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Published: Thursday, 2/26/2009

Our 4-legged friend sniffs at canine panel

It was our morning routine.

I brewed coffee, he fetched the newspaper.

Then we settled in beside each other on the couch. I get the first section. He goes for sports.

(Especially the week of the Westminster Kennel Club. Do not get him started on the injustice done at this event by the chronic failure to honor his kind. "Dachshunds," he always gripes, "get dissed again.")

But yesterday, Roscoe reached first for the front page.

(You will agree this is quite a feat for someone who stands no higher than one foot and is without opposable thumbs.)

"Hmm," he said, adjusting his drugstore reading glasses, "check out this headline."

(See? I told you. Roscoe is quite a dog. The glasses make him look professorial.)

"Says here '11 named to dog warden advisory panel: Lucas County officials appoint members from diverse walks of life.' What's up with that?" he asked, lifting a hind leg to scratch behind an ear.

"Oh. That. Turns out we're kinda confused about what a dog warden's supposed to do. Or something. Anyway, it's all explained in this paragraph: "•'Committee blah blah blah officially charged blah blah blah providing county commissioners blah blah blah recommendations for improvements '•"

I glanced at Roscoe as I finished reading about the Dog Warden Advisory Committee - or DWAC, as I'm sure we'll all be calling it soon - and caught his eyelids as they began to flutter. "Hey!" I growled. "Wake up, you worthless hound!"

"Sorry," he said, "bureacracy makes me sleepy."

He gave himself a little shake - you know, the way dogs do sometimes - before asking: "So who came up with this idea?"

"The proverbial concerned citizens," I said, "but Ben Konop was the politician who picked it up and ran with it."

Roscoe, ears perked, cocked his head to one side and adopted that Really Cute Quizzical Look that all the dogs on calendars have. Adorable. Simply adorable.

"C'mon," I added helpfully, "you know Ben - he's one of the county comissioners."

"Ohhhh! That guy! Boy, that guy's all over the place, isn't he?"

"Yes," I agreed, "he does seem to be in the news a lot. He's got a lot of - oh, what's the right word? - ideas. That's it! Yes, lots of ideas."

"Well," said Roscoe, circling three times before nesting into a little semicircle on a sofa cushion, "Ben's young. Young people are like that, you know, just so full of -"

"Ideas," I reiterated, cutting him off swiftly.

(What the AKC never tells you is that dachshunds are prone to foul language. Oh, yes! They swear as much as cats. Maybe more.)

Roscoe yawned. His eyelids started again to flutter lightly.

"So," I said, "I'm off to work and you're just going to sleep on the couch again?"

Meh. We both knew this was a rhetorical question.

"This," he said, sighing deeply, "is my job. This and the squirrels."

I covered him up with a fluffy boucle throw.

"Oh, hey, one last question," said Roscoe. "Do any of these 11 individuals on the Dog Warden Advisory Committee happen to be experts - you know, dogs?"

"Well, no," I stammered, taken aback.

Roscoe snorted.

"That figures," he said.

Roberta de Boer is a columnist for The Blade.

Contact her at:

roberta@theblade.com

or 419-724-6086.



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