Leave It


Sit. Stay. Down. Come. Wait. No. Off. Leave it. Whose idea is that? Here I am looking at my ball. It’s my favorite thing in the world, but I’ve been told to “leave it.” Why? Because my mom thinks it’s good practice.

Yeah, she thinks it could come in handy sometime. Once my mom told me to leave it when she dropped a grape on the floor. Grapes are poison to dogs and she didn’t want me to eat it. OK. I get that. But when she drops a nice chunk of meat, by what logic should I not grab it and swallow it whole?

Get this. She tells me to stay and then goes to another room. She whistles and I have to go find her. It’s a mindless game but it makes her happy and I get a treat each time. Seems like I always have to play by her rules. Her language. Her words. Her sense of what’s appropriate and what’s not.

Who’s to say it’s impolite to smell the neighbor’s crotch? Who’s to say I shouldn’t jump on the couch when some guest is sitting there? Why can’t we play ball in the middle of dinner? Why shouldn’t I counter surf? Why can’t I get on that special chair? What’s wrong with bringing my rotten bone in the house? So what if I have poop stuck to my butt feathers? We’re really talking about cultural differences.

But then she yells “Treats!” Jack can’t hear her but Tess and I go running and Jack follows. We sit politely in a circle. I always get mine first but I have to wait for permission to take it. Tess has to whirl around in a circle and Jack extends his paw. She’s so happy that we have manners. Me and Tess don’t have the heart to tell her it’s not about manners. It’s about the treats. Oh well. Gotta run.

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