In My Humble Opinion

Dog day afternoon

By JONATHAN CHARLES FOX
Posted 7/29/20

Let’s face it: I’m just a dog. Well, maybe not JUST a dog (HE says I’m “special”), but a dog nonetheless. I mean, sure, I went to school when I was a puppy and learned …

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In My Humble Opinion

Dog day afternoon

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Let’s face it: I’m just a dog. Well, maybe not JUST a dog (HE says I’m “special”), but a dog nonetheless. I mean, sure, I went to school when I was a puppy and learned how to take care of HIM (I schmell stuff for a living), but I walk on four legs, beg for treats, bark my adorable head off when I’m in the mood and will literally eat anything that I’m not supposed to. So, yeah…I ’m a dog. Oh, and I’m Cuban (Havanese means “Little Havana”) so I like the hot weather and being out in the midday sun.

It seems like HE’s had more free time than usual and we’ve gone out for nice long rides (I like schticking my head out the window), spent “quality time” (whatever that means) hanging out by the fire and been down to the lake a lot where I played with a blind schnake and rolled in a dead fish. Although we’ve been to the farmers’ market once or twice and seen an outdoor concert or two, something is wrong. I can schmell it.

When we do go out (which is rare) and HE sees someone we know, nobody shakes hands, nobody tries to hug each other and everyone is wearing weird face coverings. So we’re home most of the time because going out makes HIM nervous, and we don’t watch the news as much as we used to.

I may be just a dog, but I’m not stupid. In fact, I recently read Stanley Coren’s 1994 book, “The Intelligence of Dogs” (yes, I can read). In it, Coren, who was a professor of canine psychology (who knew?) at the University of Vancouver, goes into detail about the three aspects of dog intelligence: instinctive intelligence, adaptive intelligence and working and obedience intelligence.

Instinctive intelligence refers to “a dog’s ability to perform the tasks it was bred for, such as herding, pointing, fetching, guarding, or supplying companionship.” I do all of that for HIM every day, catering to HIS every whim as if I was an unpaid intern instead of a loving, caring and faithful companion. Hmph.

Adaptive intelligence refers to a dog’s “ability to solve problems on its own.” Thankfully, I’m pretty quick on my feet (paws?) because HE’s not so great (in MY humble opinion—BOL!) at problem-solving. That’s okay. I’m a service dog.

Working and obedience intelligence refers to “a dog’s ability to learn from humans” (www.wikipedia.com). I guess HE “hit the trifecta” (whatever that means) when I was born because HE constantly tells me that I’m “a good girl,” which I think is totally sexist and a little insulting. But at the end of the day, I’m a Havanese and we are known as affectionate and happy dogs.

In fact, I Googled the word “Havanese” one day (yes, I can Google) and the wiki-thing said we “do not make good kennel dogs and prefer being with our humans.” It also stated that we are “active dogs” (my work schedule is intense because there’s a lotta stuff to schniff) and “enjoy learning tricks and playing games. Havanese are intelligent and trainable,” it said. Well, duh.

 I mean, it’s not like I’m an Afghan Hound. They’ve been called the “dumbest dog” (don’t shoot the messenger!) according to the wiki-thing, and I’m nowhere near as stubborn as a bull dog, but the damn computer said that the smartest dogs are Border collies, Poodles, German Shepherds and Doberman Pinschers. In that order. Hmph.

 I may be just a dog, but I do know this: Something is wrong. I can schmell it. Not just here at home, but all over the world, and HE is troubled, which troubles me. I guess we’re both hoping that this madness will come to an end and that things will go back to normal (whatever that is), but HE has grave doubts, which troubles us both. Let’s hope that we don’t all go mad… out in the midday sun.

Fun Facts:

To the Greeks and Romans, the “dog days” occurred around the day when Sirius appeared to rise just before the sun in late July. They referred to these days as “the hottest time of the year, a period that could bring fever, or even catastrophe” (that wiki-thing). Thus, (schmancy word for a dog, huh?) the term “Dog Days of Summer” came to mean the 20 days before and 20 days after this alignment of Sirius with the Sun—July 3 to August 11.

“Dog Day Afternoon” is a 1975 American biographical neo-noir crime drama film directed by Sidney Lumet, written by Frank Pierson and produced by Martin Bregman and Martin Elfand.

“Mad Dogs and Englishmen” is a song written by Noël Coward and first performed in “The Third Little Show” at the Music Box Theatre, New York, on June 1, 1931.

True or false: “Snakes go blind during the dog days of August.” False! Although snakes are not known to shed any more in August than in any other summer month, “shedding blindness” is the probable origin of this myth (www.nationalgeographic.com).

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