Par TwoMeet Hogan and Palmer McLaughlin. That's Ben Hogan and Arnold Palmer, in case you missed the connection. (Guess which sport is the official McLaughlin family favorite.)
Palmer's the pretty black lab on the left. Technically, he isn't ours; he belongs to our son and daughter-in-law. But he stayed with us for his first two weeks of puppyhood while our son finished college, and he used to spend his days here at puppy day care, racing down the ranch road to our house after breakfast and heading back to his own house when our son got home from work at night. Since our grandbaby was born a year ago, he's been here full time. So we think he's just as much our dog as theirs.
Palmer is one very naughty boy. He thinks rules are rules only until we turn our backs or he gets distracted. The only things he likes better than chasing skunks and collecting smelly scraps of animal carcasses are cookies (dog biscuits). Cookies are A Big Deal around here, since they're our only way of controlling him. A cookie in the hand trumps any distraction, even the evil gas delivery man, the dangerous meter reader, or the biggest threat to life on the planet: deer in the yard. Guess how we got him to sit still for his picture? I'll give you a hint--it begins with a C.
Hogan, on the right, thinks he's pretty, too. We tell people he's got a nice personality (the kind of thing you might say when someone asks about a blind date). We found Hogan ten years ago at the animal shelter, and he's been our mystery dog ever since. We wonder what kind of mix he is, since parts of him seem to come from several different breeds (and species). We wonder what happened to him in his former life, since he's afraid of the laundry room, the dishwasher, and the stairs.
Every once in a while Hogan forgets he's afraid of the stairs, and he'll wander up to the second floor. Then, because he's afraid of the stairs, he won't come down. He'll sit on the landing, howling all day. We can't carry him down, because if we try he gets nervous and sprays everything around--walls, rugs, us. I finally found a solution to the problem: opening and closing the ironing board over his head. He's more afraid of the ironing board than the stairs.
Hogan used to be an exceptionally well-behaved dog, but Palmer has been showing him how much fun it is to roam around the ranch--and beyond--looking for trouble. At least Hogan has the decency to be ashamed when he's caught doing something naughty. In fact, the one thing Hogan does best is acting ashamed. No one can cower or crawl or beg for forgiveness as well as he can. It's enough to make us want to give him a cookie--even though we know he may have to check it out first, sniffing suspiciously before he eats it. He's afraid we're going to poison him, too.
How about your favorite critter? Is your pet well-adjusted? Misbehaved? Neurotic?