There's A Man Outside!


Okay, so I'm working on a ramp for our front steps, for Abbie, who will soon be needing it as she recovers from surgery. I find I've run short of bolts, so take a quick trip down to the hardware store to pick up a fistful.

Tinytown Hardware is out of the exact length I need, but I find others that ought to work. When I get back, preoccupied with construction, I omit my ritual greeting to the dogs, and head straight for the front steps, to double-check the purchase.

That does not sit well with the gang; something is not right. They head to the front door and take turns peering through the partly-open window beside it.

Shock and alarm- there's a man on the front stoop!

The barking begins- "There's a man outside! There's a man outside! There's a man outside!"

I turn away from the two-by-sixes and step to the window. "Guys, it's me! You silly dogs!"

That's not good enough. "Thank God you're here, Bob! Did you know there was a man outside?"

The barking resumes.

"You dopes! It's ME!" I stick my hand through the window for everyone to sniff.

"Yeah, we know you're here, and we're glad, 'cause just a second ago there was this guy right where you are now!"

The clamor continues.

"There's a man outside! There's a man outside! There's a man outside!"

I give up and walk into the house. After a minute or two, three of them settle down. Mary circles and barks for a while, though; she's long forgotten what the fuss was about- if she ever knew- but the fact there was a fuss is all that matters to her.

"Come on guys, let's all have some rawhide. I need to get back to work here."

I love them, but Lord, they can be silly.


(And So Can I...)


It's a pleasant, mild fall morning, and I'm standing out on the back deck, gazing contentedly toward the Penokee Mountains in the distance.

A sweet, fluffy brown dog steps out to join me, and as I idly stroke her fur, she stiffens and barks an alert.

"What's up, Ernestine? There's nothing out there!"

As I scan the horizon vainly for a strange dog or perhaps a jogger, she goes into full alarm mode. What the hell? There's nothing unusual to be seen: not a rabbit, not a squirrel, not even a power-walking dowager.

Then I see the answer: I'd absent-mindedly left an old pair of shoes sitting in the grass last night, cast off when their lug soles became packed with an aromatic substance well-known to dog owners.

"Ernie- those are shoes! My shoes! And they're sitting there because they probably have your poo on them!"

She was not assuaged. "Rrrrrrrrr.... woof!" she replied.

And then added, "Woof woof woof woof woof woof woof woof woof woof woof woof woof woof woof woof WOOF!"

"Oh, Ernie, I love you, but you are so dumb!" Exasperated, and feeling mischievous, I descended from the deck, stepped through the gate, and crept cautiously toward the shoes.

"Now, watch this," I told her.

Awed by my bravery, Ernestine fell silent as I took step after careful step.

Inch by inch, closer and closer I came...

And then I dived for the ragged clodhoppers, waved them triumphantly over my head, and hollered, "They're shoes, Ernie, they're shoes! You're such a silly big dog! Booga booga booga!"

The reaction was instant. Ernestine high-tailed it to the far end of the yard, spun around toward me, and resumed barking, fortissimo con brio. Three other Newfies burst out of the house to back her up, and join in the Wagnerian chorus of doom.

"Nice going, Einstein," said my wife. "Hey guys! Want some treats? Let's all settle down, okay?"

Twenty minutes later, the dogs were still all wired up, bouncing around the house and yard like a quarter-ton of rhesus monkeys buzzed on a hijacked truckload of Red Bull.

Good work, Bob... swell.

Who's the dumb one?


Next: Jerky Now?