What’s a Mother to Do?
by Ann Edwards Cannon

Chapter 24
The True Reason Why Dog Is My Best Friend 

[p.73]When I took my dog Bogie to a soccer game last Saturday, I couldn’t help but notice the general public’s reaction to him, which was that they (a) held their noses and (b) fled. “Weren’t you embarrassed?” Ken asked when I told him about the experience later.

“Actually, no,” I replied. “It just reinforced my reasons for owning dogs in the first place. No matter how bad I may smell, I know one of the dogs will always smell worse.”

They make me look good in comparison, don’t you know.

This is particularly true when it comes to intelligence. I’m always amazed by people who talk about how smart their dog is, then cite the fact that the animal can leap five feet into the air and snag a frisbee as evidence. I’m very sorry, but I personally do not believe that (a) jumping and (b) catching frisbees with your teeth are necessarily signs of high intelligence. Hey, you can bet if I hung around in a park all day trying to catch frisbees in my mouth that nobody would call me smart.

The truth is that on the International Stupid Scale, dogs rate a solid ten.

Now before any animal lovers take offense, I need to make it perfectly clear that I respect and admire dogs very much. Often I do nothing but respect and admire dogs all day long. Also some of my best friends are dogs. Over the years I’ve owned a wide assortment of poodles, boxers, spaniels, terriers, hounds, and mutts, and while I have always found them to be exceptionally charming dinner companions—particularly since they like everything I cook unlike certain other people in my family—I can’t honestly say I think they’re bright.

Of course they are brighter than quail who have recently bumped cows from first place on the official Dumb Animals of the Earth list. Whenever I drive through the kind of  neighborhood where quail hang out, I see them huddled on the side of the road waiting for cars.

“OH NO,” they scream and clutch one another in terror when [p.74]one finally appears, “LET’S MAKE A RUN FOR THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD WHERE WE’LL BE SAFE!”

Then they run like crazy across the street (while you slam on your brakes) and wait for the next car to show up.

So you see that dogs are definitely smarter than quails.

Still, that isn’t saying much. Bogie, for instance, once tried to eat a light bulb. This is the same dog who hasn’t figured out that birds actually fly in the air. He just watches their shadows track across the snow, then dives headfirst into the ground every now and then whenever he thinks he can get one.

And then there’s Basil. Basil is a very beautiful, very dense English Cocker whom I never take anywhere in the car except to the groomers, which he hates with all his little doggy heart. But does this stop him from wanting to get in the car with me every time I go some place? No. Whenever I open the front door, he bolts out and runs straight to the Jeep because somebody has told him that he and I are going on a date to the prom.

Of course, he practically dies from joy when I actually let him leap into the back seat because it’s time to take him to the groomer’s again. As I drive down South Temple, I can see him in the rear view mirror, panting happily and yelling “Que pasa, Babe?” at girl dogs out the window.

About halfway there, however, I see the light go on in his little brown eyes.

“Whoa, wait a minute here,” he thinks. “This is starting to look—what’s the word I want? Familiar. Yes, that’s it. Familiar. This is starting to look familiar. Could it be that she’s taking me to have my hair done?”

“Yes, Basil, it’s true,” I say to him, “I’m taking you to the groomer’s to have your hair done.”

“THE GROOMER’S! Oh please, anywhere but THE GROOMER’S! I’m doomed!”

“You’re being overly dramatic,” I point out.

“I am not! She makes me take a bath and then she puts—what’s the word I want? Bows. Yes, that’s right. Bows. She puts sissy bows on my ears, and all the other dogs laugh and make mock!”

At this point he sticks his nose under the seat in an effort to hide, [p.75]but it’s no use because I, with my superior intelligence, spot him every single time.

This is just fine with me. Let other people brag about how intelligent their dogs are. I personally wouldn’t want a dog I couldn’t trick into thinking we were going on a date. Hey, I already have a houseful of kids who think they’re smarter than I am.

What on earth would I do with a dog who thinks the same thing?