Every Day is Dog Day

At my place dogs don’t really need a special day as most of the time I’m pretty happy to have them around

By Rob Breeding

Last week we celebrated something called National Dog Day. Well, I didn’t really “celebrate” it. Rather, I noticed that some folks marked the big day by posting photos of their dogs on Facebook.

That’s all just fine, though, as the number of “National” days designated to honor one thing or another has climbed beyond 365, the impact of each has diminished. August 26, for instance, the day we put our pooches on a pedestal, was also National Women’s Equality Day as well as National Cherry Popsicle Day. Who knew?

At my place dogs don’t really need a special day as most of the time I’m pretty happy to have them around. Most of the time. Recently, however, my bird dog Doll has been a bit of trouble. The other morning I made myself a piece of toast and when it popped up I expected the butter to be on the counter where I left it the night before. It wasn’t, and a quick search around my small kitchen and the fridge failed to turn up any partially consumed sticks.

I blamed the disappearing butter on my daughter, who likes to visit and eat my food. She also cleans the kitchen, so I figured she was either eating a lot of toast, or she’d been a little too OCD with her cleanup duties.

A few days later it happened again. After another futile search of the kitchen I went looking for my phone so I could find out what the heck my kid was doing with my butter.

Side note: as you age, frantic text messages to your kids demanding they reveal the location of missing sticks of butter can burden your offspring with undue emotional stress. I’m not so old that they’ll start looking for affordable long-term care facilities to check me in to, but it still warrants caution.

It was when I went searching for the phone so I could terrify my daughter with a “You kids get off my lawn,” moment that I solved the case of the mysterious, missing butter. There in the living room, licking the last traces of sweet cream off her muzzle, was the bird dog. She ate the butter wrapper and all so as to cover her tracks.

In my joint Doll pretty much has the run of the place, so long as she stays off the furniture. Still, grabbing food off the counter generally hasn’t been much of a problem. But there was the day I made a couple of semolina loaves and when I wasn’t looking my now departed bird dog Jack snagged one and ran out the dog door. I solved that mystery when I walked out to the car and found the missing loaf of bread propped between his paws as he gnawed away.

Butter must be an especially irresistible treat for dogs, and since I like to leave it out on the counter where it will stay soft, there have been a few such heists over the years. I probably need to get one of those ceramic butter bells to keep my spread fresh, soft and safe from marauding canines.

In the meantime I had another solution. I bought a set of mousetraps, baited them with butter and left them on the edge of the kitchen counter. Then I left the pooch free to her own devices while I took a shower. On my return I found one of the traps tripped, and the dog cowering on her bed in the living room. She didn’t move all night.

I think we’re good for the time being. Just the sight of one of those traps sends Doll scurrying out of the kitchen to the safety of her bed. The effect will wear off eventually, however. Such is the power of butter.

Another, less terrifying solution looms: hunting season. Those crisp fall days in the field are the real National Dog Days. The pooch will be too tired for mischief after a day commemorated by running for miles through wheat stubble and sagebrush chasing birds.

I wish we could celebrate like that 365 days of the year.

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