A Particularly Engaging Meeting with a Small Pet
Several weeks back, as I was trudging home from a particularly engaging meeting, I had the distinct feeling that I was being followed. It had been a long day and it was nigh on the twilight hours. Each time I snapped around to confront my dogged shadow, I was confronted with naught but a calm, ever darkening void — there was no living creature there. This action (or rather reaction) was repeated several times, and the experience was becoming a tad unnerving. Finally, on what must have been the seventh or eighth spin-around, I caught a fleeting glimpse of a small animal, furtively scurrying behind a low-lying bush several yards behind me.
I began walking backwards, continuing along the same homeward-bound path, when a small head with two round floppy ears peaked out from behind the shrub, eyes attentively up-cast in my direction. I stopped and called to the small cross puppy who was Yorkiepoo sized and Yorkie-colored for as much as I could see in the gloom.
“Come, pup, don’t be afraid,” I beckoned.
“Arf,” was the immediate response as the little animal who was probably some ones small pet, proceeded to emerge from its ersatz hiding place.
Boldly, she (as was her sex so determined to be later) marched right up to my feet and, in the most delicate way, stood erect on her hind legs with her two fore-paws lightly touching my shin. I noticed that she had no collar or other means of identification.
“Do you want to come home with me?” I queried.
“I’ll take that as a yes,” and I picked her up, cradling her small, thin but firm body in my arms. “Aren’t you a cutie!”
“Arf!” Always one short crisp bark in response to my questions.
“Do you belong to someone?”
“Arf Arf!” Now there’s a break in the pattern — two short crisp barks.
Shortly, we arrived home, and I turned on the lights to get a better look at my new friend.
“Are you hungry?”
“Let me get you something to eat. Do you like cold, left-over vegetables?” I smiled playfully.
P O O K I E – ARF
Can the Dog Talk?
There was the double reply again. I decided to try a little experiment. “Are you a cat?” I asked.
“Are you a horse?”
“Are you a dog?”
“Are you a small dog pet?”
The experiment went on for several minutes before I convinced myself that I had exceeded the parameters of coincidence and that, in fact, this diminutive creature was clearly responding to my questions — one bark for “yes” and two for “no”.
Before I cooked up a couple of steaks for dinner, I carved loosely around the bone, kept the center cut for myself, and gave my preciously cute buddy the raw bones, each with an ample serving of meat attached. After dinner, which disappeared rather quickly, I spent some time bathing and grooming the small animal, disentangling mats and gnarls in her somewhat wiry coat. Clearly she had had no grooming attention for some time
An Evening of Conversation with a Talking Dog
Basic necessities attended to, I settled in for the evening and decided to pick up the conversation with the pup.
“Do you have a name?” I asked.
“OK, this is going to be a challenge,” I mused aloud. “Does it begin with ‘A’?”
“’B’?” I decided to work my way up the alphabet.
Finally, when I got to ‘P’ I got a terse, single bark in response.
“So your name starts with ‘P’?”
Laboriously examining each letter of the dog’s name in repetitive sequence, we arrived at the name ‘Pookie’.
“So… your name is Pookie.”
“I wonder how you came to so clearly understand English. Do you embody a spirit?”
“Is it a ‘good’ spirit?”
“Arf!” A long pause with a searing stare directly into my eyes was punctuated by another bark as if for emphasis.
“OK, let’s chat some more. Is George Bush the president?”
“Arf, Arf!” this comment was followed by a protracted whining sound as if the dog were in agony.
“Is Barack Obama the president?”
A much happier sounding “Arf!”
“Have you ever heard of Debra Tranter?”
“Arrf!” again followed by an agonizing whine.
“Do you like Debra Tranter?”
“I agree, Pookie, she seems to be a tad full of herself. Is she doing good for the doggie-world?”
I was so fascinated with this conversational bridge into the animal world, that the time sped by and, before either of us realized, it was 3:00 a.m.
A General Disappointment
The next day, I left Pookie, my new small pet, with food and water before heading off to another day at the office. So rapt in the the previous night’s goings on was I that I just had to invite some friends over in the evening to witness the miracle. What a disappointment that was.
With two work mates perched skeptically on the edge of my sofa and a third smirking in the easy chair, I summoned Pookie’s attention.
“These are my friends from work, Pookie. Do you want to say ‘hello’?” No response from the mutt, save a more than disinterested sigh and a flop on the floor, staring in a non-connected direction. “C’mon, Pookie, don’t make me look bad.” No change in demeanor spelled not the slightest interest in revealing the small dog’s special ability.
Try as I may, I was not able to get a single response from the pup and eventually my mocking friends left and went home.
Some ten minutes after their departure, I turned to Pookie and said, “Pooks, you made me look really bad. Don’t you care about that?”
“Arf!” Suddenly she found her voice again.
“You don’t want people to know that you can converse?”
“Yeah, ‘arrf’ yourself — you made me look like a complete ‘arrf’-whole, from head to toe. I should call Debra Tranter to come and take you to live with her.”
“Arf-Arf, Arf-Arf, Arf-Arf!” Pookie barked emphatically.
Don’t worry, small pet pup, I would never be that cruel.