Something missing? Check with the 'Moose'


June 01, 2008|By JANET GILBERT

Our dog, Moose, has many talents. He can dribble a half-cup of water from his mouth after just the briefest sip from his bowl. He can howl a very irritating high-pitched tone whenever anyone sings above middle C. He can sleep soundly for long periods. You may not have considered this last one a talent, but that only indicates that you are not yet eligible for membership in AARP.

Still, the most unusual talent Moose has is an affinity for surreptitiously snatching items that are top-of-mind to a family member, and carrying them around in his mouth until he hears the "Drop it" command.

I thought of calling a Pet Psychic for a consultation about this habit, but then I realized that this talent demonstrates that my pet is the psychic. I should call in a television producer instead, so we can tape a few shows wherein I take Moose into random strangers' homes and let him loose. In just a short period of time, I guarantee Moose will emerge with the homeowner's tax return refund check or lab test results. Whether the homeowner wants these items retrieved is beside the point: this is one talented dog. Annoying, sure, but gifted.

The first time this happened, I just brushed it off as some sort of cosmic coincidence. I had been telephoned by an official of the United States government to give a reference for a neighbor, who was applying for a job that required a security clearance. Moose was just a puppy, and I was confined to the kitchen while training him so that he had easy access to the backyard for bathroom breaks. I asked the government official if we could do a phone interview, because I wasn't sure how Moose would behave. He said he had to conduct the interview in person, and that he happened to be in the neighborhood. Was now a good time?

I figured it was as good a time as any, so I rushed around to tidy up the kitchen and family room. The doorbell rang and I let the gentleman in, after first inspecting his FBI badge, which I was confident was authentic because I have watched many crime television shows.

The interview began, and the questions were easy. Truth be told, I got a little bored. Soon I found my mind wandering to the fact that I was glad the interview was downstairs, because I had a mountain of unfolded wash upstairs. For some reason, I started focusing on the laundry: it was a white load and not a colors one, with lots of my underwear in it. How embarrassing it would have been if the FBI man had stopped by when I was in the middle of folding it on my kitchen table, as I usually did.

Just then, in sauntered Moose, one of my bras dangling from his mouth.

I had to dash in desperate circles around the kitchen table a good four or five times, while the FBI man sat looking stunned, before I could grab it. And then I had the awkward issue of what to do with a drool-covered bra. I stuffed it into a kitchen cabinet, where my middle-school son would later discover it with what I now call the stunned FBI-man expression.

Since that time, Moose has made his ceremonial parade holding a flash drive that contained a presentation I was about to make, an envelope stuffed with more than $200 in cash that I had collected for a group gift, my critical notebook from computer training classes, and, most recently, the speech my daughter was making at graduation.

It's gotten so we check Moose's mouth first, whenever we are in a panic mode about something.

Interestingly enough, he doesn't fetch. But I have a theory. Maybe it's because we've never tossed out our checkbook for him.

To contact Janet or hear podcasts, visit www.janet

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