I had one dog too many at my house. I love dogs, but when my daughter and her two pets came to live with me, we discovered that three dogs and a cat were too many animals. We had dogs everywhere. Since one of the dogs, Cody, immediately endeared himself to us by strategically placing his scent on the living room rug, there was little doubt which animal had to be sacrificed. And so, we were looking for new home for Cody.
“Take a picture and post an ad,” someone told us. “Pictures help.” Cody was a wonderful dog – a Sheltie. Sheltie is the nickname of the breed correctly called Shetland Sheepdogs. They are descended from sheep herding dogs. Quick and agile by nature, they are among the most intelligent of all dog species. Cody was a beauty, looking like a miniature version of Lassie.
We coaxed Cody to smile (I told you he was intelligent.) and took a picture. Apparently Cody was not smart enough to know why we were taking the picture, however. We placed it strategically in all the better public places where people who love dogs might go, i.e. veterinarian’s bulletin boards and pet stores. Trouble was, people who visit veterinarians and pet stores apparently have pets already. We received only one call from all our ads and it was on the strange side.
The voice on my answering machine said: “I want to know about the dog’s personality.”
Personality? Dogs have a personality? “Well, he smiles a lot, especially when asleep. Does that count? He is very friendly, primarily when you are bringing his food dish. He can actually spring four feet straight up into the air for food.”
I wondered why he didn’t jump over the kennel fence, but he just jumped straight up as if on a trampoline. He hadn’t quite figured out how to level it out. I was sure it was only a matter of time. He probably stayed up nights drawing up blueprints and plotting his eventual escape.
“Also, what is the dog’s lifestyle?” said the voice on the recording.
Lifestyle? Dogs have a lifestyle? “He’s a DOG, for Pete sakes!! He eats, sleeps, goes for a walk, barks, scratches, goes to the bathroom and then he does it all over again.” What sort of lifestyle did she expect a dog to have? I’ve seen that TV show, “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” I don’t remember seeing any dogs, but I’m sure some dogs must lie around on velvet cushions eating dog biscuits all day. Well, Cody was not a pampered pet. He led the life of a dog. Were they looking for a dog or a date? “This is not a singles ad, lady.”
Let’s see, I thought, maybe I can reword my ad and get better results:
“Make a dog happy. Make me happy. Give a dog a home. He will jump at the chance to be your pet. Lifestyle no problem, he is used to the life of a dog. Disinfectant for your carpet included. Do not feed from fingers if you value fingers. Dog has food anxiety. One pet home preferred. Sheepdogs have herding instinct and other pets may object to being nipped on legs, resulting in dogfights in the kitchen. Trips to the emergency vet are not included. All vaccinations current. Taxes and delivery extra.”
“How much does the dog cost?” Don’t make me laugh. We would almost pay someone to take this dog – notice I said “almost.” Try before you buy? Not a chance. What did you think this was, a used car? If I ever got rid of that mongrel…
Oh, wait, “Here Cody! Sit, smile for the nice people. Hold up your pedigree registration papers. That’s a good pooch. Here is your milkbone treat. Watch the fingers…. You can go now. I said, GO!… NO! NO! Not on the rug!”
“Please,” I thought, “Somebody, adopt this FREE dog.” Except for a few teensy vices, he was a great dog. He walked on a leash, sat on command, and only barked at trash men and other dogs (unless provoked). “Just a wee bit of time and attention and he will call you master forever, provide hours of companionship, and bring your slippers only slightly crewed up.”
“What’s not to love?”