by Alysia Wells

Here we are in our doggie group therapy. Today we're really just going to roll over, kick back, stretch out, with no taboos. It's a beautiful day in the doggie neighborhood, and it's time to reveal some secrets! We are joined by a very cute goldador, Molly. She's a dickens and kind of an instigator, helping us relax and unleash some inhibitions. Molly's so little and cute and sneaky that no one suspects her of straying from a rule-abiding course.

Some people are moved to tears by our abilities, good judgment and loyalty, and some people idolize guide dogs and imbue us with superpowers. Now I'm not saying that a few of us haven't been responsible for some miracles that saved lives, but most of us just do a good job most of the time. We're gifted but not perfect! We're not lovely statues or robots that conform neatly to every circumstance we're confronted with, and we develop differently in our careers. We have faults. Needless to say, some of us backslide, forget things, misjudge, fail, act irresponsibly, have a bad moment, a bad day!

Despite our training and glorification, we're still dogs with canine interests, and that's the topic today. We sometimes consider other things besides guiding you people. Sometimes a random incident which maybe has no comparable human significance thrills us and makes our day! We have chosen to remain anonymous today for you readers because what happens is only for us to know about, so maybe you can hold tight to your ideals and think, "no, no, not my wonderful, innocent doggie!"

"A box of Honey Nut Cheerios fell off the closet shelf upside down, and out tumbled many tidbits of delight. My person hadn't noticed the spill yet, and I became the vacuum cleaner, sucking the sweet morsels down my throat like there was no tomorrow!

"Yes, I love to eat forbidden things! Once, my buddy and I consumed a pound of butter left out on the table. And how about a paper towel soaked in bacon grease! Sometimes the TV is on so loud in the other room, I can get in the trash without being caught and extract some real goodies. Yum!" We all lick our lips in unanimous agreement, remembering shameful forays in places we shouldn't have been exploring.

"I noticed a cookie under this long table where many people were convening for a church potluck. The people were blabbing away, and I started inching, inching like an inchworm, stretching my neck, sticking out my tongue, oh, just a little more, carefully straining my leash as far as it would go -- ever so slowly -- laughter and banter above -- this is so cool - - I'm getting away with it! Is she putting her hand down here to check on me? Oh, no! She's just fingering the napkin! Now I resume my quest, concentrate, reach, got it!! Fantastic victory! This was a major accomplishment and as rewarding as any praise for my good deeds!"

"You all and your food cravings! I just like mischief sometimes! If I'm left alone, even when I know better, it's anybody's guess what I might do, maybe nothing, or maybe get all the stuffing out of a big couch pillow and watch the stuffing expand so I can spread it all around everywhere and have some fun! Yes, I have proper dog toys, but this is more challenging and gratifying!"

"My goodness, you're brave! I don't like getting in trouble and would rather do something less obvious like jump up on the sofa at night to sleep. No one will know about that because I hear footsteps and jump down!"

"Well, that's just silly and boring! Your fur stays there on that sofa, and the truth will come out soon enough. I love water and can't resist leading my person through a big puddle once in a while!"

"Oh, that's mean!" Even little Molly is shocked at this point. But we proceed forward with another admission.

"I love the ocean, speaking of water, don't you all?" (Heidi, the prissy German shepherd, lowers her magnificent head in mild disgust.) "Anyway, I love to swim, and I plunged into the ocean, snuffling, reveling, and unfortunately, drinking! As I shook off, my person was happy for me at first, enjoying my glee, but then later, that balmy salt water went right through me, and it wasn't pretty! My person had to pay an extra fee for cleanup in that hotel room, where they'd been so nice to me, too. Oh well, it wasn't my money, and I still love the ocean. I just won't drink it!"

Heidi is gloating. How embarrassing! I'm glad we aren't naming names today!

As dogs, we have random, disconnected thoughts and dreams " I just want to roll in the grass all day! I NEVER need a bath! I don't like your sister's perfume. I smell chicken all the time! I dream about dog parks where I'm completely free and meet my doggie soul mate! If that cat comes any closer, it's dead! I want to dig a hole and rest in cool moist dirt! Please rub my belly, and then scratch under my chin! Make me happy!" Words aren't as important as actions. I can unwrap a Hershey bar faster than you can. I can open a gate latch which is doggie-proof!

Anyway, sit up straight, stand at attention, confession time is over! Woof! Woof! Reporting for duty!

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