I’ve been house-sitting for a friend in remote Michigan (no, he’s NOT militia), and part of the job requires me to care for Lucky, a four year old Pomeranian.  Dogs and I go way back.  When I was twelve I became Animal Man complete with costume, chopped out bicycle and a baseball bat.  Dogs saw me coming and said to one another, “Howl for our Hero!”  Now my costume sits collecting dust in the back of the closet. I’m currently the spiritual Master of all horses.  I know, it looks like a down-grade, but I just call it species specific specialization, or Sss for short.  Anyway, I’ve still got this good karma thing going on with dogs, so Lucky and I hit it off famously from day one.

Ok, when I met Lucky he was practically an obedience school alumnus.  All 6.2 ounces of him sat looking up at me plaintively and patiently waiting at my feet until I patted what is left of my lap and he hopped up, fairly shivering with anticipation and I am sure fear. 
Within the hour I had him on his back wrestling with my fingers and playing tug-of-war with one of my socks.  I spoiled him absolutely rotten, let me just state that for the record. Now he hangs off the arm of the couch with his tongue lolling or whatever it is a dog’s tongue does, playing Modern Warfare all day, not listening to a word I say.  My kinda dog.  I almost had a spiritual epiphany watching Lucky’s first experience with pepperoni.  He is now a pepperoni whore.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am grateful beyond expression for my host’s kindness and trust, but my GOD I couldn’t sit there all day staring at it staring at me from across the room like a mirror, watching him eat food so small I can’t even see it and then letting him out twice a day so he can water and fertilize a hedge like some kind of waste machine and then back inside to stare at me stare at him.  No.  I went out and got a nasty, slimy tree branch that he can carry around the house whenever he wants, I cut off a piece of rope that he is currently turning into lint, and, oh my, the BALLS!  I have video proof an animal can become addicted to an object.  He had ping pong balls surgically implanted in his chest. Now he looks like the cross between a gremlin and Dolly Parton.  I’m afraid if I put a pepperoni on one plate and a miniature tennis ball on another,  Lucky’s little head would explode.  You can say anything you like about Lucky, he’s cool.  I let him lick a popsicle once; his jaw quivered for half an hour.

But here’s the most intriguing thing about Lucky: the floors throughout the house are tile.  Not a scrap of carpet.  I sit here and watch him get around like a drunken baby on ice, his toothpicky legs working overtime trying to change his momentum.  No wonder he always wants to go outside.  At least outside all he has to worry about is flying off the planet.  The first time I tossed him a ball his excitement was almost overwhelming.   He dropped it, of course (rookies) and it rolled across the room.  He waiting until the ball stopped and then causally tip-toed over to it and gingerly retrieved it, like some virginal debutante picking up a dropped dance card.  It took me awhile to realize Lucky was traction-challenged, but once the full realization of his plight sunk in, I went directly out and got him a tiny set of inline skates.  Unfortunately, as soon as I strap the cute little things on, Lucky loses all motivation to do anything but lay there and bark.  You can’t blame me for trying.

My host will be back in a couple of months to reclaim his
  home and living dust mop – well, that’s not entirely accurate. 
I shaved Lucky from his neck to his tail.  He now looks like a miniature lion (on
skates!).  But when that moment
comes to hand over the keys and bid my friend adieu, Lucky better have learned
his most important trick: When in doubt, remember that hiding place under the
refrigerator with the secret door to pepperoni.

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