Friday, April 2, 2010

Yes, They Can Be Taught!

I generally go out every day, or every other day, to do errands. The dogs generally join me on these trips and, every now and then, they seem to be the focus of attention. I don't know what it is. They must send out some sort of beacon or tractor beam that just draws people in.

Thursday was one of those days.

Thursday was also one of those less than stellar in the car days for the Gator Girl. You know, the days when her irrational fear of bridges, trees, street signs, pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcycles, dogs, baby carriages, buses, semis and, you know, everything else on the face of the earth, translates into her losing her mind about every thirty seconds and then throwing herself down onto the front seat to look at me to ask if her behavior has warranted her a cookie.

It hasn't.

But, as soon as the car stops, she becomes the sweet, adorable Gator Girl over which people ooh and aww. They always think she's so irresistibly precious, sitting in the front seat madly mouthing her little stuffed animal (de-brained Thursday evening, by the way, by the Big Brave German Shepherd who's going to come to regret that decision the next time we all get in the car.). And she is.

Big attracts attention too but mostly because he's a gigantic German Shepherd. Most people just jump back and pull a Keanu Reeves (Whoa!) when they see him with his head hanging out the window. There's this one guy who works the drive thru at Burger King (Big's favorite place for cheeseburgers) who doesn't even like to open the little window to take my money when we come through. It's not like Big is doing anything during these times but panting and drooling on my window, but I guess it's the sight of the really big teeth that gives people pause.

Thursday, we met a woman who was surprised when she walked by the car when we were parked at Wal Mart. She was surprised because the Gator Girl was standing in the front seat (driver's side) and Big was sitting in the back seat and the driver's side door was wide open. It was wide open because I was stripping off my fleece as it was freaking warm out today and I wanted to store it in the back of the car.

The woman looked at the dogs, looked at the open car door and then looked at me.

"Your door's opened!" she said.

"Yes it is," I said.

"But your dogs-"

"Are not moving," I said.

"How do you get them to do that?" she asked.

"I, uh, trained them to do that," I said.

"You trained them to do that?"

"To not jump out of my car?" I asked. "Yes. I did. They know they're not allowed to go out the driver's side door, only the back seat doors and only then when they have permission to do so. It doesn't mean they aren't, from time to time, excited enough to try and get out whatever door happens to be opened (especially the one in the front seat), but they're dogs and they sometimes do that. "

"You can train a dog to do that?" she said in wonder.

"So it would appear."

"Wow," the woman said.

Yes, it is a thing of wonder. I didn't mention the food refusal training. Sometimes, that's just too much for people.

Later, we met a woman in another parking lot who was just drawn to the beauty of my dogs. I couldn't disagree with her on that one. She also commented on my need for a taller car.

From her lips to Joe's ears.

Anyway, I just wanted to share this one last thing with you. It doesn't involve the dogs but it cracked me up...the following is a conversation (or half of one anyway), the woman parked next to me at the post office was having on her cell phone. I don't know to whom she was talking but they seemed to be best buds.

Her: What the hell are you talking about? (pause) What do you mean they're not going to? Of course they're going to- (pause) It's fucking Easter, for crying out loud. What the hell are they thinking? (pause) Oh yeah? Well, fuck you!

Happy Easter everyone...may your holiday be better than that woman's.

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