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by: John Arrington

The aroma of fresh baked apple pie yanked my head around like a Halti collar stops a charging Lab. I coulda' got whiplash. Next thing I know we're headed for home with a hot pie Mrs. Appleseed could be proud of. Chamois, my yellow Labrador Retriever, was droolin' all over the car seat. My mouth was watering too. We were out all morning in the rain and wind. A big bowl of chili, warm corn tortillas, and a huge hunk of pie were exactly what my cold, hungry body craved.

After lunch, I put the pie plate on the floor for Chamois to lick and settled in to watch the NASCAR race on TV. Jeff Gordon was leading. I'm a big Jeff fan. About an hour later I sensed Chamois was not in her favorite place beside my chair. Ohmigod, she got out, was my first panicky thought. I found her sitting in front of the pie plate giving me just about the dirtiest look a Lab can give a human. Two long threads of drool extended from the corners of her mouth to a slimy puddle big enough to float my neighbor's duck boat. The pie plate was as yet unlicked.

I'm sorry, but stifling my roar of laughter was just not feasible. I slumped to the floor and laughed 'til my sides ached. Chamois didn't move an inch. She just drooled and gave me dirty looks. No matter how hard I laughed she remained solid as a rock. I did not wet myself, but it was a near thing! Only the timely application of manual pressure prevented a pants wetting catastrophe

What's so funny about a drooling dog? I'll explain.

I once read a dog-training book written by some Monk guys. The Monks are big on the idea that dogs should be religious too. They teach us that religion is instilled in dogs by enforcing a sit command for a while before the dog eats. This "quiet period" allows the dog time to meditate and give thanks to the AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officials) for the complete and balanced nutrition it is about to receive.

Or was the waiting period, one of those leader of the pack Alpha dog deals? I don't remember for sure.

Whatever! Chamois has to wait until I say, "OK," before she eats. So she'd sat there for over an hour waiting for me to say, "OK." Unfortunately, I was laughing too hard to say it. I'd squeak out maybe half of a syllable of "O" and she'd shift her eyes to me and then immediately back to the pie plate. Her brow would wrinkle and she'd twitch her tail a couple of times and then look back at me. That would cause still more fits of irrepressible laughter. I swear I nearly passed out from oxygen debt. Eventually I was just too tired to laugh any more. It must have taken a minute or more before I could gasp out, "Ok," and Chamois could finally lick the plate clean.

For obedience above and beyond the call of duty, Chamois got a big bite of Tillamook Cheddar and a sliver of pie. For dereliction of duty and unforgivable delay with the release command, I was summarily demoted from Alpha to Dufus dog.



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