Our dog Mollie is a shih-tzu which means “lion dog” in Chinese.  That describes Mollie to a tee if you allow for homonyms.  She’s usually lyin’ around the house, snoring.  That’s okay with us. She’s our old pup and we don’t appreciate uncomplimentary remarks about her.

My friend Al was visiting the other day and saw Mollie curled up under the kitchen table. “She’s quite inert, isn’t she?” he said.  I replied it was time for her afternoon nap, not mentioning she’s usually comatose for three hours.

“My dog Roscoe is a lot more active and he’s very intelligent,” Al boasted.

“Mollie is smart as a whip,” I countered.

“Smart as a whip? She looks like a dust mop you left under the table.”

“I’ll bet you five bucks if I give her three commands she’ll understand and obey each one immediately.”  Just then Mollie began to snore loudly and Al said, “You’re on.”

It took a while to wake up Mollie, but I waved a treat under her nose and she became semi-lively. “Okay, here’s command number one:  Mollie, don’t bark!” (Mollie hadn’t barked since that time two months previously when I accidentally shut her in the hall closet.  She’s against barking. She considers it unladylike.) She obeyed my command.

“Wait a minute!” Al protested.

“That was a legitimate command and Mollie obeyed. Here’s command number two: Mollie don’t stand up and beg. (Mollie begs all the time, but she never caught on to standing on her hind legs which calls for too much athleticism.  She obeyed again.)

By then Al was getting a little profane so I quickly gave the third command: “Mollie, don’t roll over!” (I was taking a real chance here. Mollie sometimes falls asleep suddenly or she might have an urgent need for a belly rub, so I held a treat high above her nose and kept her upright.)

I won five dollars which I spent on Pup-Peroni treats and temporarily lost a pal, but I’m sure Al’s already planning to recoup down at the Senior Center. I heard he’s teaching Roscoe how  to respond inertly to negative commands.












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