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Sit, stay, good parents
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 I am seeing a pattern emerging.

No, this is not a proliferation of nukes in North Korea, racist nuts surrounding Confederate statues or blue and white signs along Broadway. I am sensing we humans are not running this planet like we think we are.

Sure, we are led to believe we stand atop the food chain. We evolved from the primordial slime to dominate the natural order of things. 

We invented fire, the wheel, penicillin, the Popeil Pocket Fisherman and take-out pizza. We created the “Mona Lisa,” the Sistine Chapel, “La Boheme,” “I’m Too Sexy” and “The Love Boat.” 

But, I am beginning to think the animal kingdom is merely allowing this false feeling of superiority. Forget the Kennedy assassination and the moon landing being staged on Hollywood sound stage, this is a conspiracy of the highest order. 

Cut to a desolate Barton County blacktop. I am on my bike halfway through an epic ride when I stop to snack on a peppered beef stick.

I look up and see this posse of cattle in a pasture staring at me. I could just see them taking their bovine hooves, pointing to their eyes and pointing at me.

“We see you, we are watching you and we know what you are doing. We know what (or who) you are eating.”

Cut to our backyard. I am sitting on our deck sipping coffee when I feel something hit me on the head. 

I look up and there is this plump squirrel above me, acorn in his tiny front paws, chattering and nibbling away. The shards of that acorn shell filled the air like flak over London during the Blitz.

That small woodland creature is totally unfazed. His beady brown eyes are filled with nothing but contempt.

“So, punk, I know what you are thinking. Did I eat six acorns or just five? Are you feeling lucky, punk? Go ahead and make my day.”

We have a walnut tree in the front yard and the oak in the back. Both yards are covered in nut-borne shrapnel requiring Kevlar when mowing.

Don’t get me started on the mosquitoes and flies.

Cut to our living room on any given evening. One would find three dogs curled up in chairs, couches and on the floor, oftentimes grunting at us if we dare want to sit down.

My wife jokes that we had three kids. Since we are empty nesters, we now have three canines.

We refer to them as the boys. She has a kitchen towel that reads “I want to be a stay-at-home dog mom” and a plaque that reads “Sometimes my dog winks at me and I wink back just in case it is some sort of code.”

A major line item in our household budget is dog food which costs as much as feeding a high school football player and his fellow linebackers. Our oldest, a beagle, has his own recliner (when we bought new furniture, this old chair remained).

You get the idea. The dogs are running the kennel.

Enough is enough. 

It was time to seize control, regain our position of dominance in the pack and become the alpha pet parents evolution intended us to be. We decided to take our youngest to obedience classes.

Griffon is an 8-month-old terrier/lab mix, a rescue dog from the Golden Belt Humane Society. Sure, he is a 30-pound ragamuffin puppy, but he is also a walking, furry, floppy muppet with the sole purpose in life of being petted by someone.

He is mellow, laid back. A cuddler, not a fighter.

So, of course like any responsible parents, we made an out-of-town road trip to get his school supplies. He and his brother rode along.

“Are we there yet? He’s touching me.”

Our first class with the dog whisperer was this week. The lesson plan consisted of “sit,” “heel.” “down,” and “stay.”

Hey, where was this class when our kids were in diapers? Heck, it could be modified to work with millennials in the office.

Anyway, we had a gold-star pupil. 

But, you got the feeling all those dogs were just biding their time and patronizing their people — you know, just playing along. 

“I’m not stupid. I know there are treats in that bag and all I have to do to get one is walk in a circle and lie down once in a while. Piece of cake.”

Who is really training whom? I wonder.

Dale Hogg is the managing editor of the Great Bend Tribune. He can be reached at