Thursday, April 20, 2006

For Every Dog An Angel

There’s a lovely little book, For Every Dog An Angel. It came to me on a BookCrossing bookring, and I’ve since bought a copy of my own.

The book says that each dog has a guardian angel who watches over the dog from puppyhood on, helps the dog find a good home, etc. And sometimes a person’s “forever dog” comes back and looks after its person, looks after the new dog, shows the new dog the ropes…

If Jacey’s got a guardian angel—or if my much-missed forever-dog, Oreo, is going to show Jacey the ropes—it had better be soon. Before I throttle her.

I got off work on time today and got home, prepared to relax, spend some time with the dogs—stuff like that. I walked in the door to find…

Actually, there isn’t a good word for what I found. A disaster? A mess? A nightmare?

Jacey is a fast learner, and Sam has taught her to raid the kitchen: open the trash can and hunt for goodies, turn the can over and rake everything out, if necessary, root through the bottom of the pantry, poking a nose in the stash of empty old grocery bags. But Jacey… Jacey cranked things up a notch. Or up a shelf, at least.

She found the cheese/peanut butter crackers. This isn’t real cheese, of course: just neon-orange crackers with peanut butter on them. Both dogs were muzzled, so no one actually got to eat the crackers. (Sam’s muzzle has a muzzle guard in it, so he couldn’t even lick through the muzzle’s holes.) But both dogs pounded those little cellophane packages to pieces, spreading a fine haze of orange cracker dust throughout the pantry…and into the (carpeted) breakfast room. And into the two blue area rugs in the kitchen. And into the (carpeted) dining room. Two canvas tote bags turned orange, too.

But then the dogs hit the jackpot. The mother lode. Two big unopened packages of cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies.

The cellophane tray, I’m sure, made lovely crackling noises, egging the dogs on. So Sam—but mostly Jacey, I think—battered both packages into submission, then happily distributed all the crumbly cookies through the kitchen, pantry, dining room, breakfast room and foyer. Many of the cookies were opened to expose the cream filling. (How do two muzzled dogs do that? Don’t they need opposable thumbs?) Then the cookies were plastered—generally, cream-side down—on the floor, on the carpet, on the area rugs. Cleaning up the floor was not a matter of sweeping the cookies—it was more like scraping them off the floor. And the crumbs may never come out of the carpet. (Black crumbs. Beige carpets.)

The dogs were hugely disappointed in my reaction to their efforts. (See if we decorate the kitchen again for you, mom!) And Jacey doesn’t know it yet, but she’ll be spending her mom’s-at-work time in a crate starting tomorrow morning. And Sam—who didn’t dream up today’s events, but who certainly acquired new ideas—is going to find himself barricaded away from the kitchen if I can possibly manage it.

But there’s a certain irony to the whole thing. If I weren’t so cheap, those wouldn’t have been no-name cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies. They’d have been Nabisco’s cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies.

They’d have been Oreos.