Whassup with Miss Opal?

Lately, Little Miss Opal has been quite the rebel.  If we believe in the “dog age in human years” chart, she would probably be around 60 right now. This can typically be the age at which we humans may become a little rebellious ourselves, saying whatever we want to say when we want to say it, feeling it unnecessary to censor our words and actions because of how comfortable we’ve become in our own skin. My thinking, however, is that Opal is more teenager than 60-year-old, and given how healthy and active my girls are, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Being part lab, both Opal and Dixie are big sniffers; truffle pigs, zealously sniffing out those pricey gems buried in the ground. Unlike other dogs who march about with their heads held high, Opal and Dixie’s noses are constantly glued to the ground:  “Oh-oh-oh! Mud! Yummy!”  “Look! It’s grass! Snacktime!” “Hey, smell’s like Daisy’s left us a message here!” It doesn’t matter what they smell -- a smell is a smell is a smell, and if there’s a hint of one, their little snoots (otherwise known as snouts) are determined to identify it.

OpieBest of all are Mondays. Each Monday morning when we arrive at the entrance to the dog park, the girls dart straight to the picnic tables. Two of Pavlov’s Dogs, they’ve learned that Monday = the day after a weekend, weekends = picnics, and picnics = leftovers and crumbs in abundance under the picnic tables. Yes, it’s true. They KNOW this. They don’t just smell it, they know it. No matter where we are, I always keep my eyes pasted to their “snoots,” ready to grab away whatever treasure they pick up. Despite my vigilance, however, every so often I miss the precise moment at which they pick it up. Whether or not it’s something particularly disgusting, I’ll screech to them, “Dixie, drop it!” “Opal! Drop it!” Now, Dixie will instantly drop whatever she’s picked up and run to me with her little tail thumping away, “See? See? I’m such a good, gooooood girl!”  Opal? Not so much. I could be rushing towards her at the speed of light, yelling until I’m practically hoarse, “OOOOOOOOPAAAAAAAAAAALLLL! DROP IT!” If I’m lucky, she’ll glance up and give me a “yeah, whatever” look. More often than not, though, I don’t even get the courtesy of a glance. After all, the cow dung caviar she’s gotten a hold of is far too engrossing to allow for distractions. When I reach her, grab her by the collar, yank her away and scold her (“No! Bad girl!”), my voice, words and actions bear absolutely no weight whatsoever. This is insultingly obvious to me as Opal happily thump-thump-thumps her tail, looking at me ever-so-innocently, and then merrily proceeding to stroll in another direction. Trust me – her hearing is perfect. I could be in Tasmania whispering in my little singsong voice, “Opie, treeeat!” and she’d charge towards the sea and start swimming to Tasmania. No, no – it’s not her hearing. She just knows that mama’s a pushover. She's really not my alpha. She isn’t dominant over me… except when it comes to ground goodies.

Oh, the power of Opal. She has me wrapped right around her little snoot.


Debbie ... This is the first time I've been on your site, and became totally engrossed in this story of your girls at the oh-so-irresistible picnic area! You're a wonderful writer!! I didn't know! Thanks for the entertainment. Kelsi joins me in sending love to you, Opie and Dixie. Will certainly keep you posted as I hear more about our very special friends!