One-dog wrecking crew gains new focus

One-dog wrecking crew gains new focus

One need not go through any vexing mathematical gyrations to calculate the subject to which I’ve devoted the largest proportion of my column space in recent months. Since the beginning of October when we sprung him from the pet pokey, our dog, Frankie, has provided a constant stream of material.

Perhaps understandably, our human children are jealous. They love to besmirch their adopted brother with broad claims about his intelligence — more specifically, his lack thereof — along with what they’ve identified as a “complete lack of agility.”

They are dead wrong about the former — Frankie could probably work for NASA if not for the gaping hole in his background left by weeks of sleeping under bridges and drinking from puddles. (He also has a penchant for crime. At the moment of this writing he is in timeout for chewing the strap of one of my stupidly expensive Italian cycling shoes — his second such offense.)

The agility thing though? Well, I’ll concede they’ve got something there.

We’ve all seen the amazing work of shepherd breeds, skillfully nipping at hoofs, deftly dividing flocks and dancing across broad pastures at breakneck speed. Despite a genetic heritage heavy on herding, Frankie has none of that. This dog couldn’t cut a biscuit from a plate full of green beans much less a lamb from its 180-pound momma. There is no grace here. Frankie seems entirely unaware of both the proportions of his own body and the mass with which that body moves through space. He runs into, over and through things like a fur-covered bulldozer.

During the past week, Frankie’s inherent clumsiness has been amplified to the comic extreme by the cone he was fitted with after his neuter surgery. It’s as if his 1-foot-wide body has been fitted with a 2-foot-wide blade. Lamps, tablecloths, houseplants and small children — all lay strewn in the path of his destruction. He takes no prisoners, and he doesn’t look back.

Surprisingly, the mutt seems to be entirely unencumbered by the new accessory. (Our kids have offered: “He’s so dumb he doesn’t even know he’s wearing a cone.”)

Indeed, he seems to have learned to use the device to his advantage as he completely covers his food bowl like one of those giant vacuums the street department uses to suck up leaves in the fall. Not a nugget escapes his grasp.

The hound dog share of Frankie’s bloodline loves the focus the cone provides as every available smell on the ground is mainlined right to his nose. Furthermore, the device provides cover for deviant acts — the chewing of my shoe for instance — and can give the dog the single moment he needs to get the job done. It was under cover of the cone that he scraped the flattened hide of a squirrel off the ground in mid-stride while Kristin was walking him the other day. The screams could be heard for miles.

Alas, the pup’s surgical wounds will heal, the cone will be retired to the archive of family memory and Frankie will proceed on through life as if nothing happened. Our children will suggest, of course, that he won’t even notice the cone is gone. It’s tough being the family favorite.

Kristin and John Lorson would love to hear from you. Write Drawing Laughter, P.O. Box 170, Fredericksburg, OH 44627, or email John at

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