“I’m legal!” Fido yelped happily to no one in particular. “I’m legal, I’m a rabies-free Mutt from the Mountains and … do you happen to have a Pup-Peroni?”
Fido got up on his hind legs and did a little jig.
“Look! My tag is Royal Blue this year!”
The other dogs (and a few cats in crates) in the Mammoth Lakes Police Department parking lot expressed varying degrees of enthusiasm.
“Yeah, Fido, we all got them,” said one hound, named Spike, who had stood in line just ahead of Fido at the annual licensing/vaccination day last weekend. Spike came to Mammoth by way of Las Vegas, and boy did he have stories to tell!
“You’d have thought it was Dogapalooza,” I said to Fido.
Pisa was there—a Los Angeles cockapoo-terrier mix—but Fido said she didn’t lean this way or that; Levi was there, too, a rescue dog who acquired his name by chewing up jeans.
“I never did get a biscuit, though,” Fido said.
“Why would you think you’d get a biscuit?” I asked.
“Because during the proceedings I kept hearing someone yelling biscuit over and over, and I just thought, well, you know.”
“Fido, Biscuit is the name of one of the dogs you met. So you weren’t hearing a call for biscuits, you were hearing a human saying the dog’s name.”
Fido looked sheepish—a darned hard thing for a dog to do.
“It didn’t matter, though,” Fido said. “Dr. TeSlaa was great, even though he went to school at Iowa State.”
“Fido, Iowa State just happens to have one of the best schools of veterinary medicine in the whole country. It ranks right up there with any school. A very fine place.”
“But you always taught me to growl whenever I heard Iowa State in conversation.”
“Aw, Fido, scheez. That’s only on one Saturday in the autumn and the week before the Big Game. Their dogs do the same thing whenever they hear the name ‘Hawkeye.’ And then there are a couple of times that it happens in the dark months, what with basketball and wrasslin.”
“Dr. TeSlaa gave me a chew while I was getting my rabies shot,” Fido said, “and a woman there said she was a Hawkeye.”
“That would have been his wife, Fido. He married into a whole pack of Hawkeyes. Imagine that!”
“Hey hey hey hey!”
“But you’re off-piste. Who else did you meet?”
“Cocoa was there,” Fido said, “and you know that dog who lives in our neighborhood? Chelsea?”
“Sure! A nice-looking mountain dog.”
“Turns out she’s from Lake Havasu in Arizona and never ever wants to go back, because it’s too hot!”
It took a while for Fido to settle down after the Dogapalooza, but a biscuit and a lap of water did the trick.
“I have to say, Fido, that new, blue dog license is mighty handsome on you.”