Thursday, February 22, 2007

New toys and facilitated laziness and wonder mutts

I am having a good day! It's my day off, for one thing, which means that I won't go into the office unless I just can't resist (but I will fight it!). I do have a meeting tonight (2 actually) but Eric's covering one and I'm going to the other to meet with the kids & parents going on the ski trip (I'll be the one in the ski lodge making hot chocolate). And I've set up the new wireless router to go with my new computer, and so now I'm sitting in the living room, watching "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" reruns...yes, that's my secret. Now you know I like vampire stories. They don't even have to be very good. Strange but true.
Cletus the wonder mutt is sitting in the floor waiting to see what's going to happen next. Don't think I've spent much time here talking about the dog. He's rotten, of course, all my pets have been. He's a mutt, of course, I got him from an animal shelter, but we're sure he's got Pekingese in him (if I ever post a picture, you'll see) and also Corgi, plus who knows what else. He's marked like a Peke, buff with a black mask and a long plumy tail, but he's rougher coated like the corgi...and built long and low and lean and fast. He's got this ridiculous short snout...can't even pick up a tennis ball...and who knows where that came from? He has all the vocabulary of a Peke, too, he grunts, snorts, sneezes, yips, yodels, barks, and has 2 distinct growls: one for playing and one for warning. He's territorial (big-time) and has been known to herd anything that will play along in the back yard, from small children to visiting dogs.
He's nuts, I have to admit. When we took him to obedience classes after we got him, he played along...after he'd established that he was the boss of all the other dogs in the class. He sat on command, would come when called, even off the leash, until we went outside...and then he was gone. It took 3 people and another dog to catch him again. So now, he's never outside off the leash, unless he's in the backyard, where we have an invisible fence. Every now and then, he'll make a serious effort to convince us that he's trustworthy, and we'll get careless, and off he goes. Probably bright and manipulative would be more appropriate than nuts, but I think it's all true.
We named him "Paraclete Duke" for a couple of reasons. First, it was a pretentious seminary joke: "Paraclete" is a word used to describe the Holy Spirit in the gospel of John, and it means comforter, advocate, guide, friend, something layered like that. And then there's the Duke part, a nod to where Ben and I met. He was meant to be Ben's dog; I didn't want one...but we brought him home, and he crawled up into our laps and that was the end of that. He may be rotten, but he's a loving little dog, at least to us. He's a world-class lap sitter and loves to give kisses (which we've almost succeeded in convincing him to do on command only). And he's a lot of fun to come home to.

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