Odie scratched on the front door, and then turned around and looked at me with pain in his eyes. He was a cute little dog, fuzzy brown, about ten inches high, a little more than a foot long, maybe 15 pounds soaking wet. He was intelligent, high strung, and used to getting his way because he was my daughter's dog; she left him with us when she went out of town for a week.
I just woke up, yawned and stretched. Odie saw me standing there, staring at him stupidly, so he scratched the door, looked around at me again, and added a little crying sound. As slow as my brain was in the morning, I knew it could only mean one thing.
"Hey, I just got up, Odie. Give me a chance to have some coffee first, huh?"
Odie followed me to the kitchen and sat by the counter, staring at me as I boiled water. When the pot whistled, I poured boiling water into my cup, added instant coffee, sugar and milk, and took my first sip.
"Look, I know you're staring at me, Odie. I'm going to take you out, just not this minute."
"All right. I can wait."
I almost sprained my neck from the double take I did. I rubbed by eyes, cleared out the wax in my ears, and looked down.
"What?" I asked.
It had to be some trick. I searched around the kitchen, looked around corners, peeked into empty rooms – nothing. I tiptoed back into our bedroom; my wife was still sound asleep. There was only Odie, me, and one sleeping beauty in the house. I must have imagined what I heard.
Odie was back by the front door, scratching. This time he had his leash in his mouth.
"Okay, Pal. Let's go.," I said, bending down, strapping on his leash and harness to his little fuzzy brown body.
I unlocked the front door and Odie leaped out. It was another beautiful summer morning in South Florida. The sun was shining, the grass was a bright green from the previous rain, and the mosquitoes were blood-thirsty.
I knew the routine – first stop, palm tree in the front yard. Odie raised his leg, and the first deposit was made. Joking, I said, "This is Odie territory!"
"That's right, Pal!"
I looked around again. We lived on a 5 acre ranchette, so there were no neighbors playing tricks. It was just Odie and me and the mosquitoes. I slapped at one who grew bold enough to land on my arm.
"Look, I don't know what's going on here, but you ain't that smart, doggie."
No answer. Odie walked down to where my car was parked and anointed the tires.
"Why the tires? Always the tires." I asked.
No answer. I shrugged and smacked another mosquito.
"Odie, let's get a move on it. They're really biting this morning," I urged.
"If you had some hair on that bald body, you wouldn't have the problem."
"What?" I questioned back
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