My dog, incognito

There was a strange looking dog at my house last night when I got home. He looked a lot like a black labrador. He seemed friendly enough, tail wagging as I approached the house from the driveway.

He had a familiar gait and a goofy, toothy grin that I seemed to recognize.

It was Toby with a sleek new haircut. His shaggy, well-worn winter coat was no more. All that was left was a very happy and somewhat more spritely dog.

My 10-year-old flat-coated retriever went to the beauty parlor on Thursday and came home with a new ‘do. He’s just about ready to start obedience classes for 4-H with Daniel, so to keep the old boy a little cooler on those hot summer nights, he got a buzz cut.

I have to admit that I chuckled – no scratch that, laughed out loud- when I saw him. His heavy coat made him look about 20 pounds heavier that his actual weight. Now his ears look a little short because they were so shaggy. But except for the white hairs around his muzzle, he’s acting like a spring chicken.

His partner in crime, Buster, otherwise known as the little stinker, was awfully lonesome Thursday. He curled up on the floor with his head pointed at the back door, hoping to see his old friend prance in.

I’m not sure if he really missed Toby or if he was just jealous that Toby got to go for a “ride in the car.” Those are Buster’s four favorite words in the whole world. I think they even beat out “treats” and “dinnertime.” Every single time we mention a ride or the car, his head snaps up and he does his very best ET neck stretch impression. All of the fur on his head and neck stand at attention and he listens very closely to see if anyone makes any other remarks that might get him into the car and headed down the road.

Buster has several favorite places to visit. He’s a great fan of McDonalds, especially if there might be a bite of burger coming his way. He also takes great pleasure going to the bank and watching the money container shoot up into the tube and into the bank. And quite often, when the container comes back, it has a little dog biscuit inside, much to his delight.

Buster is also scheduled to make a trip to see the groomer soon. On his few visits, he got so nervous that he had to be sedated while they trimmed him. Now, it’s old hat. That shaggy boy comes back a acting like a new dog with lots of energy – sometimes a little too much energy. That’s when we all stand back and witness the Llasa 500 – frenzied laps up and down the hallway and around corners until he collapses in the corner.

I think everyone gets a boost from a good-looking haircut, even our four-legged friends.