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Smarty Dog

Smarty Dog

Smarty Dog

You know, I always thought my kid was smart, God's gift to humanity if you will. Good at school (if he liked the teacher). Mumbles fluently in three languages -- not a terrific speller though, but excellent with spellcheck. You get the picture, folks.

Then there's Cousin Leonardo Da Genius from Boston, who visits us every summer. Now this kid is smart: published in scientific journals in junior high, and graduated med school before he started shaving. Leo even nabbed a Nobel the summer he was a lifeguard when he saved over 200 lives, give or take a couple hundred. Yes, some might call Leo an overachiever, others may call me an embellisher, but that's not the point.

This is the point: there's always someone smarter out there -- human or canine.

This revelation smacked me over the noggin yesterday when DJ had a playdate with this Mandy character, a stunning 2-year-old blue-eyed red merle Australian Shepherd with a wiggle in her walk and a twinkle in her eye. I knew that herding dogs were clever, but this one could be running Tesla without breaking a sweat. Without a single treat to entice her, Mandy followed all my commands on the first try: sit, roll over, fetch me coffee -- two creams no sugar, I kid you not, well maybe just a wee bit, but Mandy was the canine equivalent of Cousin Leo. It's no wonder that my dog felt self-conscious.

DJ nipped at my heel and whimpered in my ear, "Next to Mandy, I feel like an obedience school dropout."

"But you are. You wouldn't sit."

"I couldn't sit, not wouldn't sit. Hello -- I had hemorrhoids."

"Whatever," I said. "Who cares, pal? We got each other."

I got you to feed me meat
I got you to smell my feet
You got me to walk with you
You got me to clean your poo
I got you dude
I got you dude

Then it hit me again.

Who needs a dog with brains? Is he gonna write a business plan for me? Take care of financing? Manage my Google AdWords account? Do I need protection? No, my wife has a black belt in panicking; she could scare away the cast of Game of Thrones with one blood-curdling shriek. I need a furry sidekick for the laughs, a mutt who will chase his tail, pee on annoying neighbors, and scare away kids selling chocolate bars door-to-door. 

I just want another warm-blooded creature to chill with me, a non-judgmental sidekick to bear witness that I exist, to listen to me kvetch and whine and howl at the moon. Brains have their place, for sure; civilization needs them to move forward. But guys like me, we're here for the laughs, we're not building Hadron Colliders, we're making meatballs. Anything more complex makes the brain hurt, which only a laugh can cure.

That's why I have a dog.