Last night I was complaining to no one in particular–only my black Labrador Retrievers Smut and Mischief were with me–about how miserable I felt because of a nasty cold.

Smut, attired in his favorite silk smoking jacket and fez, was sitting in an armchair quietly listening. Finally, tired, no doubt, of my complaining, he leaned back, took a couple of puffs on his cigar, and said, “Well, if you had listened to me yesterday, you could have short-circuited your cold, and you wouldn’t be sitting here all miserable and out-of-sorts.”

“What did you say to me yesterday?” I asked. “I don’t remember.”

“That’s another thing,” Smut replied, after taking a small sip of his favorite whisky. “You just don’t listen to me. How often you ignore me when I un-assertively suggest that we go for a walk. Walking is good for you, by the way.”

“Yes, but what did you say yesterday?” I asked again. I was quite short with him, I’m afraid.

“No need to get upset,” he said calmly, putting his cigar on the edge of the ashtray and leaning forward a little. “I advised you to step out back and eat some grass. That’s what I do when I feel bad, you know. It works very well.” He sat back, crossed his legs, picked up his whisky and smiled at me.

“That doesn’t work for humans,” I said, laughing at him.

Smut puffed on his cigar again and, raising an eyebrow, asked, “How do you know? Have you ever done it?”

“Of course not,” I replied derisively, sniffing and coughing.

Exhaling a cloud of smoke, he said with a distinctively superior air, “There you are, then. Don’t look down your nose at me.”


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