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  I woke up quite early this morning to the wap wap wap of the dog licking my face. Assuming she had to go to the bathroom, I stumbled bleary-eyed, half-naked, to the door and pointed, “Go quick.” Instead, she sat at my feet, wagged her tail and pleaded with me to go to college.

  “For God’s sake,” I said, shuffling straight back to bed, burying myself in the blankets, my head completely under. “Dumb idea. You’re not going.” She whined, nosing her snout in the sheets, trying to find my face.

  I barricaded the covers around my head. “I don’t want to talk about it. I’m sleeping.”

  She insisted it was what she wanted. She’d made up her mind to go back to school.

  “In case you haven’t noticed. You are a dog.” She pounced on me and left the room.

  The quiet was blissful for a minute or two until I realized it was too silent. I lifted up the cover to peek. There she was in the corner, chewing on my “Anatomy Of The Psyche” book. “No! Get this ridiculous idea out of your head.” I threw a pillow at her and she dropped the book, tail between her legs and bounded up to lick me again.

  I accepted her apologies. “Listen sweetheart.” I petted her beautiful proud chest. “The other students will laugh at you. You won’t be able to keep up. It’s expensive and they don’t give student loans to canines.”

  She brought forth the concept of going to the junior college: cheap, getting a job: she’d pay for it, and her high self-esteem: who cares who laughed at her. I pressed my forehead to hers. “I think we should stop talking about this now.”

  She lay at the end of the bed and let out the biggest world-weary, I’ve-had-a-humongously-stressful-day, the-weight-of-the-world-is-on-my-shoulders, sigh. I fell for it. I got up, noting the clock was an hour earlier than a decent wakeup time, and brought her the green bone-shaped cookie she loves. Her eye peeked at it, her tail slightly wagged, as if driven by a separate brain, and she eased sideways, without raising herself and took the treat gently in her mouth.

  “See, this is what dogs do.” I smiled and hopped back in bed. Glorious bed! I had one hour left to snooze. She crunched that cookie louder than necessary, mumbling in between about how she spends her days in the house watching me write, she’s not feeling stimulated, not getting what she wants out of life, wants to try and search for her purpose.

  That one got to me. “Your purpose is to be a dog. Man’s best friend. Except in my case, woman’s best friend. That’s it. You accompany me, I take care of you; you give me unconditional love; we’re happy. The End.” I found myself shouting and dropped my voice down a few notches. “Listen. I need sleep. You aren’t going to college. Drop it.”

  She did. She dropped the cookie on the floor and let her head droop over the side while she stared at the half-eaten delicacy, willing it to jump back on the bed. Small whines emitted from her throat.

  “Very funny.” Realizing it was quite possible my
delicious hour wouldn’t be happening, I grabbed
a magazine to luxuriously read in bed before the
alarm. “Get your bone.”

  She jumped off, retrieved her noisy cookie and
leaped back up to continue crunching. In that instant, I did feel sorry for her, an intelligent, furry creature wanting to better herself, rise above her station, but relegated to green dye #7 bone-eating. She caught me watching and moved away so I couldn’t observe her cookie-feasting project.

  “You’re trying to make me feel guilty.” She grunted.

  “We’ll go to the dog park more often.”

  An ear perked.

  “I’ll take you for an extra evening w-a-l-k more often.” (I’m smart enough not to say the “walk” word un-spelled unless I’m prepared to be run over on the way to the front door.) “I’ll buy premium dog food?”

  She lay down flatter.
“What do you want me to do? Enroll you in Algebra 1A?”

  She turned around and panted with a smile, green crumbs decorating her tongue.

  “They’re not even going to believe me.” I threw the magazine down. “Ma’am. My dog here would like to audit Intro to Oceanography. No, she doesn’t require a seat. She’ll just sprawl on the floor.”

  She licked my face like mad, scratching me with
those green crumbs. I laughed and hugged her back. She cleaned the back of my ear and investigated the rest with loud sniffs.

  I held her away from my face. “Where did you get this idea anyway?”

  She shyly explained that yesterday, while I took a shower, she saw a cat on a commercial spelling the words on a cat food box. And cats are notoriously dumb. It was humiliating to be a dog and be outdone by a lesser-species feline. She lay between my feet, soulful eyes boring into mine and confessed that she couldn’t even read.

  “Oh honey.” I leaned over to hug her. “When are
you going to realize you can’t believe everything on TV?”

  She humbly licked my foot and I studied those nimble paws while making a plan to at least familiarize her with the alphabet.

THE END

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