The Secret Life of Dogs

I’ve heard that bees have a secret life; so it makes sense that birds and butterflies do, too. It never occurred to me, however, that dogs might have a hidden agenda. That is, until the day the cable guy was supposed to come over. He was scheduled to arrive sometime between 8 and 10 a.m., that unearthly time when I am still struggling to be coherent. At 7:30 I was going to dash out for a breakfast burrito and my preferred shot of adrenaline in a glass: Diet Coke. A pat on the head and a biscuit for each of my German shepherds, a quick swivel on the heels and I was ready to head out the door. That was when I noticed something—a bag of garbage in the kitchen. Memories of garbage strewn throughout the house suddenly danced in my head. Trust me; it’s nothing like the dance of the sugar plum fairies. It’s more like the slow motion dance of scary clowns at the circus.

Never leave an unattended bag of garbage in the presence of guard dogs.

Okay, I’ve learned my lesson. The hard way. So I grab said bag of garbage, smile at my thwarted pups, then head out for the much needed food. I’ve got an appointment with television history. We’re getting TiVo; we’re finally moving into the 21st century. Meanwhile, my Mazda lumbers out onto the street; the gas meter dangerously low. Somehow both car and driver survive. I even get back home with 10 minutes to spare.

I unlock the front door.

I know immediately that something is wrong. Even bandits wouldn’t have been this obvious. A loaf of French bread is strewn all over the living room. One of my jackets is on the kitchen floor. Another bag of garbage (how did I miss that one?) is scattered throughout the bedroom.

But there is a pièce de résistance—there always is with dogs. Maybe they thought I was going to work and wouldn’t be home for hours. Maybe they have called all of their canine friends and in a few minutes my house will be filled with wagging tails and big toothy grins—

The stereo is on and they are listening to Cold Play.

I pause for a fraction of second. Could someone—a human someone—be in my house? Then I remember Dog Number One. He has serious issues with strangers. If there actually was an intruder in the house that dog would be hiding behind Daddy’s Big Chair and he would have peed on the floor. But neither Dog Number One nor Dog Number Two are barking. No. In fact they both look slightly guilty. They’ve got that “oops” look on their faces: ears down, tails wagging; it’s the old remember-how-cute-I-was-when-I-was-a-puppy ploy.

That routine gets me every time.

I start cleaning up the mess. Can’t have Mr. Cable Guy think I’m a slob. Pick up the bread, the jacket, the papers in the bedroom. But again I pause, this time in front of the stereo. Who in their right mind can turn off Cold Play?

At least my dogs have good taste in music.

We all have a secret life full of dreams and ambitions that may or may not ever be realized. Maybe yours involves refinishing your living room floor or stenciling your daughter’s bedroom. Maybe you long to make a stained glass window or transform your backyard into a cottage garden. Maybe, like me, you have a secret desire to be a novelist and spend countless hours penning stories that may never be published.

Whatever your secret dream is, I hope that the people you care about will be supportive when the living room is covered with sawdust much longer than you anticipated. And I hope they will join in the dance when you unexpectedly bump the stereo.

After all, who in their right mind can turn off Cold Play?


Selena said...

Love it!


Merrie Destefano said...

Thanks for dropping in, Selena!