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The Friday Report

Jon de Vos / The Friday Report
Winter Park, CO Colorado

The other day I was listening to a 1951 radio show, The Whisperer. The premise of The Whisperer was a lawyer who lost his voice.

That’s ironic, but not what the show was about. This attorney could only speak in a hoarse whisper. You probably think you’re getting set up for a horse whisperer joke but no. In half-hour segments, Galt, who had cannily infiltrated The Syndicate, played a double life as a police informer on the nefarious goings on of the New York mob. His gun moll, excuse me, his girlfriend, was the only one who knew his alternate lifestyle. Anyway in the episode I was listening to, Galt refers to the “criminous” lifestyle of one Vince Scorelli, henchman to the underworld.

I quit listening to the show right there as I pondered that great word, “criminous” and wondered that I’d never heard it before, and more importantly, how I could work it into a column. I slapped my forehead when it came to me how perfect that word was to describe my hound, Freeta Goodhome. She’s a low-down, criminous Basset Hound!

She’s a master criminal, lithe, agile, cunning and conniving, she’s able to leap tall bar stools in a single bound. From there, it’s an easy vault onto the counter top where she trolls for stray muffins, loose pork chops and the abandoned rump roast. Criminous indeed! She can ooze her head through a gap in the back of the aquarium stand, much like a mouse squeezing through a hole the size of a dime. Her prehensile tongue wraps itself around a new can of guppy food and she stealthily reels it in like a pickpocket snagging a wallet.

She’s chewed so many library books that I now keep them locked in my new Protex Depository safe, featuring a laser cut, half-inch steel plate door with chrome steel locking bolts and the heavy duty bolt-down kit. She’s crunched so many DVDs that Netflix has me on a Watch List. She’s chewed so many shoes that Hush Puppy sends me a Christmas Card. She’s strewn the trash around the kitchen so often that we keep a snow shovel next to the fridge.

Last week we went out of town for a few days and left the dogs in Granby at the Four Paws Resort. I could tell something was amiss when I picked them up. Hesitantly, I inquired as to the problem. The tight-lipped explanation was that her first day there, Freeta broke into a cabinet and ate all the other dog’s treats.

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She got into the sugar canister so often we bought a Scat Mat, their largest and most powerful model. The purpose of a Scat Mat is to electrocute misbehaving dogs, modifying their behavior through electro-convulsive therapy. As the literature says: “If your pet begins to repeat an unwanted behavior, simply place a Scat Mat in the spot where it occurs. After your pet encounters the Scat Mat a few times, it will develop an aversion to that location.” It didn’t do much for her but it sure worked on me. After stepping on it barefoot in the middle of the night, I don’t go near the kitchen anymore.

I looked at her, sprawled out in front of the fireplace, nothing between her corpulent butt and the cold tile floor except a thick wool blanket. Asleep, she doesn’t look like a criminal. The Scat Mat hasn’t fazed her except that now she walks around with her hair standing on end. I paused to fix the image in my mind.

You know, in case I have to pick her out of a police lineup.

– All comments and criticisms are handled by my pet rat, Willard, who writes most of this stuff anyway at jdevos@fridayreport.com

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