Dogs, logs and crackers


My daughter is standing before me, crying. She is also limping and dragging her foot in a way that implies she might, in fact, be crippled for life.

I leap to attention: “What’s the matter, babe?”

“I stubbed … (hiccup, sob) … my toe, (sniffle, sob, gasp) on … ACE’S LOG!”

Of course she did.


This is the kind of damage that happens when you don’t have a normal dog. We do not have a normal dog and thus these kinds of mishaps are common.

We have a dog that brings logs — entire tree limbs — into our home. A ‘small’ stick to this dog would be one the size of, say, my arm. He actually prefers them a bit bigger.

I myself was injured one morning when he dropped one of these heavy timbers directly on my foot.

I did not react kindly to this. I tend to prefer to wait until AFTER my morning coffee to have trees fall on me.

The thing is, if you’ve ever had or known a dog like him you’ll understand why we cannot discipline him.

It’s not that he’s the angry sort, aggressive, or at all prone to give us lip. Oh no. It’s just that he’s so darned sorry all the time.

He has lived on this planet for four years, and during that time, he has very rarely been injured, poisoned, beaten with sticks or wrapped in a blanket of bees.

While, yes, I have threatened him with one or all of these punishments, I have never actually raised a hand to the dog, or even spoken to him in any tone of voice that is anything other than ‘exasperated.’

Yet, at the merest hint of chastisement, he simply falls apart. He belly crawls toward us, eyes cast upward in supplication as if to say, “Please forgive me although I am clearly not worthy and please no more beatings and bees.”

By the time he’s done we’re apologizing to HIM.

It is said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

In that light, it’s a continued source of amusement to those around us that I continue to pretend I have normal dogs.


Our emergency back-up dog, Jagger, for example, has spent the summer on injured reserved. This is hard to explain since Jagger is approximately half a dog high and two dogs wide and is almost entirely sedentary on his best day.

Inexplicably, for an animal with all the speed and natural instinct of a paperweight, he is the one most likely to get into weird mishaps.

Jagger is the dog fished out of an icy pool moments from death last winter.

He has also survived numerous ‘sitting upons’ by the much larger and far more agile dog, Ace; and in the ultimate act of endurance, survived having the life-force sucked plumb from his body by my rage when he ate an entire inflatable swimming pool a few summers back (for HIM I would have totally entertained the notion of using a blanket of bees!).

Suffice it to say Jagger has clearly mistaken himself for a cat and is blowing through extra lives.

True to form, in the midst of the literal ‘dog days’ of a grueling summer spent lounging in the shade and eating things the children dropped, he somehow jerked or turned himself in a manner that must’ve blown out a disc or six in his poor, portly little spine.

As a result he could not walk more than a few steps without collapsing.

Jagger finished out his summer vacation on a wide variety of medications and acting like a drunken sailor.

He will start to walk, only to teeter sideways, and then he will fall over onto his side and wag, his tail going thump-thump-thump on the floor, until someone comes along and plops him on his feet again.

He has gone from being a solid little ottoman of a dog to something akin to a baggie filled with jelly. He just squishes happily around, falling over and thump-thump-thumping, and generally loving pharmaceuticals like any good addict would.

Yesterday, after months of this sort of inactivity, he suddenly pulled himself upright, teetered over to the porch steps, and laboriously dragged his inert little self up all five steps.

Upon reaching the summit, he grunted, groaned, and then went the extra mile. Dragging himself, panting, over to the porch chair where I sat eating a cracker, which he immediately begged for.

Forget pharmaceuticals, Jagger will work for food. We think he’s on the mend.

No great story

The weird thing is in order to be THIS crippled there really should be a great story, fantastic tale, or at the very least an old football injury attributed as the cause.

Instead, we literally have NO IDEA what has crippled Jagger in his prime.

Unless, of course, we entertain the possibility that he too was felled by one of Ace’s logs.


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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.



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