Recently I yapped with a pupster who was discovered on the inner-net. Salty Collings is a black Labradoodle with a puppy personality, really sweet and funny and playful. And, even though he’s only 15 months old, he Follows the Rules. Mostly.
Salty lives right on a little lake. When me and my Assistant knocked, Salty was right there at the door, bouncing. His Mom was holding his collar cuz he was So Excited. But he had the Wag-and-Sniff down, and wasn’t the least bit shy.
“HeLOO, Mr. Bonzo! Please come in. I’m Salty Collings and this is my Mom, Laurie. My Dad’s Joaquin and my human brother’s Rowan, he’s 10. Come’on, let’s go sit down. But NOT on the couch. It’s for Humans Only. Wow! That’s a nice notebook.”
We all sat down and Salty started munching my notebook (just the edges) till his Mom suggested he should stop cuz I needed it to write about him, and told him to go get his toy.
“Oh, right. Sorry Mr. Bonzo. I’ll be right back.”
He trotted off and came back with a purple and green Halloween squeaky toy with a ball on one end. It said, “Black Bat Chews, Sweet and Salty.”
“These are yummy. You should get your Mom to get you one. I can share if you want,” he offered, slurpily.
“That’s very thoughtful, Salty. But I’ve gotta take notes. Tell me about yourself.”
“Okay. I was the first dog Mom and Dad ever got as a puppy. They saw my picture on the inner-net and went to Orlando to meet me. We played for three days and we were comPATibble. That means I like to get patted and they like to pat me. It also helped that I was On Sale, cuz I don’t have a tail. I was only 8 weeks old when I got here. Rowan named me. He said I’m a Salty Dog. He’s pawsome!”
Salty was taller than me, and he had bigfluffy paws. His hair was wavy and silky, not curly like a poodle, and it flopped rakishly over his face. A real Chick Magnet.
“Mom and Dad thought Labradoodles don’t shed, which was Very Important to them. Then they discovered – I shed. It’s cuz I’m only a first-generation Labradoodle, more Lab than Doodle. I was afraid they’d demand a refund, but thank Lassie, they love me anyway and would NEVER return me. Plus, when I shed, it makes soft little black Dust Bunnies, which are very cute.
“I usta be crated. Didja see my big crate by the door? But not much anymore. See, I am Very Tidy and don’t jump up on the furniture, even when I’m home alone. And I have this special Potty Bark. When Mom or Dad or Rowan hear it, they know they hafta let me outside Right Away to Do My Duty.”
“Good for you Salty!” (That’s not always easy for us pooches to figure out. Some of us, not me, ask forgiveness instead of permission.)
“Whaddya do for fun?” I inquired.
“I chase geckos and frogs. But I don’t catch ‘em. I probly could, but I just don’t wanna. I mean, they creep me out. I’m a good swimmer but I don’t like the pool, just the lake. When it’s real hot I like to sit in it up to my nose. I don’t do that much anymore cuz it makes Mom nervous. Something about a big lizard who lives there, who could bite my nose off.
“Balls are fun, too. I can crush a tennis ball. And I like to break a coconut open and munch for hours. Totally Yummy! I also like chewing pencils and paper. One time, I accidentally ate Mom’s special sandals. And her flip-flops. You know how chewy they are.”
“Yes. Yes I do,” I admitted.
“I go to work with Mom sometimes. I love humans. I get two walks a day. Sometimes Mom drives the golf cart and I run along. Weekends we ushully go to the Dog Park. I usta go to the Canine Country Club, Totally Cool Dog Biscuits. We didn’t hafta stay in cages. We were sorted by size, in our play groups. And we slept together in one big room on soft mats, like human puppies in kindergarten. But I gotta admit, Mr. Bonzo, some stuff scares me.”
“That lizard in the pond?” I suggested.
“Nope. It’s TRUCKS. They’re Real Scary. Even our car and boat. They’re so LOUD. And BUSHES. They’re always rustling and I’m pretty sure there’s something in there that’s gonna jump out and GET me.
“Mom says I’m a Fraidy Cat, but I say I’m being cautious, cuz you just never know. Ya know? And another thing. STAIRS. When I was little, I’d stand at the top and bark my ears off. Then I’d tumble down ‘em. Took me the longest time to get up the nerve to step on ‘em. I still stay right in the middle. But I love my vet. I’m not even scared of Shots.”
“Wow! So, Whaddya like to eat?”
“I get kibbles and froot and veg-tubble snacks: strawberries, cucumbers, sweet potatoes. An looky what I can do!”
Salty’s Mom held up a snack and said, “Sit!” “Shake!” and “High Five!” And he did ‘em!
“Cool, huh, Mr. Bonzo?”
“At night, we watch TV together. I usually sleep with Mom, when Dad’s at work. Sometimes I hog the bed, but I’m soft and fluffy so it’s OK.”
The time had passed quickly. Heading home, I was looking at the munched-on corner of my notebook and thinking how lucky I am to get to meet so many cool poocheroos.