’re wobbly an I can’t see over the side an I get all Shaky Paws and Barfy. But Newport’s Cool Kibbles. There’s a lotta retrievers, an pooch-frenly rest-runts. The funnest is Yappy Hour at the Vanderbilt. Sometimes, Mr. Bonzo, I just can’t help it, I show off a teeny bit by takin’ a dip in the fountain.
“I love the beaches here, too, playin’ in the waves mostly. David throws my bumper and I zoom through the waves, reTREEVE it and body surf to shore!
“But my Favorite Thing To Do is hikin’ with David. I’m a Nature Girl! We hike all over the place, specially the Indrio Savannahs Preserve. Have you heard of it? Lotsa hikin’ trails. Plus, I learn stuff about birds, an fish, an plants, an TOR-dusses, an EEEK-oh systems, which are nature neighborhoods, I think. On my daily walks with Alice, I hafta be On Leash. But on our weekend nature hikes, I get to be Off Leash cuz I’m Well-Behaved. When I get way ahead of David and don’t know which way next, I look back at him, he points, an I go that way.”
“You sure are one active Nature Pooch,” I said, with admiration.
“It’s hard to stay still. Last year, I hurt my knee. There’s a bunch of stringy things called ligga-mutts that hold pooches’ knees together, an mine got torn. So Dr. Horn used fishing line to replace the ligga-mutts. I couldn’t do ANYTHING FUN for three months. It wasn’t that fun for David an Alice either, but by August I was back swimmin’ an reTREEVin.’ Hey, Mr. Bonzo, if you’re ever up in Newport, we can do Yappy Hour at the Vanderbilt!”
I could have listened to Miss Maggie’s adventures all day. Heading home, I was thinking I should get a liddle more exercise. Running from my bed to my dinner dish probly isn’t quite enough. I’m gonna give it shot, because I might just be havin’ Yappy Hour at the Vanderbilt with a certain lady friend one of these days.
Til next time,