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Dog Spelled Backwards is…

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Today is the boss’s birthday. I think I’ll get him a new chewy.

The boss is six years old today, weighs 19 pounds, and rules with an iron paw.

He’s our Jack Russell Terrier, Scamp, and I’ve resisted writing about him until today because his head is big enough as it is. But it’s Scamp’s sixth birthday today, so why not toss him a bone—pun intended.

Scamp rules the house because whatever he wants, he gets. This includes walks when he wants a walk, treats when he wants a treat, food when he wants food, play fetch when he wants to play fetch, and even our bed, when he wants that—which is nightly.

He also helps himself to towels off the rack to roll around in, and guards our yard zealously against squirrels and birds. He packs, pound for little pound, more of a wallop than a Great Dane.

But he rules because we let him, and we let him because he’s so damn cute. And somehow, he must know it, for he uses his cuteness against us, like some sort of force field.

Scamp has one brown eye and one blue eye and they both look at you with equal amounts of profundity and love.

I walk him four or five times a day because, well, that’s what he wants. He has the gait of a cartoon dog—on his tip toes with his head moving from left to right. I half expect the scenery around us to repeat every six seconds, like a Hannah-Barbera short.

If humans could move objects per his strength that Scamp can move human beings with his 19 pounds, then you’d see a man shove over a Redwood tree—without nary one swipe of a saw.

I know this to be true because if you were to divide our bed into thirds, vertically, Scamp would end up with his body overlapping a portion of each third. While we, meanwhile, are slowly but surely nudged closer and closer to the edge. He, with his 19 pounds, can move over 300 pounds of human beings out of his way.

Scamp also has seizures, which we’re trying to control. Another way he keeps us on our toes.

Yep, Scamp’s the boss. But if you’re going to have a boss, it may as well be a snuggly, lovable, adorable dog with a heart the size of Texas.

Besides, I know he’ll never fire us. As long as he gets what he wants.

Categories : Enotes, Pets, society
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A Dog-gone/Dog-back Tale

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If you’ve ever wondered what goes through a dog’s mind while it’s being walked—besides, “Where’s the nearest fire hydrant or tree?”—the following story might lend a clue.

If the dog is Jarvis, a six-year-old Jack Russell Terrier in the UK, he obviously was memorizing his path.

Seems Jarvis got lost recently while in a park with his owner. He got distracted by a rabbit and gave chase.

After about an hour of looking for Jarvis to no avail, owner Vivienne Oxley gave up hope.

She had no choice but to go home, Jarvis-less.

But this was no ordinary jaunt to the park. In order to get there from Oxley’s home near Plymouth Sound, one has to board a ferry and traverse the Sound.

The need to hop a boat no doubt made Oxley feel even more despondent and pessimistic about ever seeing little Jarvis again.

But Jarvis, as indicated, pays good attention.

Some time after growing bored with trying to catch rabbits, Jarvis found himself in a quandary.

No owner, no way home.

Time to channel his built-in, canine GPS system.

Jarvis made his way through the park and to the ferry dock. Then he did what was expected of him: he boarded the next ferry; what else?

The park warden, who’d been alerted to the dog’s disappearance, phoned Oxley to let her know that Jarvis had been spotted on the ferry.

Before Oxley could get to the docks to search for him, her phone rang again. This time, it was her husband calling to tell her Jarvis had made it home, with tail a-wagging. The dog had walked another half-mile from the ferry, crossed three main roads, and returned to his house no worse for wear.

Vivienne Oxley and her very direction-conscious Jack Russell Terrier, Jarvis

Stories of domestic animals finding their way home are nothing new, of course. In some reported instances, the distance traveled has been hundreds of miles.

But to have the presence of mind to find the ferry dock and get on a boat, then get off the boat and make your way home?

That’s pretty special.

“I just couldn’t believe it,” Oxley said. “I was so relieved. When I got home he was just (sitting) in the window as if nothing had happened!”

The funny thing is, in Jarvis’s mind, nothing had happened. He had no clue that he had done something amazing. To him, it was just instinct.

We own a Jack Russell, and I can tell you that they are very smart dogs. Sometimes too smart. I remember during our first vet visit with him, one of the girls at the office said of Jacks, “They’re brainiacs.”

And also, apparently, pretty good navigators.

I wonder if Jarvis, being a male, would ever paws to ask for directions?

Categories : Enotes, Pets, society
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