Go ask Alice

Welcome to this week's Reno News & Review.

Pets bring a lot of joy into people's lives, don't they?

My pets, on the other hand, are like children—somebody else's children, those obnoxious, whiny, undisciplined children that actually make you avoid their families. That's a truer simile than I intended when I typed it, since my beloved cat, Prometheus, finally got fed up with my dogs and moved next door to the Polahas. Kelly's cats moved in with a pack of coyotes to avoid them a year ago.

I have two dogs, Alice and Charlie. Alice is around 15 years old, still spry, but she's been as dumb as a bag of boxes since the day she was born. She was always the sweetest thing, a rescue dog, but she's 15 years old, and she's still surprised at her own poop's spontaneous generation. At least she's surprised outside.

I don't believe that old saying that you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Alice has learned a great new one. She calls it, “Harassing the skunk.” She doesn't get close enough to this skunk that's been hanging around the neighborhood to get sprayed. I think she learned from the first time that that's an extended and painful experience. No, she likes to get close enough that she can just run through the wafted spray. It's not quite bad enough—in comparison to the greater cloud of fumes the skunk emits—that I can quite tell that she got got. Until the next day, that is, when the microscopic mist has filled the lower half of my house. She's performed this act two out of the last four times that the skunk has shown up.

She got me again this morning. The living room smells like the aftermath of an electrical fire. I'm all out of Summer's Eve, and since it's 5 a.m., I can't just run up to Scolari's to grab some feminine product. (In my experience, Summer's Eve and a shampoo is the only treatment that actually eliminates the odor; it's far better than tomato juice or lemon.) I guess I'll run up before I go to work, but I didn't really need my Monday to start like this.

And did I ever ever tell you about the time that it cost me $150 to find out that Charlie was sad?