Fanfare for the Common Man: A hero’s welcome

  • Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Every so often YouTube runs videos of pets and their owners reuniting after a long time apart. Lately it’s showing dogs’ reactions to seeing their best friends returning home from active duty and being so happy they cannot contain themselves.
I love these. They get me right where I live. I’m about ready to add Dog Homecomings to the list of things that make me cry.
But they also got me to thinking, why can’t I enjoy one of these? Why can’t my dog give me a hero’s welcome home?
Well, I can, and she does. Every time I see her.
I can be gone 20 minutes to the store and when I come back, the complete surprise on her face, “Holy cow! It’s YOU! You’re here! Let’s run and eat puppy treats!”
This is Bailey, my Chihuahua, my Rat on Crack, the dog who defines what it means to run Willy Nilly.
I walk in the backdoor, she sees me, and goes nuts. She goes nuts because she knows for the next several days she will get all the puppy treats she can eat. I bring a couple of bags with me every time I visit.
Recent studies indicate a dog can consume three times its body weight in puppy treats. A dog stomach, however, has the physical capacity to hold one-and-a-half times its body weight. You do the math.
As I’m sitting in my chair enjoying a manic round of puppy kisses, I look over at my cats, Sweet Pea and Tiggy, and I regard their expression. “Oh, it’s you.”
Their indifference borders on disdain. “Didn’t I just see you last month?”
I look at my cats and I wonder what they’re thinking … nothing good if I’m judging by their expressions. My animals sound no different.
“Opposable thumbs,” is what my cat says to me. “If I only had opposable thumbs, you'd be drinking gummy water out of a bowl on the floor and I’d be seated at the table. Curse these paws anyway. Opposable thumbs... my kingdom for opposable thumbs!”
You’ve read the “Cat Diary” excerpts online over the years… With apologies to those, my cat also regards me as her jailer.
“Prisoner's Log, day 1,027:  The torture continues. They leave me for hours in solitary confinement with this vile animal that drinks out of the toilet and will eat anything you put in front of it. She is a cretinous creature. Her mere presence offends me. Therefore, I shall spend the day asleep on the black couch where I can leave ample amounts of white fur behind dreaming of ways to enact her demise. Then I will scratch up the drapes as a formal sign of protest to the gruel they continue to feed me. Horrific conditions, indeed! I am eating off the floor. A Geneva Convention violation, I’m sure! I believe a hunger strike is in order and until better conditions are forthcoming I will regard my food with typical indifference and disdain. I have organized a formal protest where I will sleep on the pizza box. (See photo) If I can't have three meat sausage, ham, and pepperoni pizza, NOBODY eats three meat sausage, ham, and pepperoni pizza.”
All this I get from my cat’s mournful side-glance.
So I look at Bailey, my best friend, who regards me with hopeful adulation that warms my heart. And what’s going through her mind? The Beggin’ Strips commercial, as if she watches TV.
A hero’s welcome, if I were a side of pork, maybe.

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