An animal trainer
“Don’t eat that!”
The Smart Dog
By Bill Richardson
After enjoying the view from his hillside home Tanner turned to his young group and spoke in a gentle, fatherly voice. “The last time I was at Uncle Red’s, he told me Horace’s wife, Patricia, wanted a puppy. So I think they probably got one by now and I’m going over to find out if that happened. If I leave soon I can get there before the day gets too hot to travel.
“Horace thinks he’s an animal trainer and Patricia knows better, so she watches him closer than two owls eyeing the same mouse.
“I’ll meet Uncle Red at the ranch house and maybe we’ll see some shenanigans.
“If you need me, you can take the shortcut through the cornfields by the river, which is the longer way, but the easiest and fastest to Red’s spot.
“Any questions before I go?”
“No questions, Pop. You know we’ll be good until you’re out of sight. And when you get back we’ll have the bones picked clean, and the place spic and span!”
“Yeah right! Don’t wander off too far or your mother will be frantic if she can’t find you when she gets home. See ya’ later.”
Tanner’s trip to Uncle Red’s in the early morning sunlight and cool air was quite enjoyable. The cornfield rows offered an easy path that was covered with the stories of many travelers: the long-tailed mouse tracks that were evenly spaced; a bob-headed quail had walked a short ways down the path, scratched the ground for an insect or seed, then zigged and zagged to leave a mottled trail; a long black beetle had pushed itself in a straight line through the dirt headed to wherever beetles go; and a brown field sparrow flew down from a green cornstalk to pluck a white bug off a leave, but the leaf was knocked off and fell over the beetle track; and a deer had eaten corn from a cob or two and dribbled yellow kernels across the brown dirt.
Just before arriving at Uncle Red’s, Tanner could hear Horace’s loud voice, “Come on, Doughnuts. You can do it. I know you can. Show Patricia how you make a doughnut. Come on, boy. You can do it!”
So as not to be seen by Horace or Patricia, Tanner chose to stay in the corn row until he was past the front porch and very close to where Uncle Red would probably be spying on the small group. Slowly, Tanner crept out of the cornfield and then moved along the edge of the thick river bushes to Uncle Red’s favorite viewing post near the ranch. Yep, Uncle Red was there, staying low and out of sight.
“Uncle Red”, Tanner whispered with a throaty sound.
“Hi, Tanner. Nice to see ya’. Well, they got their puppy and have been putting on a show ever since.”
“I could hear them from the river bank, Red. What’s the deal with naming a dog, Doughnuts?”
Red just kept grinning as he explained the reasoning for the wacky name. “Well, that might be the laziest dog in the world. He lies down most of the day and night. Infrequently, he gets up, stretches, and then slowly moves the few feet to the water dish to get a drink. And I do mean sloooowly. After a few minutes of his just staring at the ground, he trudges a short distance to a shadier spot and starts moving around in a big circle, at least it’s big for him. He spirals inward and makes the circle smaller, and all the while the dirt starts piling up in the center. Before long the circle is so small he can’t move anymore and plops down like a wet gunny sack. His head lies on the dirt mound and in less time than it takes for his eyes to close, he falls asleep.
“Now Horace thinks that is the greatest thing he’s ever seen. Incredibly, he believes the dog does it because Horace was eating a doughnut while driving the puppy home in the pickup. I heard him tell Patricia that while slowly turning a doughnut, and eating it a little at a time from the outside to the inside, the puppy kept staring at him. Just as the last bite went into the great animal trainer’s mouth, the dog started walking in a circle on the truck seat, and then lay down with its eyes looking straight at Horace’s mouthful of doughnut. That was good for at least one bakery goodie for the dog.
“When he finally got home Patricia loved the puppy but she wasn’t too happy with Horace spending $4.00 for another bag of doughnuts. He’d already eaten half of them but he told her he was using them to train the dog to make circles.
“She laughed and said that’s what dogs do anyway and that the dog was just training Horace to give doughnuts to the dog. They both giggled and started calling the dog ‘Doughnuts’.
“I think something is happening down there.”
“Don’t eat that!” Patricia ordered with a smile, as she quickly snapped the doughnut from Horace’s hand. “That’s the last one we got and it belongs to Doughnuts whenever he decides he wants it.”
“Okay, I’ve seen enough Uncle Red. You are one sly fox. I’m heading back to the digs before the heat gets too high. See ya’ a little further down the trail.”
“Thanks for stopping by Tanner. Say hi to the vixen and kits.”
© 2013 Bill Richardson