Elephants And Incompatible Behaviors

Keep Your Dog Quiet as a Mouse!

Poor Moosie!!!  It was supposed to be her birthday party last Saturday but things got out of hand and we didn’t quite pull off the awesome celebration we had planned. Bottom line, I’ve been accused of being a horrible doggy daddy and Moosie was dogprived of her special day. She is probably scarred-but that’s ok, she digs scars and generally shows them off happily and annoyingly. She has one that the original Chickendog gave her when she was an annoying little puppy-If you look closely, it’s still visible right between her eyes.  This will just give her one more story to tell about me. Honestly, the scarring accusation comes from an ex-stepmommy looking for anything to criticize.  I’m such a great guy that this is the first thing she’s ever been able to bring up.  Ha ha.

In other news Squirrel has been running around with one of the tiniest of fluffy toys and has been learning to squeek it.  It’s so cute!  She even does it to get my attention.  That’s right-I’ll hear a few squeeks and look over at her and she’ll be staring right at me and then squeek one more time for emphasis. I’m sure it’ll be annoying soon enough but it’s totally adorbs now! Mouse, who any fan of the show will know has huge anxiety issues, manifesting as low-level nervous barking, has learned to squeek the toy as well.  When Squirrel starts squeeking it, Mouse follows her around anxiously waiting for Squirrel to drop it.  Once Mouse has the toy, he starts squeeking it and seems comforted-I’m not sure if it’s the sound of the squeeker, the jaw chewing motion similar to chewing gum or grinding teeth, or the fact that there is little intellectual room left while keeping the toy away from Squirrel trying to get it back.  Then when Squirrel gets the toy back Mouse follows her around.  They are becoming the best dog friends of the group, with Mouse pawing at her to get her attention and Squirrel reciprocating by licking his teeth (which is what puppies do to get their mommies and daddies to throw up food for them to eat-ugh!).  Poor Moosie-I think she gets jealous because she thought she was Mouse’s best friend!

(Update: Moose has begun making friends with all of the pupillons now, so everybody is getting better socialized!)

Anyway, Mouse squeeking the toy instead of barking reminds me of a great topic of animal training, that of incompatible behaviors.  Back when circuses were bigger than movies, there was a constant elephant problem. There are many great things about the circus, one of which is that the fourth place finishers that didn’t quite make China’s Olympic team have a career performing in a more artistic and interesting fashion. But one of my favorite things about the circus is the stupendous display of the natural world that puts our small place in it in perspective. I tell you I still remember feeling the earth tremble as twenty-seven elephants trotted around the Carson and Barnes circus tent, not ten feet from me. The elephants were all holding the tail of the elephant in front of them. I saw the trunks holding the tails and thought, “What a great way to keep them all close together; ingenious!”

But it was far more ingenious than that.  You see, the elephants love peanuts and popcorn-you know, salt delivery devices- just like humans do. Think about it as if you were an elephant-you’re so big that those weakling humans right next to you could live inside of you and they’re holding delicious food.  What else would you do but grab it out of their hands and eat it? You’d be all like, “Humans are lame! Elephants RULE!!! Eat it humans! Oh, right, you can’t because I just snatched your food-what are you going to do about it? Nothing I’m going to care about!”

Here’s the genius-if the elephants are holding onto a tail, they can’t simultaneously steal food! They are incompatible behaviors!

Now, if I can just keep Mouse as quiet as a, uh, Mouse?