Mom was sleeping when I went outside. Molly, Ani and Skidget
followed me, as usual. It was my favorite kind of day. Lots of news was
traveling on the air from farther away than usual. Humans always love these
days too and they call them "less-humid". I don't know why they like
less-humid days since they can never smell the news anyway but it's good for
us that they like them. On less-humid days mom will stay outside longer and
throw my ball more times.
Mom woke up when Sienna and Austin started crying to get out of their
crates. They have to sleep in crates because Sienna poops in the house and
mom's smelling handicap keeps her from knowing Sienna's poop from Austin's.
I've shown Sienna where to poop lots of times but she's a brat. She likes the
fuss mom makes when she poops in the house. Dixie is a good girl but she has
to sleep in the crate sometimes too. Everyone has to take turns in the crates
but me. I'm the oldest and mom calls me her top dog.
Mom got up and walked in a circle. Mom is funny in the morning. She doesn't
put her nose near the floor but aside from that she looks like she's looking
for a place to poop. She walks in circles while she picks up the
bag of treats and gets her shoes and heats up a cup of coffee. She has a name
for this too. She says she's "not-a-morning-person". Sometimes when Sienna is
walking in circles in the playroom and she's going to poop on the floor Ani
says "Sienna is not a morning person.". Ani is very funny even though she's a
Mom came outside with the treats and her coffee and sat on the step.
"Everybody go poops" mom said. Molly snuggled her face in mom's lap (just to
be closer to the treats). Molly just doesn't get it. Molly always poops when
she follows me outside while mom is still asleep so she never gets a treat for
everybody-go-poops but she keeps asking for one. Austin, Dixie and Sienna (if
she's not in an attention hog mood) get the go-poops treats. I can get one if
I want by peeing and I can pee - at least a little bit - about a hundred times
a day. The girls don't know how to do that. I'd rather play fetch than get
treats anyway so I went and got my ball and put it at mom's feet. I wasn't in
a hurry because she doesn't pay attention until the babies go poop but after
they do, especially on a less-humid day she'll throw the ball for me. Today
would have been one of those good days but then "that-damn-rabbit" showed up.
That-damn-rabbit used to live at Tony-shouldn't-own-an-animal's house
until he escaped. I'm not sure if that-damn-rabbits are too dumb to go back to
their crates to be fed after escaping or if they're smart enough to not want
to go back, or maybe they just can't get back in since their crates are up on
a high legs in the yard but for whatever reason that-damn-rabbit has been
running loose for weeks. Mom gets very upset about him because she says he's
going to get killed and Tony-shouldn't-own-an-animal should have done
something about it. Dad gets upset because that-damn-rabbit eats his flowers
and messes up his garden. (We aren't even allowed in Dad's garden!) I don't
know what the big deal is about that-damn-rabbit but Ani, Molly and Skidget
make a huge fuss when he's around. He reminds me of the sugar gliders and
ferrets we used to have and he might be fun to play with but the girls don't
seem to feel that way. Skidget wants to chase him even though she doesn't know
why and Molly says that he reminds her of hot dogs. I don't know why he
reminds Molly of hot dogs (and neither does she) but she says that when he's
around she always starts thinking of hot dogs. Deva feels the same way. Mom
doesn't understand exactly what they're saying but she seems to know that
that-damn-rabbit reminds them of hot dogs and it upsets her.
Usually when that-damn-rabbit shows up he's on the outside of the fence but
today he was in our big yard (which is right next to our puppy yard - the only
yard we get to play in now because the guys always leave stuff in the big yard
when they're working there and Sienna the brat eats anything she finds and
makes herself sick. Mom has complained to Dad about this but we ended up in
the puppy yard anyway) Deva still gets to go out in our big yard and mom was
very very upset at the idea of Deva being in the yard when that-damn-rabbit is
in the yard.
Since mom can't smell very well she wouldn't have noticed
that-damn-rabbit if Skidget, Ani and Molly hadn't run to the corner of the
fence and started carrying on. When mom went to investigate
Tony-shouldn't-own-an-animal was sitting on his back porch and he pointed at
that-damn-rabbit. "How did he get into my yard?" mom asked. "I dunno."
Tony-shouldn't-own-an-animal said with his mouth full of something and just
sat there. "Tony shouldn't own an animal." mom said under her breath and
sighed. "Something has to be done" she said to him. I'm going to be really
upset if my dogs get that rabbit. It won't be good for the dogs and it
certainly won't be good for the rabbit and Tony, I promise it won't be good
for you." Tony-shouldn't-own-an-animal stopped chewing and his smell changed
just a little bit. Mom can do that to people (and she doesn't even know it).
"I put a raccoon cage out for him - with a carrot in it"
Tony-shouldn't-own-an-animal said in a sorry attempt to appease mom. If he was
a dog he'd have rolled over onto his back. Mom gave him the same look she gives Sienna
for puking on the couch - only worse. Then mom got that "I'm on a mission"
look in her eyes, her ears stiffened up, her smell got bigger and I knew that
there would be no games of fetch for a while.
Mom walked across the yard and opened the door of the
why-do-I-keep-so-much-crap place. I scooted in behind her. She usually chases me
out of there but I can't resist going in. There are so many different smells in
there and I haven't investigated nearly all of them. "Eww. Musty." Mom said and
twitched her nose. She doesn't appreciate half the things she smells so maybe
it's good that she can't smell much. She started moving things around while
mumbling "Why do I keep so much crap?" In a few minutes she pulled out a big old
plastic crate and headed toward the door. "Let's go Panama" she said and we went
back to the house. I wasn't sure what she was planning but it didn't look like
good news. There's only one of us who doesn't already have a crate and that's
me. If mom was bringing in another crate either we were getting a new puppy or
... I didn't even want to think about the alternative.
We all watched intently while mom bustled around the kitchen. First she wiped
off the crate, then she started fooling around with a very long string tying it
to different parts of the crate and making the string open and close the door.
The girls were all watching closely and mom was so busy with what she was doing
that she didn't notice Dixie sneaking away to hide when the string made the door
Next, she put some treats in the crate, crackers with peanut butter and
crackers with cheese and some not-treats, green stuff from the getouta-the-fridge.
Then she took the crate, treats and all, out to the big yard. We all ran to the
dining room window to watch. Dixie came back to watch too. When mom does stuff
we never saw her do before it's always worth watching...at least for a little
while. And when treats are involved, we'll watch for a longer time although it
was becoming apparent that if the treats were in the big yard, they weren't for
us. Mom put the crate down in the yard then walked right over to the dining room
window with the end of the string and stuck it in the window. "Don't you guys
touch this" she said to us. Sienna started to go after the string but I pushed
her away. Mom pulled on it and it closed the crate door then she went back over
to the crate and opened the door.
"What the heck is she doing?" Molly asked. Nobody answered because nobody
When mom came back in the house we ran to greet her. She hadn't been gone
very long but she's usually good for a treat when she comes back so it was worth
a try but she wasn't even paying any attention to us. She went over to the
dining room window, fiddled around with the window and the string some more and
then she sat down with the string in her hand. Since she wasn't doing anything I
went and got my ball and put it at her feet. "Not now Panama" she said, looking
out the window. Then she said "Where did that-damn-rabbit go?" We all (except
for mom) looked at each other. We had already forgotten about that-damn-rabbit.
Then nothing happened.
And nothing kept happening.
It was strange. Usually in our house when nothing is happening it isn't
happening for long. Finally mom sighed and got up. She went to the back door and
opened it and forgot to say "Wait" so I ran outside with her. She went over to
the crate and so did I. I sniffed the crate while she moved the door a little
bit, looked around the yard and said "I wonder if that damn rabbit will eat this
"Oh No!" I thought. Finally I understood. The treats were for
that-damn-rabbit and so was the crate. (At least that part was good news for
me.) But mom had a big problem she didn't know about. The crate smelled like
Bandit pee. It probably hadn't been used since he'd been here. Bandit was
completely uncivilized and put his pee smell all over house things. Of course,
mom had cleaned the crate so she couldn't smell it but I could and I was pretty
sure that that-damn-rabbit would be able to. I started putting two and two
together (whatever that means) and although I didn't quite understand why, I was
certain that if that-damn-rabbit made Deva and Molly think of hot dogs then
that-damn-rabbit would never go into a crate with dog territory markings on it.
True enough he was in our yard but the yard was open and big. Even
that-damn-rabbits must have some clue about crates - after all, he'd escaped
containment once already. Understanding all of this, I suddenly realized, was
the easy part. How was I going to explain it to mom?!
I ambled around the yard, sniffing and tasting grass. I had a really hard
decision to make. There was only one way mom was going to clean that crate with
"this'll-getitout" and that was if she knew there was pee on it. The only way
she would know there was pee on it was to let her see pee going on it and that
would make her mad. On the other paw, at least we were outside. It wouldn't be
like lifting my leg in the house. Besides, nothing had already happened enough
in the house today and if we were waiting for that-damn-rabbit nothing could be
happening forever! I took a deep breath, walked up to the crate, lifted my leg
and gave a squirt.
"Panama dammit!" were her first - and very loud - words. They got worse
although quieter after dammit. She grumbled all the way into the house with the
crate and kept grumbling to herself and to me the whole time she was taking the
stuff out of the crate and cleaning it in the bath tub.
Dixie came over to me and said in her tiny quiet voice "Panama you didn't pee
on the peanut butter crackers did you?"
"Of course not" I said and she darted into the bathroom and grabbed one
and ran outside with it.
Peanut butter is about the only thing that makes Dixie brave.
I felt bad that mom was mad but I started to feel much better when I heard
her grumbles include the word that-damn-rabbit. Still, I thought it would be a
good time to go out in the puppy yard and feel the sun and catch any news that
was on the breeze. Before I left I grabbed a cheese cracker. After all, she
was already mad at me.
Molly came outside and rubbed up against me. "You did a good thing Panama"
she said "Mom would really appreciate it if she knew".
Mom went through the whole routine again of tying the string and adding
treats to the crate. I got close enough to make sure the pee smell was gone,
which it was, but I only did it out of curiosity. I sure wasn't going to pee on
the crate again. This time at the back door she remembered to say "Wait" but I
wasn't even near the back door. (I'd pushed my luck enough today.) I was already
looking out the dining room window. She came back and sat at the window again.
Austin started running around her feet and pawing her. "Not now Austin honey"
she said. Then she whispered "Quiet. Shhhh." Ani looked at me and rolled her
eyes. I think mom doesn't realize how she sounds when she's talking to a puppy
but Ani always notices. This time Ani wasn't being mean, she was sharing a joke
with me because she'd never just come out and give me a compliment the way Molly
We settled in on the floor around Mom and waited for her to get up. Mom is
not good at sitting still and doing nothing and she'd already done it for one
stretch today so we weren't too concerned. Sure enough after just a few minutes
she got up and went to the coffee pot. After she poured coffee she gave us each
a treat then she picked up a book and sat back down at the dining room table,
facing the window.
"Ohhh not a book." little Dixie whined.
"Bor-Ing!" Ani said as she headed for the window seat.
"It's unusual for her to read a soft book during the day" Skidget told the
downcast Austin who didn't care what kind of book it was and didn't know that
soft books are read for hours at a time while hard books generally only take a
little while on a lot of days. "Let's go get the nylabones."
"That-damn-rabbit" I said, to no one in particular.
Sienna stomped into the playroom and peed on the floor.
Mom sat at the window for a very long time reading her
book with that string still in her hand. Every few minutes she'd look out
the window and mumble something about that-damn-rabbit. At first every time
she looked out the window I'd bring my ball over to her but it was hopeless.
Finally I went to sit in the window seat with Ani. (I swear she spends so
much time in that window seat just so people passing can admire her.)
"This is getting really boring" I said to Ani.
"Huh!" was all she said but it annoyed me. Ani has a way
of saying "Huh!" so that it sounds like she knows something nobody else
does. Today it happened to be true but I didn't know that yet. Nobody did.
I thought she was just being her snobby self so I jumped on her head. She
wiggled out and moved away.
"Panama, you're so dumb" she said as she shook her hair
back into place.
"I am not! I'm the smart one."
"Huh!" she said.
"Well, I am! I learn tricks faster than you do!" I
snarled at her.
"No Panama Red. You perform tricks faster than I
do. The one who performs the fastest gets the fewest treats. That's you how
smart you are."
I jumped on her head again only this time she bit my ear
and I yelped. "You two behave." Mom said in a quiet but very serious
voice from her seat at the window.
"Ani don't you go getting mom mad at me again."
"You're the one who yelped Panama. You're such a mama's
"And you're a daddy's girl."
"That's right I am. I like daddy best." I would have bitten
her for that but I didn't want to get yelled at. "How can you say that Ani?
I love dad too but he never plays with us as much as mom does. He doesn't
give us nearly as many treats and he's not even here a whole lot."
"Panama you never think about things. Daddy gives us
treats mom won't let us have and we never even have to do anything to get
them. And when he's in the kitchen he always drops more food than mom does.
Besides, when's the last time daddy gave you a bath or cut your hair?"
"He never did. Mom does that."
"Huh!" said Ani. "My point exactly."
I had never thought about those things before and when I
try to think the way Ani does it always makes me feel like I'm learning a
new trick that I don't know yet. It's confusing. While
I was thinking about that Ani said "I don't know why she's waiting for
that-damn-rabbit. She should just let daddy catch him instead of wasting our
whole day with this boring nonsense."
"What makes you think dad can catch him if mom can't?" I
"I know he could. He feeds that-damn-rabbit all the time
when he goes out to the garden. That-damn-rabbit takes treats from him just
like we do. I watch him from the window seat every evening."
"Ani! Mom doesn't know that! I'm sure that if she did she
wouldn't have wasted our whole day!"
"I thought maybe dad wasn't supposed to give
that-damn-rabbit treats just like he's not supposed to give us his left
overs and cookies. I didn't want to tell on him. Besides, you tried to tell
her about the pee and where did it get you?"
"Ani" I said, very seriously. "You have to tell her.
What if she doesn't catch that-damn-rabbit today? What if tomorrow is the
same as today?"
"Well, I'll admit I hadn't considered that."
she said. ( I
knew I was smarter than she is. )
"But I'll have to find a way to tell her that doesn't get
me in trouble or she can figure it out for herself."
Just then we heard the big brown watch-out-these-are-heavy truck
coming. "Hooray. Hooray. Hooray" Skidget yelled at the top of her lungs and
ran toward the puppy yard. Ani jumped down from the window seat and
we headed for the yard after Skidget, screaming madly. I think we were even
louder than usual because we'd been so bored. All of us except for Sienna
and Austin (mom trained them right away not to bark like that) yelled and
jumped on the fence until the truck got to our house, then we ran inside and
pushed each other around to see who could get closest to the door. Mom was
yelling "Quiet down!" just like she does every day and we were not quieting
down at all just like we do every day. Mom thinks we can't hear her when
we're making that much noise so she lets us get away with it and even though
I'm as good a boy as I can be - mostly - I'm not telling her that we can.
Mom pushed through us to the door and opened it. The
truck guy put the packages on the porch and mom started to bring them in.
"Watch out puppies, these are heavy." she said. We only watched out a
little. While mom was moving the packages out of the way I noticed Sienna
milling around the big no-touching-the-plants with Dixie close by.
"Whacha doing Sienna?" Dixie asked.
"I'm getting ready to dig." Sienna said as if it were
something we all did all the time.
"You'll get in biiiiiiiig trouble for digging in there
Sienna." Dixie said.
"Don't care." Sienna said "If she goes back to that
window I'm going to dig every single bit of dirt out of that
no-touching-the-plant. I'm even going to eat some and then maybe I'll pee in
there." The very idea made Dixie shudder.
"Sienna she's going to get really mad if you do that.
You'd better not." Molly said.
"I don't mind mad." Sienna said. "I mind boring. This is
the most boring day of my whole life."
"Mine too." Dixie said as she increased the distance
between herself and Sienna.
After the truck guy left Mom didn't go back to the window
(lucky for Sienna.)
Instead she went into the
kitchen and started making supper. We milled around but she didn't
drop anything and she wasn't in a very good mood. I could tell that she was
still thinking about that-damn-rabbit.
In a while Dad came home. "Maybe she'll mention that-damn-rabbit." Ani
said hoping dad would end up telling mom himself that he could catch him.
"She won't tell him now. He just got home. It wouldn't be
Dixie, sitting quietly but watching and listening - as
Dixie usually does - entered the conversation. "Panama, what's timing?" Dixie
has such a little voice that if I were human I probably couldn't hear her.
"Well..." I said and rubbed my ear. (I always rub my ear
when I'm thinking hard. If I spend too much time thinking mom cleans my ears.)
"You know how if you sit in front of mom when she's not doing anything and smile
with your puppy face, she'll usually give you a treat?"
"Yes. I like that." Dixie said with a sparkle in
her eye and perky ears. Dixie almost always has her puppy face on.
"But if she's busy she just moves you out of the way or
ignores you no matter how puppy and smiley you are?"
"Yes. I don't like that." Dixie said and her ears
flattened back a little.
"Well" I said, "that's timing".
"But Daddy never gives mommy treats so why does she need
"Humans." Ani said as if it were a complete explanation.
"Humans seem to give each other invisible treats sometimes
Dixie. I think it's called moods but don't even try to figure it out. It will
just confuse you. Lucky for us, we aren't human."
"I don't think I like invisible treats." Dixie said,
puzzled. "Do we get invisible treats? How would you know if you got one?"
"Don't worry about it Dixie. If they try to give us
invisible treats we have to just ignore them anyway. Otherwise we'd be training
them to of think they can give us invisible treats instead of the good stuff."
Dad came back into the living room then in his best
shorts, the ones that smell so good like flowers and basil and peat with just a
hint of neighborhood dog pee. Ani sniffed and sighed enjoying his smell. I don't
know why he only wears those good shorts in the garden but he does. As he went
out to the garden Ani took up her position in the window seat. (I knew that
she'd be helpful because she was so intent
on watching for that-damn-rabbit she didn't even fluff her hair up when she sat
in the window.)
"Hey! What's going on? Huh? I wanna see! Where is
that-damn-rabbit? Let me up. Hey!" Sienna started yelling.
"What's the matter in there?" Mom asked as she stretched
to look over the counter then she came around into the living room. "Aww
Sienna. You want to see out the window?" Mom lifted Sienna onto the window seat
and went back to the kitchen. Ani rolled her eyes. "Why didn't you just jump up?" Ani asked Sienna.
"Didn't have to, did I?" Sienna said as she scanned the
garden and the surrounding yards then she rolled onto her back and lay there
trying to pacify Ani who she annoys to death. (Sienna is a chocolate phantom and
mom raves about her even though she's not nearly as beautiful a dog as Ani is. This would drive Ani nuts even if Sienna weren't a brat.)
"At least she still grovels" Ani whispered to me. "If she
ever stops I'm going to bite her so hard she'll think Bricks got her." Bricks
is a pit bull who lives down the street in a little jail on the lawn. He used to
be a really nice puppy but now he's just a sad old dog who belongs to Don't-Even-Get-Me-Started-On-Phil.
Ani watched as Dad fooled around in the garden for a
little while. Pretty soon that-damn-rabbit showed up and started sniffing dad.
He'd take a sniff and come a little closer. Then he'd wait a minute and take
another sniff and come closer still. Ani sat up straight on the window seat and
looked around considering her options. Sienna had fallen asleep on the edge of
the window seat. Ani cuddled up real close to her as if she were settling
in for a nap too and then she leaped up. Sienna rolled (or was nudged) off the
end of the window seat into a big no-touching-the-plants and yelped when she hit
Mom heard and came running in. Ani picked up a
stuffed toy and wagged it in her mouth as she wagged her tail at mom. (This is
Ani's standard greeting to anyone she really likes.) It caught mom's attention -
before Sienna did - at just the time when dad was holding a piece of basil out
toward that-damn-rabbit on the other side of the window.
"I'll be damned." mom said loud enough for all of us
to hear and come running to see what she'd be damned about. There was
that-damn-rabbit eating right out of dad's hand with mom (and all of us) looking
on. Dad and that-damn-rabbit must have heard too because that-damn-rabbit froze
and dad looked at the window where mom was making motions that looked like cues
but not any we knew. It wasn't sit or stay or come or down but a fast
combination of a bunch of similar stuff.
Ani looked at me with her you-can-praise-me-now look and I
have to admit that I did.
Dad didn't seem to be in any hurry to follow mom's cue but
he did slowly get up and come inside. "What?" he asked her.
"That-damn-rabbit was eating out of your hand!" she said,
Skidget looked at dad and smiled. Skidget says he's like a
cat, Cat's don't use extra words and they act like they don't know anything is
going on around them, as if knowing would commit them to participating.
Mom says he's oblivious but I don't know what that means. Maybe it means "like a
"I've been trying to catch him all day." mom said, still
really excited. "I had no idea you could get that close to him. Can you grab
"And do what with him?" Dad asked. It was a good question
because mom had been so intent on catching that-damn-rabbit she had no plan for
what would come next.
"Well.. " she said haltingly "Give him back to Tony?"
"Tony shouldn't own an animal." dad said.
"I know. I was trying to be fair but I guess since he's
done nothing to get it back we don't really have to consider it his. Besides, it
would probably escape again and I don't want to go through this again."
We liked hearing that because we sure didn't want to go
through this again either.
"Hey, there's a guy in town I know who has pet rabbits.
I'll bet he'd take him." Dad said.
"You're sure they're pets?" mom said and now she
was thinking of hot-dogs.
"Positive. I can take him down after we eat." dad said as
he leaned over and scratched Ani's neck. She puffed up and shook her hair into
place and I swear she purred.
"Great. While you're gone I'll make the pups some liver
treats. Poor babies, I've been ignoring them all day."
We all started running around and barking as if the
watch-out-these-are-heavy truck was here. We ran into the puppy yard yippieing
and yahooing and jumping and howling. We were so happy to be finished with
boredom and to have liver treats besides. (We love liver treats!)
Mom gave dad a kiss on the cheek then shook her head
smiling "You'd swear those dogs knew exactly what we were saying, wouldn't you?"
Editor's Note: This story is full of
anthropomorphism (personification, attribution of human characteristics to
animals or other non-human entities) but it does portray - if in a bit
exaggerated style - the personalities of the dogs, all of which are quite