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An ambitious pooch aspires to be a therapy dog. Any advice?

Sure! Budleigh’s full of it.

Read Ask a Terrier: Budleigh Analyzes Therapy.

Hey, Budleigh yearns to straighten out your life! Ask him for advice here.

And subscribe to our litter-mate blog Sleeping between Giants for important updates and announcements – most of them peanut butter-related.

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oxford-and-penguin-resized-pixr
If you, like Bob Cratchit, were making rather merry on Christmas day, you maybe missed this bit of cheer on my Sleeping between Giants blog.

Sleeping between Giants explores life, if you could call it that, with a terrier.

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By Dave Jaffe

When it comes to political campaigns, dogs pay no attention to the news media, except for Wolf Blitzer whose name, they complain, is misleading.

However, dogs are heavily influenced by their Giants. In recent weeks, pets’ political discussions at the local dog park have grown so snarling, biting, contradictory and tail-chasing as to be indistinguishable from Fox News.

At the dog park, political discussions inevitably reduce to pissing matches. But so does everything.

At the dog park, political discussions inevitably reduce to pissing matches. But so does everything.

GOLDEN RETRIEVER: “…which is why I get a lot of knots, especially on my ears and neck, so that’s when I’ll bring her the comb, but sometimes she needs more than the comb because what I really need is a good brushing. So then I go get—ˮ

PUG: “The brush! Yeah, I get it! We all get it! Give it a rest!”

GOLDEN RETRIEVER: (Ears and tail droop.) “My Giant says with Sanders, you won’t get to talk to me like that.”

PUG: “What’s ‘Sanders’?”

GOLDEN RETRIEVER: “He’s friend to the downtrodden, my Giant says.”

SCHNOODLE: “What’s ‘Downtrodden’?”

GOLDEN RETRIEVER: “It means when you’re pushed down. Like how my fur grows sometimes. That’s when I need to fetch—ˮ

PUG: “If he mentions that brush again, I’m gonna worry his haunch!”

SCHNOODLE: “What’s ‘Haunch’?”

TERRIER MUTT: “That’s who I’m for.”

PUG: “Who?”

TERRIER MUTT: “Haunch! My Giants say he’s gonna make America grape again!”

SCHNOODLE: “I’m hungry!”

DOBERMAN PINSCHER: “You mean Trump, not Haunch. My Giant—you know, the yell-y one?”

ALL: “We know!”

DOBERMAN PINSCHER: “Well, my Giant says Trump is gonna build a huge, beautiful wall. Not just one of those invisible fences. Boy, those spook me! Anyway, this wall’s gonna keep out certain…you know…breeds. (Nods at Chihuahua.) No offense meant.

CHIHUAHUA: “¡No hay problama!”

SHETLAND SHEEPDOG: “Maybe I’m for Sanders. My fur gets really downtrodden.”

GERMAN SHEPHERD: “You should be for Hillary. My Giant says lots of Giants are downtrodden and Hillary can bring them all together.”

SHETLAND SHEEPDOG: “Like herding? I’m good at herding.”

GERMAN SHEPHERD: “I guess.”

SHETLAND SHEEPDOG: “OK, then. Go Hillary!”

PUG: “We should take a poll!”

TERRIER MUTT: “A what, then?”

PUG: “That’s when the ear box rings during dinner but my Giants don’t answer because it’s ‘another damn poll!’ Then they yell about how ‘it’s none of their business who I support, and besides I hate them all!’ Then they give me a treat. And sometimes we take a walk.”

SCHNOODLE: “Polls sound great!”

TERRIER MUTT: “I’m for Hillary!”

GERMAN SHEPHERD: “Hillary.”

PUG: “OK! Sanders.”

DOBERMAN PINSCHER: “Trump.”

CHIHUAHUA: “¡No Hay Problema!”

SCHNOODLE: “Haunch!”

PUG: “There is no Haunch!”

SCHNOODLE: “Then who’s gonna make America grape again?”

GOLDEN RETRIEVER: “Beats me! But I know we’re not supposed to eat grapes.”

###

This article is part of “Sleeping Between Giants”, an ongoing series featured on the Write Good!: The Blog blog.

Sleeping Between Giants explores life – if you can call it that – with a terrier.

Your feedback is welcome, probably. dj

Permission to re-use this material for non-commercial purposes is granted provided that Dave Jaffe, www.writegoodtheblog.com, is appropriately credited as the author and source. Please feel free to link to this page.

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By Dave Jaffe

Dogs and shoes can live together in harmony provided both are willing to compromise. To reach an accord, dogs have to be trained to respect shoes, while shoes must agree to limit all provocative missile test launches over disputed borders.

While seasoned diplomats attend to the latter, let’s explore the former.

Positive reinforcement training combines praise and treats to reward behavior, a method that has proved effective on canines and, to a lesser extent, millennials.

A testament to positive reinforcement is Jake, sent in by owner Debra R. Observe Jake (left) with a “stolen” shoe, and Jake (right) after six months of training. Note on the right his contrition, repentance, and smoldering regret. Also the smaller shoe. Well done, Jake!

A testament to positive reinforcement is Jake, sent in by owner Debra R. Observe Jake (left) with a “stolen” shoe, and Jake (right) after six months of training. Note on the right his contrition, repentance, and smoldering regret. Also the smaller shoe. Well done, Jake!

Using positive reinforcement, for example, a dog would be compensated little by little for not engaging in inappropriate activities, a process trainers describes as “shaping” and law enforcement calls “extortion.”

GIANT 2: “Dave, Budleigh’s getting near your shoes!”

GIANT 1: “Good! Got the cookies ready?”

GIANT 2: “And the cheese bits. And the tuna.”

GIANT 1: “OK. Don’t react until he looks at me.”

BUDLEIGH: “Saaay, nice pair of loafers ya’ got here. Really nice! Too bad if something happened to ‘em. Know what I mean?”

BRISBY: “Yeah, Boss!”

BUDLEIGH: “Shaddup, you! Like I was sayin’, sad if something happened to them shoes. Or this house. Or maybe your family. That would be a damn shame, wouldn’t it?”

BRISBY: “Yeah, Boss!”

BUDLEIGH: “Shaddup, you!”

GIANT 1: “He’s looking at me! Give him a treat! Give him a treat!”

GIANT 2: “Gooooood Budleigh! Smart Budleigh!”

BUDLEIGH: “Thanks. Tasty! Very tasty! Sorta like, ya’ know, this genuine EYE-talian leather over here.”

GIANT 1: “Give him another! Give him another!”

GIANT 2: “Here, Budleigh! What a gooood dog!”

BUDLEIGH: “That’s better. You’re both good kids. We’re gonna get along just fine. So I’ll see you same time tomorrow, right?”

BRISBY: “Yeah, Boss!”

BUDLEIGH: “Shaddup, you!”

While positive reinforcement training is valuable in controlling shoe-chewing behavior and organized crime, also essential is to provide your dog a variety of chewing alternatives. Numerous products are available, some rugged and durable, others as vulnerable as a swimmer bleeding in shark-infested waters.

Whether made of hard rubber, nylon or plastic, no chew toy is indestructible, with the exception of those constructed of Indestructibilium™, an element lost when the planet Krypton exploded. Frequent inspection of such toys for excessive wear and sharp edges is mandatory. Those that are ragged or jagged should be taken away from the dog, easily done by distracting him with a pair of shoes.

Short, thick lengths of rope with heavy, intricate knots tied at either end are a favorite chew toy of dogs and sailors everywhere. Rope toys also serve as doggie dental floss, cleaning teeth of bits of hard rubber, nylon, plastic and Indestructibilium™.

Finally, rawhide chews made from cow or horse hides have long proved satisfying for dogs. The same is true of bully sticks, which are made from the pizzle or penis of a bull. Let me just repeat that last part. They’re made. From the pizzle. Or Penis. Of. A bull!

I thought it best to emphasis this before you and your dog picnic on a ranch near a corral enclosing a bull that seems, well, angrier than usual.

Next: Ask a terrier, if you think it will do any good.
###

This article is part of “Sleeping Between Giants“, an ongoing series featured on the Write Good!: The Blog blog.

Sleeping Between Giants explores life – if you can call it that – with a terrier.

Your feedback is welcome, probably. dj

Permission to re-use this material for non-commercial purposes is granted provided that Dave Jaffe, www.writegoodtheblog.com, is appropriately credited as the author and source. Please feel free to link to this page.

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By Dave Jaffe

Any dog serving prison time for chewing shoes will eagerly admit that socks served as a gateway drug. And that he’s a Good Boy!

Budleigh steals socks. That isn’t his fault. We Giants failed him. As did society. And the apparel industry. He no longer chews them as he did during his house-pet-in-training probationary apprenticeship. Just, ya’ know, sort of steals them. For the kicks, man! The thrill! School is for squares, daddio!

Unlike Budleigh, Brisby eschews socks and shoes in favor of his pile of bones. Oddly, we only bought him two of those, but Uncle Max has been missing for weeks. Hmmm…

Unlike Budleigh, Brisby eschews socks and shoes in favor of his pile of bones. Oddly, we only bought him two of those, but Uncle Max has been missing for weeks. Hmmm…

That Budleigh has moved from indiscriminate vandal to cunning thief is a victory rooted in dedicated training and drastically lowered expectations. No champion sought here. Just a pet that will reliably follow these basic rules:

1. Don’t eat things that make you dead
2. Think before you bite me
3. Get off the everything
4. Rest and drink plenty of fluids
5. Vote

Unless your dog has strong political leanings, Rule 1 is probably the most important. Clearly, it’s the most important to veterinarians whose examination rooms display colorful posters of frolicking puppies and giggling children beneath the headline, “Six Common Household Items That Will Kill Your Dog. Also Everyone Who Knows Your Dog.”

Next to that hang posters featuring different dogs and children – survivors, presumably – that read, “Wait! Did We Mention These Four Other Items?” and “Oops! Just Remembered Two More. Sorry!”

Dire warnings like these worry pets, which leads to intense dog park discussions. Also, anxious chewing.

GERMAN SHEPHERD: “…and the next morning when they checked the car, there was a hook in the door!”

LABRADOR RETRIEVER: (Gently) “Maybe this is too scary for…you know…everyone. (Nods toward wide-eyed Maltese.) Say, how ‘bout that brushing? Isn’t brushing great?”

MALTESE: “Did they chew the hook?”

TERRIER MUTT: “You can’t chew hooks! Well, I can. But it would kill the rest of you.”

PUG: “Wait! You’ve chewed a hook?”

TERRIER MUTT: “Sure! Plenty of ‘em. I chewed one today after I threw up breakfast.”

LABRADOR RETRIEVER: “…’cause I’m really soft, but when she brushes me I get even softer. So then I bring her the brush – I can do that, you know – and she says I’m a Good—ˮ

MALTESE: “What about a brush? You ever chew a brush?”

TERRIER MUTT: “Yeah! Lots of times. And plenty more stuff when I was little.”

PUG: “And nobody stopped you?”

TERRIER MUTT: “Well, I was in a shelter.”

All go quiet for several minutes.

BERNESE MOUNTAIN DOG: “Once I chewed a mountain.”

PUG: “You did? A mountain?”

BERNESE MOUNTAIN DOG: “So I’ve been told.”

BULL DOG: “Anyone ever chew up one of those round things?”

GERMAN SHEPHERD: ‘Which round thing?”

BULL DOG: “Oh, you know. The round things where they yell at you, then get all worried and call that place with the scary posters? And then they rush you there in the car?”

GERMAN SHEPHERD: “The one with a hook in the door?”

Clearly, overcoming a dog’s passion to chew is no easy task. However, both dog and owner can enjoy measurable success through the application of some simple, safe and humane training tactics developed by the United States Navy SEAL Team Interrogation Unit.

Next: Positive reinforcement or “They made me a criminal!”
###

This article is part of “Sleeping Between Giants“, an ongoing series featured on the Write Good!: The Blog blog.

Sleeping Between Giants explores life – if you can call it that – with a terrier.

Your feedback is welcome, probably. dj

Permission to re-use this material for non-commercial purposes is granted provided that Dave Jaffe, www.writegoodtheblog.com, is appropriately credited as the author and source. Please feel free to link to this page.

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By Dave Jaffe

Dogs use their teeth to explore the world much the way we use the Internet. A dog’s mouth and tongue serve as router and modem, while its excretory system works like Comcast.

Whether having teeth leads to chewing or chewing is the outcome of having teeth is a “chicken or the egg” paradox, although dogs will eat both so why are we even debating? Let’s instead focus on the reasons dogs chew my shoes and socks and, to a lesser extent, yours.

Chewing is a perfectly normal canine behavior. In fact, the word canine is Latin for “He ruined what?” Puppies and young dogs might chew to relieve teething pain. Older dogs chew to combat boredom, ease anxiety, or reduce frustration. Some chew simply as a way to prop up the international leather trade. Whatever the cause, to correct an inappropriate chewing behavior, the thoughtful canine owner must first ask, “He ruined what?”

Who chewed the shoes? Can you solve this Minute Mystery? For the answer, turn to page 159.

Who chewed the shoes? Can you solve this Minute Mystery? For the answer, turn to page 159.

So, what is “inappropriate” for dogs to chew? This varies from dog to dog depending on their size, age, and the dietary restrictions of their religion. However, generally banned items include:

• Shoes, socks
• Children
• The military
• Another shoe and sock, damn it!
• (For large dogs) aircraft engine parts before, during flight
• (For small dogs) large dogs
• Six of the current associate justices of the Supreme Court
• Cash, bonds
• Oh, for God’s sake! Another shoe and sock?

Some dogs can quickly learn to avoid forbidden items with just a bit of guidance, a few treats, and an instructional PowerPoint presentation. However, most dogs know exactly what they’re doing when, say, they chew up $75.85 in uncashed checks, as was the case with our formerly alive terrier thing, Oxford.

Giant 2 still insists it was a coincidence that Oxford ravaged four checks taken from four locations over five weeks. It’s was all just paper to him, she says. He didn’t know any better. He was just a dog!

No, he was a terrier. Some dogs track explosives. Others uncover drug caches. Terriers foment crime. Of course Oxford knew that checks were valuable. Dogs have a surprisingly keen understanding of the Federal Reserve. Also their own sophisticated monetary system based on tennis balls. But Oxford wasn’t after the money. His was a mission to corrupt young Brisby, the schnoodle who can do no wrong.

OXFORD: “Hey, kid. C’mere!”

BRISBY: “But I’m on my way to church, Oxford.”

OXFORD: “Sure, sure. You want ta’ see something?”

BRISBY: “I’m supposed to light candles!”

OXFORD: “Yeah, that can wait. (Noses envelope off desk.) Ever see one of these?”

BRISBY: “Is it a cookie?”

OXFORD: “That’s right, a cookie. But you gotta open it, first. Go on, open it!”

BRISBY: “Okay, Oxford! What’s ‘open?’”

OXFORD: “Oh, for… Gimme that!” (He shreds.)

BRISBY: “I have to go now or I’ll miss hymn howling.”

OXFORD: “Too late, kid. You’re in this as deep as me.”

BRISBY: “Do I still get a cookie?”

Next: Wait! Weren’t we talking about shoes and socks?

###

This article is part of “Sleeping Between Giants“, an ongoing series featured on the Write Good!: The Blog blog.

Sleeping Between Giants explores life – if you can call it that – with a terrier.

Your feedback is welcome, probably. dj

Permission to re-use this material for non-commercial purposes is granted provided that Dave Jaffe, www.writegoodtheblog.com, is appropriately credited as the author and source. Please feel free to link to this page.

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By Dave Jaffe

(Our feature on dog grooming tips that began with Best Practices for You, Your Dog, and Your Fingers and continued in Grooming Tips, Part 2: Bathing your Dog – The New Waterboarding concludes with this column. Unless I forgot something.)

Witty Physics would have us believe that drying a dog is the same as wetting a dog, only backwards, if you follow the math.

Apparently, Physics has never dried a dog. Or owned one. Or been on a date since 1990. So thanks anyway, Physics. We’ll take it from here.

Evolutionarily speaking, fur has proved an excellent material for encasing a dog – more resilient than scales, better protection than thorns, and vastly superior to a flour tortilla for retaining both meat and cheese.

However, dog fur also is capable of holding an enormous amount of water. This trait was well suited to prehistoric canines, which were aquatic. Sleek, gilled, and paddle-footed, these 80-feet-long behemoths swam the world’s primordial oceans retrieving primitive tennis balls the size of The Bean.

Eventually, as the great oceans cooled, aquatic Canine developed beyond gill and paddle crawling onto land in a desperate effort to find and bite me.

However they were still soaking wet.

Today’s modern canine retains most of that water. Add to that the moisture absorbed during a bath and the average medium-sized, soft-coated dog can serve effectively as an oil rig fire suppression system. Thus, knowing the Three Methods of Drying – air drying, towel drying, and blow drying – is as important to the citizen dog owner as understanding the three branches of government: the Executive, the Legislative, and the Santa Maria.

This “turban-style” fur drying technique is ideal for the harried dog that still needs to do makeup and nails before prom.

This “turban-style” fur drying technique is ideal for the harried dog that still needs to do makeup and nails before prom.

Also knowing your dog’s fears before selecting a drying technique can reduce his trauma and your arterial puncture wounds. Some dogs grow frightened if covered with towels. Others panic at loud noises like those of a hair dryer. And some, like our formerly alive terrier Oxford are terrified of flies.

I don’t know why flies troubled this efficient, little killing machine. He routinely knocked off rabbits, chipmunks, even a squirrel or two with the detached psychopathy of a professional hit man. But flies? Flies were the buzzing souls of those he’d murdered. So he hired Brisby for protection.

OXFORD: “That Yakuza contract on the chipmunk under the stoop? Considered it completed.”

BRISBY: “Should I be hearing this, Boss?”

OXFORD: “I’m gonna take a nap. Nobody wakes me. Capisce?”

BRISBY: “What’s ‘capisce?’ Can I eat it?”

OXFORD: “Shaddup! Listen! Your hear that…that buzzing? Like a little voice crying, ‘You killed me! And several dozen of my brothers and sisters, probably. And also peed on my burrow. Now I shall punish you with a sort of high-pitched, mildly annoying whine somewhere in your general vicinity. Forever!’ Ahhhhh! What is that thing?”

BRISBY: “A capisce? Can I eat it?”

Then Oxford would run upstairs to our bed where flies couldn’t find him and hide there until the end of summer. We rarely tried to bathe and dry him before the first killing frost.

Having mastered our fears, let’s explore the pros and cons of each drying method. Mostly cons.

Air Drying: Thrifty, Natural, Useless

Were it not for vice squads, who among us wouldn’t choose to dry off after a shower by running around the backyard au naturel and rolling in smelly stuff au poop?

Sadly, only dogs can get away with that. Also my Uncle Reggie, twice.

The efficacy of air drying depends, in part, on your dog’s ability to shake off water. According to an animal drying study out of Georgia Tech, (“Home of the Fightin’ Wet Malamutes”) a dog can shake approximately 70 percent of the water from its fur in four seconds. And even more if they have a good sense of humor and you’re standing really close.

Due to his type of coat and generally nurturing behavior, Brisby is not an ideal candidate for the air drying method. Budleigh’s demeanor, however, makes him a poor candidate for any process short of One Hour Martinizing.

GIANT 1: “Good, Brisby! All done bath. Now give us a biiiig shake!”

BRISBY: “You’re sure? Everyone’s sought shelter? There are enough lifeboats? OK, here we go.”

GIANT 1: “Good shake, Brisby!”

GIANT 2: “That’s it? But he’s still wet, Dave. Maybe wetter.”

GIANT 1: “Well, he’s not done. No, we’re not done are we, Brisby? We’re gonna shake, shake shake, my good boy!”

BRISBY: “Do you know what you’re asking? People could die! You need to get to high ground. Wait! I feel another tremor. It’s the big one!”

GIANT 1: “Awww, he’s adorable!”

GIANT 2: “But he’s just soaking the rug, Dave. I’ll go grab towels.”

BRISBY: “Yes, go! Save yourselves!”

In the very broadest terms Budleigh is likewise nurturing, if by “nurturing” we mean “possessed by Lovecraftian dark forces,” and by “air dry” we mean “unleashed on the innocent townspeople.”

GIANT 1: “Good, Budleigh! All done bath. Now give us a biiiig shake!”

BUDLEIGH: “I’m freeeeeee! I’m free, I’m free, I’m free! Get out of my way!”

GIANT 2: “Oh shit! Grab him, Dave!”

GIANT 1: “Grab him how? His collar’s in his mouth. That was our deal.”

BUDLEIGH: “I’m on your bed! Look! I’m on your beeeeed! Now I’m running my face on the carpet. I’m a racecar. Vroooooooom!”

GIANT 2: “Dave, he’s going to ruin the throw pillows. He’s out of control.”

GIANT 1: “C’mere, Budleigh! Who wants a cookie?”

BUDLEIGH: “Your cookies won’t help you! Your priests won’t help you. This house in mine!”

BRISBY: “He’s Satan! Burn him! Save yourselves! And the cookies!”

Towel Drying: The Soggier Alternative

Towels have been successfully employed to dry pets, as well as for other functions, since their creation in the late nineteenth century. The brainchild of inventor Jacob “Textiles” Towelie, the cloths were introduced with great fanfare at the 1893 Columbian Exposition as “Doctor Amazo’s Liquid Drinking Absorbmechanical Automata.”

At first accessible only to the wealthy, towels became more commonplace due to advances in manufacturing. By the 1990s most American homes could boast at least one towel.

Prior to then, dogs remained quite moist.

But fortune favors the bold, and soon a plucky American populous turned their towel to their wet dogs until, by the summer of 2013, this nation was buried beneath a pile of damp, dirty rags.

New dog owners think towel drying is simply a matter of draping a cloth over the wet animal, briskly rubbing her flanks, prying the towel from her jaws, grabbing a second towel while clutching a hind leg, rolling her back onto her feet, rolling her back the other way, hoisting her off the first towel and onto the second, massaging your stinging back spasm caused by hoisting her, ignoring the ringing cell phone, avoiding licks, avoiding bites, and finally dumping her onto a third towel, all the while assuring her that she’s a “smart girl” although, probably, she isn’t.

Towel drying is, of course, much trickier than that, so prepare accordingly:

1. Before bathing your pet, stack designated “doggie towels” nearby
2. Also stack nearby every other towel you own
3. Call your neighbors and borrow all their towels. Stack nearby
4. Bathe dog
5. Call back neighbors who didn’t answer. They own dogs and are hoarding stacks.
6. Carefully lift dog from sink or tub, removing excess water by twisting animal comically like a cartoon pooch. Repeat.
7. Call back Steve, the neighbor who borrowed your pruning shears. He owes you a big ol’ stack of towels, son of a bitch!
8. Set dog on floor and stand back while he shakes vigorously. Why did this come as a surprise? Have you not been reading?
9. Check dog’s undercoat for hidden towel stacks.
10. Say, how late is Target open? They sell stacks and stacks of towels!

The floorboards now groaning under a mass of linens, your drenched pup helplessly pinned between towers of cloth, the air choked with cotton lint, it’s time to begin the water extraction process by selecting a favorite dog-cleaning towel. Usually these are the ones that belonged to your ex or were a holiday gift from the company that laid you off. The ideal towel is one that you don’t mind—and even prefer—covered in excrement.

Start by draping a thick, absorbent towel over the wet animal. It should be soft and absorbent enough to soak up surface water, yet large enough so that your dog appears dressed in traditional Bedouin wedding garb.

Briskly but gently dry face and ears while monitoring your pet’s stress level. Some dogs exhibit anxiety if their heads are completely covered by a towel, while others, like Brisby, stand quietly awaiting the Rapture.

Budleigh doesn’t fit into either of these groups, or might if we were able to get a towel around him. This has proved a challenge that requires Giants One and Two to work in tandem like efficient fisherfolk attempting to net a fast-swimming school of herring armed with pocketknives.

GIANT 1: “He’s gonna break left, so get your towel ready. I’ll try to trick him to go right.”

GIANT 2: “He knows all your tricks, Dave. He’s going left.”

GIANT 1: “No, this time I’ll stand here with my towel behind my back and make a sound like the can opener. He’ll come right to me.”

GIANT 2: “You haven’t thought this through.”

BUDLEIGH: “I’ll just be going now!”

GIANT 1: “Really, I saw this on Animal Planet. Only instead of a terrier it was an immense migration of wildebeest. And instead of a can opener it was a raging, uncontained wild fire.

GIANT 2: “Perfect!”

BUDLEIGH: “I’m going that way. So, you know, good luck!”

GIANT 2: “Dave, we’ve got a runner!”

GIANT 1: “RRRrrrrr-RRRrrrr! Grind, grind! rrrrRRR-rrrRRR! Damn! Missed him!”

GIANT 2: “That’s your can opener, Dave? ‘Grind, grind?’”

GIANT 1: “Too nasal?”

BUDLEIGH: “I heard a wildebeest!”

Blow Drying, or Gone with the Wind

Who among us hasn’t washed their face in a public restroom, then groping blindly for the hand dryer, accidentally activated what appears to be the searing hot, thunderously loud exhaust of a Lockheed Martin F-22A fighter jet?

That’s how dogs perceive blow dryers.

Dogs tend to be leery of hair dryers, as they are of anything that requires thumbs. Getting your dog accustomed to loud noise like that produced by a dryer should be done in small stages. For example, monitor how he reacts when you pop open a can of beer. Did he remain calm? If so, drink your beer and think about that. Now move a little closer and pop open another. Still quiet? Hmmm…that’s worth some more thought. Continue this process until you’re tearfully telling your pet that he’s yer’ bes’…yer’ bes’ goddamn frien’ since your ex walked out leaving you with all those towels.

For many dogs, however, it is the dryer’s blowy-hotty functionality that is most distressing. Best to set the dryer on low heat and low blow-outyness, then move it quickly back and forth across the animal’s coat avoiding the face and paws.

Oh, and Brisby would also like to suggest that before you get to him, go right ahead and blow dry all the other dogs everywhere in the world. He’ll wait.

Budleigh, however, absolutely adores the blow dryer and hopes to marry one, pending a favorable ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States. This might be a trait common to terrier mutts. Oxford, our formerly alive terrier thing, would demand to be blow dried even when he wasn’t wet.

Oxford never feared the dryer, possibly because he’d grown so accustomed to it being used on Brisby, who was bathed often. Young Brisby was an easily distracted dog, often following butterflies through whatever patch of filth and muck they flew over. The butterflies thought he was hoot! He paid the price in baths.

Wet Oxford enjoyed a blow dry like an old Russian Jew relishes a good sauna schvitz. He’d sit contentedly in Giant Two’s lap, eyes half-lidded, wiry-haired chest thrust out, and lean into the air stream, sighing, “Such a day, I’ve had. Don’t ask!”

Even when dry, Oxford sought the wind and warmth, urgently nosing ahead of wet Brisby to grab the barber chair.

“Sorry, guy! Big client presentation today,” he’d claim. “Just need a little off the top, then I’m outta here!”

Though not as obsessed as Oxford, Budleigh is not nearly so resigned as Brisby. He sees this activity as a means to an end. The means is the hair dryer; the end is having the world’s entire population committed to making him feel good.

BUDLEIGH: “C’mon, c’mon, c’mon! Plug the thing in the thing! Get to work!”

GIANT 1: “He’s so excited, hon. What a little cutie. OW!”

BUDLEIGH: “That’s your only warning. Don’t talk. Dry!”

GIANT 2: “Did he nip you again, Dave?”

GIANT 1: “A little. Think he’s afraid of the blow dryer? Does he seem anxious?”

GIANT 2: “Maybe we should just hand dry him.”

GIANT 1: “Do we have enough towels? I could call Steve. He has stacks and stacks, that son of a bitch!”

BUDLEIGH: “No, no, no, no! It’s all good! See? I’m on my back doing that funny thing with the paws.”

GIANT 2: “Oh, look at him on his back doing that funny thing with his paws.”

BUDLEIGH: “I’m adorable!”

GIANT 1: “He’s adorable!”

BUDLEIGH: “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”

GIANTS 1 & 2: “ʻThese aren’t the droids we’re looking for.ʼ”

GIANT 1: “Here we go, Budleigh. Gooood Budleigh! Don’t be scared of the big noise.”

BUDLEIGH: “Ahhh…. Feels so good! Sounds like the can opener.”

GIANT 2: “Now we do your tummy. Next, your sides and back. Yeah, that feels so good, doesn’t it?”

BUDLEIGH: “Such a day, I’ve had!”

GIANT 2: “Hon, while I finish him will you get Brisby ready?”

BRISBY: “Look, if you’re not going to towel dry me, I’ll be next door at Steve’s, that son of a bitch!”

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This article is part of “Sleeping Between Giants“, a new series of columns on the Write Good!: The Blog blog.

Sleeping Between Giants explores life – if you can call it that – with a terrier.

Your feedback is welcome, probably. dj

Permission to re-use this material for non-commercial purposes is granted provided that Dave Jaffe, www.writegoodtheblog.com, is appropriately credited as the author and source. Please feel free to link to this page.

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