Earl, the rescue dog

Earl, the rescue dog

I apologize for the dog hair. We have a new dog. It’s a rescue. Now my wife refers to me as one of her two rescues. On the plus side, I now have a best friend, Earl, our rescue dog. Earl is a mutt. They scolded me at the animal shelter for calling him a “mutt.” I’m sorry if I offended anyone, Earl is a mixed breed.

After our previous dog Pluto passed away at eighteen years old, I kept hearing, “Dad, can we get another dog? Dad, I promise to take care of him! Dad, I promise to walk him! Dad, I promise to feed him!” And that was just my wife! Guess what! I now get a lot of exercise walking Earl every morning. And every afternoon. And every night.

There are many benefits to having a dog. In addition to exercising every time I walk Earl, I also get to meet new friends. Since we adopted Earl, I’ve met Louie, Stella, Georgie, and Rocco. Those are just the dogs. I hate to say it, but I can’t name any of my neighbors. When you have a dog, you get to walk around with a bag of dog poop. And no one questions your motives.

After a year of mourning Pluto, my wife and I agreed to adopt a dog from a rescue shelter. We both agreed. No chihuahuas! No pit bulls! We came home with Earl, a great rescue dog! Earl was the name he came with. I liked it because I previously had dogs named Duke, Queenie, and Princess. So, Earl fit right in with the previous lineage of royalty.

Earl doesn’t bark or bite. Perfect! Right? My wife decided to have his DNA done. It turns out that that Earl is half-chihuahua, half-pit bull. Ay, chihuahua! He looks like a chihuahua on steroids. I’m going to have him audition for a Marvel Universe movie. Maybe he can team up with the raccoon. Ay, Chihuahua! The Rescue Dog! All he needs is the cape.

My wife signed us up for obedience classes. But I’m sure the obedience classes were more for me than for Earl. But the classes were very useful. We learned a lot of one-word commands like, “Sit!” “Stay!” “Paw!” We made a good team! Well, after six weeks of obedience classes, even my wife will admit that I am now a very good boy!

When the lockdown was over, we suffered from separation anxiety. Well, mostly me. I missed my little Earl. Oh, yeah, and my wife, too. With Earl, at least someone is happy to see me when I come home now.

When I went back to the classroom, without thinking, I started using dog commands on my students. As the students walked into the classroom, I would say, “Sit!” If they tried to leave class early, I would tell them, “Stay!” When I returned homework, I said, “Paw!” The students didn’t like that.

Yesterday, my wife called me from work to tell me to turn on the air conditioning because it was really hot. I told her I was fine. She said, “No! Not for you! Turn the air on for Earl!”

Barking dogs

While it’s not necessarily true that barking dogs never bite, I have learned that you may befriend barking dogs that also bite. When I run, I usually run past a house with a dog tied by a long rope to a tree. There is no fence around the property, so the rope leash is my only protection against a barking dog that I’m fairly sure will bite if given the opportunity.

I constantly worry that this dog will break his leash as runs barking toward me whenever I run past it. Whenever I run past this barking dog that charges at me, I say, “Nice doggie! How are you doing?” This may seem silly, but what other choice do I have. My logic is that if one day the dog breaks loose, I will be able to pet it and it won’t bite me. At least, that’s what I hope.

Well, the other day, I ran past the house and the dog was fetching a ball that its owner threw. When the dog saw me, he immediately changed course and charged at me while I ran past the house, saying, “Good doggie! Good doggie!” The dog barked viciously at me as it ran at me, but its tail was wagging. I didn’t know which end to believe. I stopped, faced the dog, and put my hand out to pet the dog. Of course, I was ready to pull my hand back in case it tried to bite me. I said, “Good doggie!” and petted the dog playfully. The owner called the dog back, but when I started running again, the dog followed me. I think he liked me.

I’m glad I thought of talking to the dog every time I ran past. Now, the dog still barks at me, but he no longer charges at me. And, I’m no longer worried that it will bite me!