Wisdom Through Humor
Lessons in Paradise

by Slo Mo


What did I learn today when I brought home my new dog, Star? Well...

47. I learned that it's a good idea to make certain preparations before you bring home a new dog.

46. Like buy all of its toys and food and leashes and stuff in advance.

45. And study some training videos.

44. And explain to your current dog that there will be a new canine presence in the house.

43. And put a moat and a watch-tower and some electric barbed-wire fencing around the perimeter of your property, and take out ads in all the local media to give your neighbors fair warning to lock their doors and hide their loved ones.

42. None of which I thought to do before this a.m.

41. Which explains why, en route home from the animal hospital, I needed to stop at the pet supply store to get some things for Star.

40. And did you know that it's illegal in Florida to leave a dog alone in a parked car?

39. Yup, it is.

38. So I had to take Star into the store with me...

37. ... Forgetting that she'd been a stray, and was accustomed to scrounging for her survival.

36. Which explains why she took one look at the merchandise and thought she'd hit pay dirt.

35. And also why, three minutes later, the sales staff had run for their lives and the entire contents of aisle three were spilled all over the floor as Star gulped down sixty pounds of kibble and beef jerky faster than a Hoover can suck dirt.

34. Sixty pounds being twice her own body weight...

33. So, not half an hour after Star had been released from the animal hospital, we were speeding right back to get her stomach pumped.

32. Which was pretty embarrassing, considering that I work there.

31. But which was not half as embarrassing as the fact that, after Star's stomach had been pumped and we were pulling out of the parking lot, she jumped from the convertible to chase a bird.

30. Thus causing me to realize the wisdom of learning a bit about dog training before you actually get your own dog.

29. Because it occurred to me that she didn't know her name, and I had no idea how to make her come back to me.

28. So thank god for that retired rodeo clown with the whistle and the lariat!

27. Because when she tore past his motorcycle chasing after that bird, he jumped off his bike, lassoed her, flipped her down, hog-tied her and carried her back to the car, before I even had time to get my seatbelt off.

26. Which he assured me is a pretty average pace for roping steer. But which I think must be a world record for dog wrasslin'.

25. And it occurs to me now that I should have just left Star hog-tied for the rest of the day.

24. That might have helped ease her introduction to Dog, who was sleeping when Star and I finally got to my cousin's house, and who didn't take kindly to being rudely awakened by a strange animal jumping over the furniture and grabbing his favorite chew toy.

23. Which is when I realized that I should have reminded him that today I'd be bringing home the little stray we'd rescued together at Xmas.

22. Because Dog doesn't have a very good memory for anything other than rawhide. And he sure didn't seem to recognize Star.

21. And he SURE didn't seem to think there should be a strange animal in his house.

20. Which was right about the time I started wishing I'd brought the rodeo clown home with me, because now I had two crazed dogs chasing each other through my cousin's house, and no lasso to rope them with.

19. And I ain't no wrassler.

18. So I asked myself what the Three Stooges would do in this situation, because if anyone understands how to deal with mayhem, it's the Three Stooges.

17. Which explains why, when the doggie convoy headed my way, I opened the patio door for Star to run through, then shut it again real quick before Dog could follow her.

16. Thinking that she could cool her heels out in the garden while I helped Dog collect his wits in here.

15. Because my cousin has a six foot wall around her garden.

14. So it should've been safe to leave Star out there by herself for a few minutes.

13. Right?

12. WRONG.

11. Because as I was patting Dog and talking to him in soothing tones about how Star needs a home and how nice it will be for him to have her as a playmate around the house, I heard a bunch of screaming over in the neighbors' yard and then children crying and then my friend Joolz yelling something about the karmic beauty of the natural food chain.

10. And if there's anything I've learned since I started house-sitting for my cousin, it's that when the neighbors are screaming and children are crying and Joolz is talking about karma, nothing good can come out of it.

9. So I went out onto the front lawn to see what the hell was happening, and there's Mrs. Bollock chasing Star down the driveway with a meat cleaver, and Joolz trying to intervene.

8. Except Star looked kind of different.

7. Sort of... Bloody. And wearing an angora sweater.

6. Which couldn't be right.

5. Then I looked over at the Bollocks' side gate, which was open, and saw their two young nieces standing next to the bunny hutch, balling their eyes out.

4. The same bunny hutch which, up until this afternoon, had housed the Bollock's $600 angora rabbit. Make that their $600 BELOVED angora rabbit which they treasured more than anything else in this world and which, ironically, was also named Star.

3. Uh-oh.

2. And this is how I came to be standing on my cousin's front lawn this sunny Florida afternoon in our high-class beachfront neighborhood, screaming obscenities as I blasted Mrs. Bollock with the high-power garden hose while Joolz tackled Star and Joolz's fiancé tackled Mrs. Bollock and blood and angora flew everywhere and innocent children wailed in terror.

1. Which proves that not only should I have bought pet supplies in advance and studied some training videos and warned the neighbors and built a moat, I should have filled that moat with alligators. Not just to keep Star in. To keep Mrs. Bollocks' lawyers out.



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