Dick Platt

Dick Platt is a Daily Sun columnist.

Some dear friends in Florida sent me these “commandments” which are told from the pet’s perspective on animal intelligence and bonding with humans. It reminds us they can’t do many things for themselves and they depend on us as responsible pet owners for their quality of life. The author of the commandments is unknown but the comments inserted are doodles from Dickie.

I. MY LIFE IS LIKELY TO LAST 10-15 YEARS. ANY SEPARATION FROM YOU IS LIKELY TO BE PAINFUL.

In 1998, we adopted “Little Orphan Annie” from the dumb friends league and we have all been inseparable ever since. This refugee from the animal shelter runs our world and, when we do leave for a few days, we have babysitting neighbors that see to her every need. Annie is proof that dogs have owners while cats have staff.

II. GIVE ME TIME TO UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU WANT OF ME.

My dogs never did understand why I made them go in the back yard to do their business and then I went out, bagged it up, and brought it back into the house.

III. PLACE YOUR TRUST IN ME. IT IS CRUCIAL FOR MY WELL–BEING.

Dogs and cats are wonderful companions for children and they teach the kids fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down.

IV. DON’T BE ANGRY WITH ME FOR LONG AND DON’T LOCK ME UP AS PUNISHMENT. YOU HAVE YOUR WORK, YOUR FRIENDS, YOUR ENTERTAINMENT, BUT I HAVE ONLY YOU.

Whenever Butch would have an accident, my wife would drag the poor critter by the scruff to the accident scene and say, “Butch, did you do that?” What I really resented was when the poor animal didn’t answer, she asked me next.

V. TALK TO ME. EVEN IF I DON’T UNDERSTAND YOUR WORDS, I DO UNDERSTAND YOUR VOICE WHEN SPEAKING TO ME.

A guy pulls up in front of the 7-11 with his golden retriever in the front seat. He’s only going in for a six-pack and a lottery ticket, so he rolls the windows down and tells the dog to stay. Half way to the door, he turns, points his finger back at the truck and says very firmly, “Stay! Don’t you dare move. Stay!” A blonde standing at the door observed this and said, “Why don’t you just put it in park?”

VI. BE AWARE THAT HOWEVER YOU TREAT ME, I WILL NEVER FORGET IT.

I had one dog (squirrelly old Butch) that never forgave me for putting contact lenses in his eyes with pictures of Garfield on them. They drove him nuts!

VII. BEFORE YOU HIT ME, BEFORE YOU STRIKE ME, REMEMBER THAT I COULD HURT YOU, AND YET, I CHOOSE NOT TO BITE YOU.

Rodney Dangerfield never got any respect. As a child, he could never play in the sandbox out back because the cat kept covering him up. When his dog barked at the front door, he didn’t want to go out — he wanted Rodney to leave. His dog’s favorite bone was in his arm!

VIII. BEFORE YOU SCOLD ME FOR BEING LAZY OR UNCOOPERATIVE, ASK YOURSELF IF SOMETHING MIGHT BE BOTHERING ME. PERHAPS I’M NOT GETTING THE RIGHT FOOD, I HAVE BEEN IN THE SUN TOO LONG, OR MY HEART MIGHT BE GETTING OLD OR WEAK.

It is really hard to figure out what is bothering your pet although my wife swears she knows what our cat is thinking. She constantly analyzes her behavior, eating, drinking, and sleeping patterns, and her kitty litter production. I once took Annie in to the vet for a checkup and, after the doctor checked her out, he brought out a Labrador retriever who sniffed her all over and then brought out a Siamese cat to look her over. After declaring that Annie was in fine fettle, he presented me with a bill for $175. When I complained, he told me the exam would have only been $20 without the lab report and cat scan.

IX. PLEASE TAKE CARE OF ME WHEN I GROW OLD. YOU, TOO, WILL GROW OLD.

At one time we were the proud owners of two elderly dogs — squirrelly old Butch and sweet big old Cinnamon. It was like running an assisted living home but we loved it and were really saddened by the inevitable separation from them.

X. ON THE ULTIMATE DIFFICULT JOURNEY, GO WITH ME PLEASE. NEVER SAY YOU CAN’T BEAR TO WATCH. DON’T MAKE ME FACE THIS ALONE. EVERYTHING IS EASIER FOR ME IF YOU ARE THERE, BECAUSE I LOVE YOU SO.

Here’s the one commandment I cannot keep. Both my wife and I have had to take pet dogs to be euthanized and neither of us could be in the room but had to say goodbye in the reception area. I also lied to Nit Noy (Thai for “Little Bit”) when I told him that he was only there for a checkup and I would be back for him soon.

See ya later…

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Dick Platt is a Daily Sun columnist. His column appears on Thursdays.

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