17. The Flu Season

Dear Boomer,

The first snows came last night.  This morning I had a wonderful romp across the white sward with that youngster, Thor.  He’s only a little more than a year old, but already he’s my size.  He’s going to be a big German shepherd one of these days.  I enjoy taking him down while I still can.

I was very pleased that I could more than hold my own against a much younger dog today.  But I’m going to have to lay down the law with my Alpha.  He hasn’t taken me out for long runs ever since he broke his foot last summer, and I’m getting out of shape. 

Worse yet, we’ve reached the season where these humanoids come down with the various bugs that afflict them.  They snorfle and sneeze, and carry their boxes of tissue around with them from room to room in the house.

And when the Pup comes down with a bout of the flu, well, I might as well not bother wagging my tail and grinning my dewlap at walkies time.  Alpha stays home with the Pup.  They cuddle up together on the sofa and watch television.  They won’t let me join them. 

When the Pup gets sick they are willing to drop the rule about boys not watching tv in the middle of the day.  I would have hoped they might also consider suspending that rule about dogs not climbing up on the furniture.  But no.

The only way to get Alpha to go to the park is if I can engage the Pup in a romp around the hardwood floor.  That way, I might convince Alpha that the Pup is well enough to go out.

And when we do go, I let them know they can’t take me for granted like this.  I bring my ball, and I let them throw the ball for me.  But when it comes time to bring the ball back, I play hard to get.  In fact, wherever possible, I bring it back to total strangers.

There!  These new people certainly appreciate a handsome and intelligent dog.  They provide the appropriate approving noises.  They express their admiration at my ability to jump the boards of the hockey rink.  They never seem to tire of my attentions.  Sometimes they even get used to picking up a ball soggy with dog slobber.

And when it eventually comes time to head back for the house – with Alpha trying to herd both the Pup and me past all the temptations of puddles to splash in and sticks to throw – I keep hoping that we’ll be back again before long. 

Maybe I could persuade Alpha to take me just to the edge of the park, and then he could return home to minister to a sick Pup.  I’ll be all right on my own.  After all, I have always relied upon the kindness of strangers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Healthy and hearty, but needing more exercise,