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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Old Dog Days or Why Lorne Greene Is Not an Icon Anymore

Yes, I was younger
than one of my sons.

Our dog is old. I don’t know how old. She was my wife’s dog before we were married, (my wife and I, not the dog). 

The dog came to live with us because she was one of those kinky “Love-me, Love-my-dog” types, (my wife, not the dog). 

She came from a place called Strays Arf Us, (the dog, not my wife).

Lately, Simba, (the dog, not my wife), has been barking every day at 4:17 AM. Evidently, that’s when a Pensacola aircraft en route to Miami at 40,000 feet passes within a hundred miles of our house.  

The call came at 5 AM yesterday from Air Traffic Control, “Excuse me, I apologize for calling so early, but we need your help. Our radar has gone down and we’ve lost contact with an aircraft out of Pensacola.

This is Pensacola Tower.
Sir, is your dog barking?

Sir, is Simba barking?”

The neighbors appreciate the 4:17 barking alarm. That’s a good little doggy for getting all the neighbors to wake up together and get a jump-start on their day.

My wife says Simba is 70. There is something out there in the ether and the Discovery channel called Dog Years. A Dog Year is equal to 7 years. 

There is a Dog Sun that rises and sets 7 times a day, but only canines and Hawaiian Tropics sun-tanning customers can see it.

Our aging Simba suffers from Barkinson’s Disease and Fleabitus. The Vet gave her painkillers for her Arfritis and something for anxiety.

The vet always gives me the same lecture, “The Valium was for the dog, not you.”

I didn’t have a snappy comeback because I kept falling asleep. But I woke right on up when the assistant asked, “Is the big one in here, for the neutering?”     

With all the medication, our mixed breed Simba is feeling mutt’s better. I feel better too, now that I have # 6377 programmed on my phone’s speed dial. That’s 911 in dog years.

Simba likes to watch the Lost Episodes of Lassie, but we don’t show her the final farewell show. Lassie limps into the farmhouse kitchen, circles her water bowl, shudders, then flops down and goes to sleep.

Timmy pets the quiet collie and yells, “Mom, I think Lassie’s trying to tell us something. Old man Jensen must have fallen down a well, or maybe the lady forest ranger has a ruptured ovarian cyst, or maybe the network execs got the ratings last night.”

Mom pulls Timmy away from Lassie, “Yes Timmy. I think you’re right. She really is trying to tell us something.”

“What Mom? What Mom?  What is she trying to say?”

“Well Timmy, I think Lassie’s trying to tell us that she’s dead.”

Now let’s talk about Lorne Greene. Remember Ben “Pa” Cartwright of Bonanza fame? He ran a large ranch for stray dogs called the Poundarosa. 

Mr. Greene was doing Alpo dog food-with-not-a-speck-of-cereal commercials when Hoss, his former TV son, died.

The plan was to sprinkle Hoss’s ashes over the “All-You-Can-Eat Buffet Museum” in Carson City. But times were tough for lovable, yet stern, patriarch Lorne Greene, who was left in charge of the cremation. 

To save money, he dragged his old friend to the dog food factory to have the cremation comped. Records have never been found to substantiate the actual cremation, but for several years, the Alpo cans sported a new label, with just a speck of Hydrogenated Oxygenated Synergistic Stuff, (H.O.S.S.).

Sadly, Ben Cartwright passed on at the age of 10.3; that’s 72 in Lorne Greene years.

So here’s the conversation on the way to school with the bright children that I am raising … as if they were my own … just because of a stupid DNA test:

“Pa … If Lorne Greene and his dog were on Mars, how long would they live?”

The answer: Lorne Greene would die in 7 seconds, having had a full 6 seconds to mourn for his dog that died after only one second. 

They both would have succumbed from a lack of proper vital ingredients that are missing in the average Martian environment; an atmosphere that contains Carbon Dioxide, a little Nitrogen, and not a speck of Oxygen.