The Obedience School instructor said, "Get rid of those fleas."
| A Writer's Cramp Story: And the prompt was: Your dog's first day of obedience school is a disaster when the instructor discovers fleas on your dog and gives you an ultimatum... Get rid of the fleas or else.
Obedience School vs. Fleas
I despise prejudice in any form, and when I took my dog to obedience school, that darned instructor criticized the fleas on my dog. Can you imagine that? My dog’s fleas always stay close to him. They’re his best friends. I tried to explain that to the instructor, but he just wouldn’t listen.
Rover was dreadfully sad when I told him that his friends would have to move. He moaned and cried and hid his tail between his legs. He wouldn’t watch his favorite dog movie, “The Ugly Dachshund.”
So the next week, when it was time for class, I stood up to that instructor, and I told him what is what, right in front of the other dog owners.
“What gives you the right to tell a dog which friends to have and which to get rid of?" I asked. "Isn’t that prejudice? Isn’t that bigotry? Have you ever met a flea? Have you ever gotten down on your hands and knees and seen what it’s like to be a flea?"
The instructor wasn’t a very nice man. He pointed his finger toward the exit and ordered us out of the class. All those German shepherd and Collie lovers clapped their hands. The Doberman’s owner whistled through his fingers. The Poodle “mommies” did a cheer leading routine,
“Down with fleas,
down with fleas,
Send all fleas to Tennessee!
I almost cried, I was so embarassed. That very day, I sent Harry and Chris, Rover’s best friends, down to the pet store to find themselves a new home.
“Well, maybe it’s for the best,” I told Rover. “You know how those guys do make you itchy some times.”
Rover woofed in disagreement. His ears dragged on the floor. I could he tell he was mighty upset. I popped in the video, “Lassie Come Home”. Not a perk of an ear. I put on “Rin Tin Tin.” Rover hid his head under the throw rug.
“All right, Rover, this has got to cheer you up.” I put in his favorite video, the one about the dog commercials. I’d taped that over the years and I kept adding to it. Rover normally chased his tail around and around, getting all excited when he saw the Alpo dogs chasing the miniature stagecoach. This time, he just whined and put his paws over his ears.
When I fixed his dinner, Rover refused to eat. I even put a piece of steak on the top. He walked off and lay on the floor staring sadly at me.
That went on all evening. The stare. The whine. The stare. The whine.
Finally, I got out his leash. I whistled. He crept over to me, like a dog invited into the bathtub, his tail wrapped between his legs, his stomach only inches above the flooring, his backbone a dish for ice cream.
I had to do something. I couldn’t stand it.
“All right,” I said. “Let’s go to the pet store and get your friends back.”
Rover stood up on his hindquarters and licked my arm. He jumped up into the air and kissed my cheek slurpily.
“Okay, okay,” I said.
Chris and Harry were delighted to see us. They’d hopped onto an intellectual snoozer whose nose was higher than his brain.
“Boy, are we glad to see you,” they said, jumping back onto Rover. “That guy has the imagination of a zit.”
Rover reached back and licked a spot on his coat. I guess the fleas needed to go for a swim. I didn’t ask. I drove back home.
The moment we got back inside, Rover rushed to his dish. He finished up the steak, lapped up the dog food, and slurped water all over the floor. Then he went scooting into the den and sat there waiting for me to turn on the TV. I started the video, and the three of them settled right in, Rover doing circles, trying to catch his tail, and Chris and Harry, challenging me to a game of Chess, which as usual, they won.
Who needs Obedience School, anyway? The four of us are doing just fine without it.