Listen up, dog

July 16, 2010

Guelph Mercury, 14/07/10 Leroy

Here’s the thing, dog.

You’re cute as heck, and a lot of people really love you. But we need to talk.

It’s time you’ve started pulling your weight around here. I know it’s tough being a puppy, what with all the napping, destroying gardens, chewing shoes and all that.

At the end of a long day, you’re practically run off you feet. No wonder you sleep straight until 5:58 a.m., when you decide you must wake up everyone in the house to announce that you’re about to pee. Right. Now.

We called you Leroy, after the great pitcher Roy Halladay. But you still struggle with the concept of playing catch. Here’s a hint: when we throw something, it doesn’t disappear – it just moves to another location. I’m sure you can figure it out.

It’s a lot like when we leave the room. We don’t actually vanish. You just can’t see us. So no need to whine, OK?

I know your father was an English sheep dog, and he probably came by herding honestly. But I’ve got a feeling you’ve never even seen any sheep, because they’re fluffy, walk on four legs and generally live on farms. Those creatures you’ve been chasing – they’re people: less hairy and they walk on two legs. So until you meet some sheep, no need for this herding business, OK?

I don’t want to make you sit through any old episodes of Lassie or the Littlest Hobo. But when is the last time you saved a boy down a well or helped someone in need? The only thing you seem to be saving is the little surprises you leave behind on the carpet.

And we need to talk about who’s in charge around here. Like the late George Steinbrenner, I’m the boss. And you’re my Alex Rodriguez – you might make girls coo, but you’re no Rhodes Scholar. Remember when you got scared of the squeaky toy that you just made squeak? Case in point.

The house hierarchy goes like this, in descending order: The lady, her shoes, me, and you. Got it? Just do as we say, and we’ll get along fine.

There’s a few other things we need to discuss. As in, for an animal with such a heightened sense of smell, how is it you’re drawn like a magnet to some of the worst smelling things on Earth? I mean, goose poo? Really?

And how can you be so amazed at what comes flying out of your own body? We all saw, and smelt, what you did. No need to dwell on it. We all do that everyday, and nobody else goes around celebrating it. You’ll do it again tomorrow, and the next day. Better get used to it.

And this napping thing. I get tired, too. But you don’t catch me sleeping all day so that I’m wired throughout the night when everyone else wants to sleep.

So let’s work together, OK? When it’s play time, let’s play. No need to turn into an angry Dutch soccer player when it’s time for bed. And those rawhide sticks we bought you – just eat those, not my shoes.

Do that, and we’ll get along fine. Oh, and tonight – would it kill you to make dinner?

Greg Mercer is a Guelph-based writer. His column appears Wednesdays. He can be reached at, and past columns can be read at

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