Man’s best friend

Sammy Hagar Jr.

Photo By Larry Dalton

Homo sapiens may be laying down the dominant narrative here on planet Earth. But other species can offer an interesting perspective on daily affairs—including canis familiaris, better known as the family pooch. I asked one local member of the barking persuasion, a 2-year-old Newfoundland-chow mix named Sammy Hagar Jr., his opinions on the day-to-day business of living. Sam, as he’s known around his Bohemian Park neighborhood, is quite the bon vivant, a veritable connoisseur of the finer comestibles life has to offer.

Why won’t you eat what I put in your bowl?

Dude, are you kidding? That stuff tastes like dog food! Blecch! At least have the dignity to give me something with a little flavor. You know, like that Beto’s steak burrito right there, the one you haven’t finished. Come on, pal—move that plate a little closer, where I can wrap my snout around it.

Why are you wagging your tail?

It’s not what you think. I’m not happy. To be perfectly frank, I’m a little distressed that you’re not letting me finish that burrito. Come on, now. Truth be told, we dogs have tails because you humans insist on feeding us second-rate chow, which gives us nasty gas. And it isn’t that we hate smelling our farts. We like our farts so much that we want to share them with you, so we use our tails to fan that stinky smell in your direction. So, take a good whiff.

That’s disgusting. Speaking of which, what’s up with you dogs smelling each other’s butts?

As if you don’t want to. C’mon—I see you checking out cabooses on the ladies all the time. Don’t you want to get down on all fours and investigate more closely? But seriously, we dogs are detectives—Barnaby Jones 24-7—and our olfactory sense gives us a surprising amount of information from neighborhood pee-mails and all that. Know what I’m sayin'? The thing about being a dog is that we aren’t ultra-judgmental about the scents we pick up. I mean, you’ll never hear a dog say, ‘Pee-yew—that stinks!’ We prefer to experience each smell on its own terms, without the barrier provided by intellect, which isn’t exactly a problem for us.

Can you explain dog consciousness a little more deeply?

What’s so deep about it? Yeah, dogs are the original Buddhists, contrary to what the feline lobby may tell you. We don’t think too deeply about anything, however. We experience; we accept. Put bluntly, we groove. We live totally in the now. Imagine being stoned all the time, with an endless P-Funk loop going through your brain.

Why must you always chase the cat?

Nuthin’ but the dog in me. I mean, what kind of question is that? I’m a dog. Of course I’m going to chase any cat that intrudes into my space. They’re such vile creatures, and they deserve nothing less than a good doggy chomping [drools, wags tail].

But isn’t that at odds with your professed Buddhism? Why can’t dogs accept cats?

Life is a mystery. Some things defy explanation. Next question.

Remember a few months back, when you kept insisting on peeing on the Christmas tree? What was up with that?

Aw, c’mon. What kind of dumb question is that? You take me for walks, right? What’s the first thing I do when we get outside? I head straight for the nearest tree to drain Lil Bow Wow. So, you’re observing that every day, and then all of a sudden, there’s a 10-foot-tall Douglas fir in the front room? I’m thinking, how perceptive—you’re finally paying attention to my needs, and you’ve installed a bathroom for me right here, so I don’t have to make a complete imbecile of myself by pawing at the door and barking. And then I lift my leg, and everybody goes ballistic.

You’re a pretty decent conversationalist. Why don’t you talk when other humans are around?

What? And blow my cover? Then every maroon within earshot would be asking me all kinds of dumb questions, like what does it feel like to be a dog, and why must I chase the cat, and why do I keep trying to bum food off of them.

So why do you keep trying to bum my food?

Do you want me to be uncouth? I inquire politely but persistently. You deny my humble requests, or you ignore me, which

is a form of passive aggression. The fact is you’re torturing me with a half-eaten burrito, and if you don’t put it on the floor where I can deal with it right now, I’m of a mind to turn into 70 pounds of Big Scary Dog. Either that, or I’ll call the SPCA on you. Come on, give me that burrito. Please? Please? Woof! Woof!