Through trial and error, I’ve learned that the optimal number of days between Koopa’s office visits is nine, pet-picture viewings is four and the recounting of charming/hilarious anecdotes is one to three, depending on length of anecdote and volume of laughter incited.
The Star’s yearly batch of summer interns started last week and I’d be lying if I said my first thought upon their arrival wasn’t, “Hey, six people who haven’t heard about the time Koopa dressed up as Willy Wonka and won second place at the Woofstock costume contest!” (True story — have I not told you about that? We were in Mobile … you know what, I’ll circle back around to it …)
But I say all this to tell you that, extraordinary as he might be, Koopa is not perfect.
I’m afraid it’s true. Koopa — my sweet, obedient, well-tempered, mild-mannered Koopa — is (wait for it) a whiner.
I’ll wait for the sharp intake of breath and incredulous murmuring to subside.
Yes, Koopa whines. And when he whines, you know it. My downstairs neighbor knows it. In fact, you’ve probably heard it and wondered what tragic fate has befallen that poor, pitiful creature.
Because it is pitiful. It’s got this, well, pitiful quality that’s equal parts desperate pleading and hopeless resignation. And he really commits to it, too. I mean, he sells it. You’d think that dog was so neglected, so mistreated.
That’s what the girl in line behind us at the pet store the other day thought. Koopa started whining and she looked down at him, cocked her head and said, “Well, he looks like he gets enough to eat …”
As a matter of fact, he ate half my waffle fries on the way over.
But I couldn’t blame her for being concerned. If I heard that whine, I wouldn’t assume the dog had tired of the pet store and was ready to go back outside, and his mean old mom was not paying for his new toys as expeditiously as he desired.
And that would be my mistake. Because that is the tragedy that elicited the whine.
Spoiled, you say? Oh, most definitely.
But to whine with such sincerity, such mournful conviction, I think Koopa must truly believe in the injustice of his plight.
He must truly believe it to be one of life’s cruelest tricks that the wind ceases to blow when the car stops at red lights. It must be incomprehensible to him that he’s forced to wait on the floor while mom finishes putting clean sheets on the bed.
And what twisted fate is it foiling his plan to smell the hindquarters of every canine that crosses his path?
Actually, I have to agree with him on that one.
Which is why Koopa and I would both like to take this moment to give a big, sloppy Dog Dish face lick to Teresa Russell of Eastaboga (and yes, Teresa, I said Koopa and I both — you’ve been warned).
Inspired by her black Lab, Max, Teresa has not only approached the Oxford City Council with a well-received proposal for a dog park, she’s also gotten Oxford entered into PetSafe’s Bark for Your Park contest. If the city wins, PetSafe will donate $100,000 toward construction of the park.
Voting runs until June 5, when 15 finalist cities will be selected, so there’s still plenty of time to make sure Oxford makes it to round two. You can vote twice a day, once on PetSafe’s website at www.petsafe.net/barkforyourpark and once on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PetSafeBrand.
Oxford has been in the running since day one of the competition, so it’s got a real shot at making it to the final round. Let’s make sure it gets there — it’ll give Koops one less thing to whine about.
So as I was saying, we were in Mobile … actually, I better wait one to three days.
Fur Facts: Coming soon
In two weeks, Dog Dish will premiere Fur Facts, a new feature spotlighting expert advice on the health of your fur baby.
Once a month, a panel of area veterinarians will answer your health-related questions. If you have a question for the Fur Facts vet panel, email it to email@example.com with “Fur Facts” in the subject line, or mail it to Brooke Carbo, Assistant Features Editor, The Anniston Star, P.O. Box 189, Anniston, AL 36202.
And look for the first Dog Dish Fur Facts in the Life & Arts section on June 2.
Assistant Features Editor Brooke Carbo: 256-235-3581. On Twitter @star_features.
Pet of the Month
At just under one year old, Max is very active and “all Lab!” says proud pet mom Susan Franksain. “He loves water, ducks, birds, smelling everything and anything — every person or dog he meets.”
Max’s energy level has been just what the doctor ordered for Susan and her husband now that their kids are all grown up.
“My husband and I have been trying to be more active and enjoy this new phase of life,” Susan said. “I take Max somewhere to explore and just play almost every day.”
Besides sniffing in the great outdoors, Max loves to eat “ANYTHING,” Susan said. “And going ‘bye-bye’!”
Think your dog should be Dog Dish Pet of the Month? Have the adorable pet photos to prove it? Send them in! Email photos to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Pet of the Month” in the subject line. Or send them to Brooke Carbo, Assistant Features Editor, The Anniston Star, P.O. Box 189, Anniston, AL 36202.
Be sure to include your pet’s name, age and breed, and tell us a little about your fur baby.