There’s one member of our household who does not pull his weight around here, even though that’s only 24 pounds.
I’m talking about Buddy the Wonder Dog, our long-haired Jack Russell terrier.
He hasn’t done a single chore since we brought him home from the pound four years ago.
Well, I take that back. He is very good at cleaning up the kitchen floor if I drop a piece of chicken on it. But other than that, not a one.
I’ve had earnest discussions with him over this point. I’ve even demonstrated to him some of the ways he could help out around here.
For example, he could increase security by barking at strangers who come into the yard.
He completely ignores any human being who comes near our house, except to try to lick them to death if they come inside the door.
I shouldn’t really tell you this, in case you’re a burglar, but the only things that our so-called “watchdog” actually watches are dogs, cats and other furry creatures.
This came to mind a few days ago, when he barked for nine hours and 27 minutes at an opossum the size of a Range Rover in our back yard.
He then got into a hissing, yelping spat with the creature, requiring me to get out of bed and hose them off to break them up.
I couldn’t help noting that, earlier that day, our yard had been full of strangers, none of whom he barked at even for a millisecond.
As I sat in the vet’s office, making sure the opossum hadn’t bitten him (answer: no but it still cost me $70 because everything always does), it reminded me that I really do need to find a way to get that dog to pay for himself.
Buddy looks identical to that performing pooch from the movie, “The Artist.” And also similar to Eddie, the dog from Frasier. Even if I don’t want to send him to canine acting school, maybe he could get a job in Vegas as a celebrity impersonator. What do you think?
If he can root around in the trash and find every meat scrap dumped there, why can’t he find some of the socks, scissors, forks and spoons that are always missing around this house?
I’d be willing to pay him a finder’s fee.
Trying to identify other skills we could tap, I can’t help remembering a period when he was using a rubber pool on the side of our house as a trampoline, and catapulting himself into the neighbors’ yard to make a prison break from our yard. These are neighbors who dislike us, so it was particularly vexing that we couldn’t figure out how he kept getting into their yard, until we spied on him and caught him doing it.
I’ve been wracking my brain trying to think of a way to monetize his superior jumping skills, but other than selling him to the circus, nothing immediately comes to mind.
Jack Russell Terriers were bred in England as fox hunting dogs by a guy named…wait for it….Jack Russell.
Their job was to find the fox and corner it in the den, without harming it, and just bark at it unceasingly until the hunter rode up and took over. Since we have a well-publicized shortage of foxes in our neighborhood, this isn’t terribly useful to me.
Buddy’s other skills include annoying people at the dog park by humping their large dogs, due to what appears to be a canine Napolean complex, devising 87 ways to get out of our fence and running fast. The only one of those that’s been useful is the running.
My kids will actually put a halter on him and let him pull them on their scooters and skateboards. More than one driver has nearly crashed watching Buddy the Wonder Dog pulling a kid down the street. We like this because it’s the only thing that gets this dog tired.
Maybe I can build some kind of dog cart and sell rides. That way, he’s not only pulling his weight, but someone else’s.
Then I can use the money to pay the vet for the next time he finds that opossum.
Marla Jo Fisher was a workaholic before she adopted two foster kids several years ago. Now she juggles work and single parenting, while being exhorted from everywhere to be thinner, smarter, sexier, healthier, more frugal, a better mom, better dressed and a tidier housekeeper. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read her blog at http://themomblog.freedomblogging.com/category/frumpy-middleaged-mom-marla-jo-fisher/.
By MARLA JO FISHER