“Mom, Opie’s got a sock !” Yells a young male voice. Sure enough, Opie has someone’s white gym sock. He’s trotting down the hall, tail up and head up with his prize. He plunks down on his fleece bed and begins chewing on the sock.
“Opie, Give!” He lifts his head up and I snatch the now soggy sock out from between his paws. Hmm, it has a red design on the tip and a little “M” for medium on the bottom. This is Michael’s sock. This of course is not the first time that Opie has absconded with somebody’s sock. Opie loves socks and he seems to be able to find them anywhere. You know that mysterious orphan sock that always shows up in the laundry? Opie has managed to find its mate.
I look at him sternly, but he looks back at me with such doggy innocence. I can’t be irritated.
The next evening we are all sitting on the sofa watching Michael and Gregory’s favorite program, “Deadliest Warrior”. I hear the comforting sound of Opie gnawing happily on his elk antler. He’s under the glass top coffee table in front of us. He’s really going at it. Watching the Navy Seals beat the Russian Spetnaz, makes me thirsty so I get up to get a diet soda from the fridge. As I walk into the kitchen, I see Opies’ elk antler sitting next to his water bowl. “That’s interesting, ” I think. I return to the sofa. Opie is still under the coffee table. Through the glass top I can see his furry doggy butt jiggling as he savages the antler. Wait a minute! The antler is on the kitchen floor near his water bowl. I look up at Opie’s “treat basket”. We try to keep control of his toys so that he never develops any kind of possessiveness about them. I can see Opie’s hedgehog, his squeaky bone, his squeaky tennis ball, his tug of war rope and his big red ball. What is he chewing on? His doggy behind is blocking my view.
“Gregory, can you see what the dog is chewing on?” I interrupt my 12- year- old who is holding forth on the better quality of one automatic Navy Seal Fire arm over the Russian’s machine gun. He ducks down, grins at me and says,” He’s chewing on your brown sandal, Mom!”
“Opie Give!” Opie looks around at me, and Gregory yanks my now ravaged sandal out from between his paws. He holds the wet and slightly ragged sandal by two fingers. Now, you’d expect me to be a little annoyed now, but I’m not. Gregory is grinning and Dad pretending that he’s not snickering. Michael is still glued to the “Deadliest Warrior” program. They seem to be blowing something up on the show. Explosions beat chewed up sandals every time.
Now, those sandals were cute, but over time, they seemed to make my bad knee hurt. I’d been thinking about throwing them out anyway. “Opie, no shoes… Naughty!” I say in my firmest voice. I know that he has no inkling of what I’m talking about. I’m not too sure about how to break him of this habit. I do have shoes that I like. Luckily, most of them are tucked away in the closet. He has not shown any predilection for my every day tennis shoes. He has fallen asleep with his nose lodged inside one, but there’s been no sign of doggy drool or teeth marks on the white rubber. I contemplate my ragged sandals. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to buy myself some new sandals. No trace of annoyance now. I get to shoe shop! Oh and by the way the U.S. Navy Seals beat the Russians! A great evening all around!
A couple of days later we were sitting around the dinner table eating our lunch. Opie had been walked and fed and was waking up from his nap as we were chowing down on Subways sandwiches. He looked at us, stretched and trotted out of the room. He returned with a rubber pirate sword double his length clutched between his teeth.
“Arrgh, Matie! It’s a Pirate Dog I be, Captain Opie Valtierra or White beard ye may call me!” He struts into the room. I think I hear the sea chantey from “Pirates of the Caribbean” as makes his way to his bed.
I give up. We all give up. There’s no punishment or sternness in anyone’s voice. We’re all laughing now. Gregory has his head in his hands he’s laughing so hard he can’t catch his breath. Michael has started to snort. And Dad, he’s trying not to choke on his sandwich. Opie looks at us and with sword still clutched between his teeth tilts is head to the side. There’s no doubt that our behavior is puzzling to him. He drops “his” sword on his bed and comes over to the table to see what in the world our problem is. Jumping up with his paws on my knee, he seems to say, “What’s going on? Are you guys alright?”
I rub behind his ears. He licks my hand. I scratch his back. He plops down and rolls over for his belly rub! A giggling Michael retrieves the toy sword!
Has Opie learned his lesson? Yes, and this is what it is. Bring in funny things from the boys’ room and get a belly rub from Mama.
Oh well! Cesar Milan, I ain’t!