Monday, December 17, 2007

Buddy tries to BE the Christmas Tree

I have two dogs, Buddy the Troll and Pippin the Giant Hairball. They both have their issues: Pippin got a warning last month from the Animal Control Department for terrorizing the elderly neighbor with his midnight barking. Well, actually it's not really midnight, it's more like 8pm, since our elderly neighbor has lights out at about 6pm, and hates to have her beauty sleep interrupted when Pip barks at the evil cat who lives next to the evil, er elderly, neighbor. Anyway, his bark is loud and annoying, so I bought a no-bark collar and so far the Animal Control people are mollified. Soulmate is devastated about the collar.

Buddy's handicap, on the other hand, is lack of intelligence. I don't mean that he is short on intelligence, I mean he has none. His previous owner, a good friend of mine, called him "number 76" after reading a listing of doggy intelligence by breed. I think German Shepherd was number 1, along with Border Collie or something like that. ShihTzu as a breed was 76th (probably out of 76 breeds, I'm not sure). Our nickname is "the Troll."

Today was another proof of his complete lack of cerebral function. We put up the Christmas tree 3 weeks ago, and Soulmate was delighted to see Buddy "pet" himself by rubbing against the lower branches. Never mind that ornaments routinely hit the floor, he was just so cute. All that vacuous cuteness came back to roost this afternoon.

I got a call from Marcus, one of the students living with us this semester, who heard Buddy barking (actually he was croaking, literally). He went into the living room and the noise got louder. He looked under the tree, and there was Buddy, hopelessly stuck in the tree with a string of lights tightly wound around his neck. Marcus had to unplug the lights and cut the wires to extricate him. Seconds later, the tree is dark and Buddy is looking for supper.

It's not clear whether he has suffered an anoxic brain injury, and I doubt if we'll ever know. Anoxic brain injury is usually diagnosed by noting a decrease in cerebral function after the event, but since Buddy has never really exibited any discernable cerebral function in the past, we can't really tell any difference.

Soulmate frequently tells me how smart she thinks Pippin is, to which I usually reply, "he's pretty smart for a dog, but that really isn't saying much." Even Soulmate, with all her anthropomorphizing optimism, can't invent intelligence for a Troll.


Jeffro said...

It seems as thought the dogs that are "short" are more fun, the smart ones you really have to watch.

Doc said...

I don't know about having to watch the smart ones, because I've never owned one. My brother-in-law owns a Border Collie who is pretty smart (for a dog) but who is pretty neurotic.

Maybe that's the trade-off: dumb or neurotic. Good thing we don't own dogs for their smarts (and maybe that's why they tolerate us!).