Saturday, April 19, 2014 • 09:39
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Who let the dogs out?


November 07, 2013
This will be three columns in three weeks for the guest writer. This cries out for some return on investment. With a salary of zero, doubling it is irrelevant. I was thinking simple, like a charge card to buy a few staples, maybe even the talk of a pension or nothing in writing yet, just the start of negotiations.

The real editor, Kim Harris, looked disinterested where this conversation was going. She was hoping for a cheap meal

somewhere, as with the first time. However, conditions change. There is a solid rumor that very favorable ratings are pouring into the Roadrunner office and onto its website.

There needs to be some accommodation, right? I've been out of work for a decade or so.

Maybe I have an answer, after all. How about a 50 percent-off coupon at Doggie Day Care? I could use that because often I have to pay for dog sitting during my extensive travels to research the stories I write in this space, or haven't you noticed?

Actually, I'm going to stay home this time, eliminate the cell phone usage, forego the medical bills brought on by computer stress, not to mention saving on shoe leather and gasoline. Thus, starting right now this column is going to

the dogs! I would like you to meet Maizy, Lucky, Bogie, Tiger, Daisy, Sophie, Lily Marlene, Katy, Stella, Scout, Zoe,

Putter, Sonny, Sarah, Rusty and maybe a few others. They live inside the gates at my Pauma Valley Dog Club and they meet daily on a patch of grass off the golf course. Average daily attendance is a dozen of each species two and fourlegged.

The one-day record is 17 dogs, 16 adults. This column is not about two-legged animals. They are the facilitators. Plus,

90 percent of the chatter here is about dogs. But you can't blame them. The dogs put on a show every day. We can't sell tickets, but lots of golfing types drive slowly by for a brief look-see. If they stop, watch out. The dogs are on them!

They might have food somewhere. When none is found, the visitors are allowed to pass. The little guys and Lucky, Sophie and Macy are the non-stop speed merchants, running, rolling, tumbling and creating a Grand Prix atmosphere almost daily. Tiger, a terrier mix, is the policeman with an attitude. If a tussle breaks out, he breaks it up. No one argues with Tiger. He hassles every dog, large and small.

Bogie, a larger terrier of some sort, is neutered but doesn't know it. All females appeal to him. His success rate is zero but he is undeterred. The new kid on the block is Lily Marlene, a young poodle who wants to play every minute. She is relentless in her pursuit of fun. She grows larger daily, hence is more forceful and often won't take no for an answer.

Stella is the leading ballchaser. The pursuit never ceases and it is guaranteed the ball-thrower will wear out before Stella. Stella is under 2-years-old, or about 65 years younger than the ball-thrower. She ate a gopher the other day, that is, not the ball-thrower. On deadline, I could not report how that "came out." Daisy is the couch potato. Of the four benches in use, she tries them all every day. If there is no room, she muscles in for a spot. The space available sign does not apply to Daisy. If she wants to lounge, you move over or she becomes your lap dog.

There is royalty here; everyone agrees on this. Her name is Maizy, who doesn't get excited about anything because ... well, she is above it all. She moves easily from person to person, expecting and receiving pats and pets. She has a golden coat and is a Lab. Like others here, she has been rescued. I'm still talking animals, not humans.

Did I mention that Maizy also is my dog? Of course I think she is Top Dog, which I am allowed to say based on an old saying that the power of the press is reserved for those who own one ... or in this case writes for one.

Any new dog, or one who hasn't been at the club in a while, is always greeted by the stampede of dogs as he or she approaches.

When the newbie gets within 10 or 20 yards of the campsite, the horde starts barking and howling, waiting for the stare-off and the eventual sniff-off. Fortunately, the initiation lasts only 10 or 20 seconds and everyone gets through

to the main c amp. Maizy, of course, does not join in, since she considers herself the anointed one.

Sometimes there are birthday parties for the dogs, never the adults. Generally, no one is allowed to bring treats if there is not an official party. It is a self-protection issue. Once the aroma of treats are detected, the adult is

surrounded, nearly mauled.

Balance is important. Some adults have newly acquired body parts and knees, hips, shoulders, whatever. If one dog bites another, or shows bad behavior, he or she is banned, although this is rare. One was banned here earlier in the year, but before that it went back about five years when my then-lab, a sweet and misunderstood guy named Thumper, decided he had heard enough from a yappy Jack Russell named Alfie. Thumper put Alfie in his mouth and headed toward the creek and a suitable burial by water. Most adults usually knew Alfie's whereabouts because of the yapping. Now Alfie was mute and probably in shock. Thumper almost got away with the dunking.

Of course next was the mandatory vote for Thumper to go or stay. It was very close, 12 to one as I recall, but he had to go. We have zero-tolerance for biting dogs.

If the readers are asking why dogs are featured in a space called Opinion or Editorial, I say why not? Do you want me to write about the Shutdown, the debt ceiling, chemical weapons, Syria, Iran, Bob Filner, the Unaffordable Care Act, the origin of the word "glitch" or how to herd cats. Bah, humbug to that.

For the record, cats are not allowed. One person asked about bringing one once. Tiger, using dog speak understood by most us, put the exclamation point on that issue. He said: "Ain't no stinking cats allowed at this club."

No one ever asked again.

P.S. This ends the three week trilogy of columns. I believe I am due vacation time. I was just joking with Kim about the pension stuff, but I'm going to keep the Doggie Care Coupon request on the table if I return sometime in the future.

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