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The Best Doggie

Thursday, June 8, 2006

Chet Baker's got a way of making me feel better when things go badly. He helps me do everything, follows me around when he knows I'm feeling low. He helped me trim the bonsais the other day. Here's my biggest tree, after trimming, with a pile of twigs and leaves after its haircut. And here's Baker for scale, with my oldest tree, a 25-year-old Japanese maple grown from seed. I think he looks like a racehorse in this picture. Check out how much hair it lost!
Baker helps us check the bluebird boxes. His concept of "bird" is becoming increasingly refined. Baker sniffs a sixpack of bluebirds. Note the right paw, raised. He's pointing, I guess.

I feel that if he is trusted, he will be trustworthy, and so I invite him to sniff birds and their nests, to satisfy his curiosity and impress upon him that they are not to be harmed. He's terrific about it. He'll give them a few sniffs and then walk away. That's just how I want him to behave around birds. He's the same with turtles. We're working on snakes, but I have little hope that he'll ever be mellow around chipmunks and bunnies. I think he can tell how I really feel about them, as they work to stamp out my progress in the gardens. Plus, they are furry and fast, a deadly combo for the rat terrier in him. He had his first run-in with a raccoon two nights ago. There was a lot of really terrible sounding snarling from the 'coon, nothing but jingling tags from Chet, a long pause, and then he came back with ears pasted back, big rolly eyes, and two tiny scratches on his chin and one in his ear. Though it was midnight, I put him in the tub and washed him, and put antibiotic ointment on his scratches. No coon spit on the body pillow, thanks. He still races out at night with a gruff bark and snarl--a lot of bluster--and heads right for the compost pit. I'm not sure whether he's learned much about coons or not, but I'm pleased that he's still in one piece. Coons are a fact of life out here. I tell myself that's why we have vaccines.

I got this lovely citrus-green body pillow on a rare visit to a Target about a year ago. The closest Target is two hours fom here. Imagine that...two hours from a Target. It's one of the drawbacks of living in the sticks, a minor one, but still. Where am I to get my stylish housewares and fantastic plastic? And need it be said that Target's dog section is the end-all?
Chet decided at first sight that this pillow, which is not from Target's dog section, was to be his familiar. If I want to use it, I have to drag it away from him. How this dog suffers. Poor little waif. Never mind his Wag Bag, the best dog bed on the market, faux lambswool and soft stuffing and bolster and all. No, Chet looooves this body pillow. He can always be found on it, as can his little black hairs. Gotta love that catfish mouth and dolphin smile.

Sweet dreams, Chet Baker. You are the best doggie. I wish I were geek enough to attach an MP3 of his snores. You'd swear it was your father.


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