FEEL GOOD FRIDAY: It’s A Dog’s World

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Today we’re re-running one of Dave’s previous columns, as his dog ate his latest one:]

by Dave Markwell

It’s a dog’s world.

I woke up stealthily and ready for battle. I silently crept out of bed. My slippered feet were soundless as I slow-walked into the living room to catch my dog, once and for all, laying in my recliner. I had him this morning. I knew it. As I whipped my head around the wall to finally catch this sneaky mutt by surprise, I was greeted only by an ever-so-slightly rocking chair and Diego, his name unchanged to not protect him from anything, laying on the floor with a smirk. He knew I saw nothing.

He could not have heard me. I was the wind. I think he, by some strange dog sense, felt me. Some survival instinct, programmed in him through many generations of devious relatives, had saved him again. Diego rules the house this way. He sleeps wherever he wants. He eats better than I do and I hardly feed him. Kid’s leftovers are his favorites. He will steal a few bites when no one is looking, clean up after himself and always leave enough food to create doubt about whether or not he had climbed on the counter to eat. He never cleans the plate. That would be evidence. He doesn’t leave any. I know he does it, yet he knows I can’t prove anything. Always, when I’m about to nab him, he will be walking the other way, licking his lips. He wins every time.

Diego’s talents for deception would have him high on any CIA recruitment list or perhaps employed as a “Black Ops” operator in some distant land if he were not just a regular old snaggle-haired, relatively gassy dog. As ordinary as he seems, he is a genius in his field, which is primarily sneaking stuff when I’m not looking. He is a master. In fact, he may be the master. I think the whole “master” thing was actually invented by dogs to let us believe we have control. Not unlike wives. Though, my wife gave up the charade about who’s “master” a long time ago. I am Diego’s servant. He is MY master. I feed him and groom him and pick up his poop. Scraping dog-doo off of wet grass is about as low as one can get and I am there. It’s a role I didn’t plan on, but like many things in life, I accept.

Dogs are smarter than us. I’m convinced that the old velvet poster of dogs playing poker is an actual photo. They are probably very good poker players. Diego’s face betrays nothing. He is a world-class liar. I can easily imagine him wearing a visor with a cigar hanging out of his mouth dealing cards. I wouldn’t play with him.

He lies by my feet as I write and throws me a bone of affection now and then, cementing my commitment to serve him. He is a delightful rogue, an attractive nuisance. The hair on the couch and the tiny, very sharp little shards of disintegrated steak bone I pick out of my feet regularly from walking barefooted in my living room notwithstanding, I am his. He’s a good dog and I don’t mind too much, though it helps to see other folks walking their dogs in the cold rain, and with bare hands tucked deep inside a plastic sack, fingering poop off the sidewalk, too. We are all slaves to our dogs. It is so.

It’s a dog’s world.

[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, who extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!” Also, you can “friend” Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his new exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]

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