ANGELINA COUNTY, TEXAS. — Angelina County, Texas--The nights have turned cold and gotten dangerous. Getting up in the middle of the night, if I'm not careful, I'll stumble over a dog in the dark. I think I know how George Bush must feel with those domestic issues.
My dogs are indoors for the duration, I guess. Every night is a three-dog night. That's how many there were at last count. They are Old Thunder, the old black dog; Lady, the pretty little lady dog; and Rusty, Rudolph the Reindeer dog. My wife named that last one. That's because, she said, Rusty looks like a reindeer, not just his color but the way he looks when he is lying on the floor by the fire. He holds his paws up at an angle, like in pictures of a reindeer flying, my wife says. Personally I can't see it.
If you're wondering about John The Dog, those of you who may recall him being mentioned in previous reports, John The Dog has gone away again. He does that regularly, disappearing into the wilderness. Which is why we named him John The Dog, after John The Baptist.
You wouldn't think it to look at him -- blond, short-haired mongrel that he is -- but John The Dog is a hundred-dollar dog. Hundred dollars is how much my wife paid the vet to doctor him after the last dog fight he lost while in our keep. John The Dog needs either a better attitude or a worse bite.
I don't mind the dogs sleeping underfoot, never mind that it goes against my upbringing. When I was growing up, dogs slept under the house, even in the worst of weather, and seemed to do fine. Most houses don't have an under-the-house nowadays.
Ours does; it's even a concrete-enclosed under-the-house, nice and cozy to my way of thinking. But the dogs have seen inside of the house, and they have seen under the house. They like inside the house better. It's not just because of the rug and the fireplace, though. Dogs like to be where people are. I get up early on these cold mornings and go sit on the porch. The dogs get up and come sit with me on that cold, hard porch.
Not the cats. Cats like to stay around people, I have noticed, but not because cats like people. Cats like the kind of places where people stay. Cats like central heat and air, couches with cushions, my rocker-recliner. Cats like sleeping in your bed with you. What they would really like is sleeping in your bed without you. The dogs would be happy sleeping under the house, I think, if only you'd sleep there with them.
Dogs are populists by nature. Cats are royalists by nature. Dogs would vote Democratic. Cats would vote Republican.
I think I know how George Bush must feel with those cold, dark, dangerous domestic issues, especially when you consider whom he is in bed with.
Joe Murray is senior writer for Cox Newspapers.