dog fiction

Negotiating with Cookies #32 – Cats

Fleegle stands on the couch in the living room looking out the window at the house across the street. “We have new neighbors,” he announces. “They have four cats. Can you imagine living with four cats?”

“Four cats and you? No.”

“Why not?” He jumps off the couch and nose bumps me in the thigh. “Don’t you like cats? I love cats.”

“No you don’t.”

“Why would you say that? They’re like mini-Santas that go around hiding biscuits in all the sandy patches in the neighborhood, and they act like speeding tennis balls when you chase them.” He cocks his head at me. “That is, when I chase them. You don’t chase much, except me when I run outside with your remote.”


“We should get a cat, or two. Yeah, two cats, at least for starters. Maybe we can get more later, and cover the backyard with sand.”


Previous: Negotiating with Cookies #31 – Green Fleegle

Start at the beginning: Negotiating with Cookies #1 – Stinky Butt

dog fiction

Negotiating with Cookies #31 – Green Fleegle

Through the open den window, comes the sound of the neighbors dragging their wheelie bin down their driveway to the curb for tomorrow morning’s garbage pickup. Napping on the couch, Fleegle’s ears snap to attention at the sound of tinkling glass as they carry out their recyclables. “Oh, boy, Raud. It’s garbage day. Let’s go for a walk.”

“You want to clean other people’s jam jars, huh?”

“Yeah, don’t you?”

“Um, no, but I’ll tag along for the walk.”


Next: Negotiating with Cookies #31 – Cats

Previous: Negotiating with Cookies #30 – Unemployed

Start at the beginning: Negotiating with Cookies #1 – Stinky Butt

dog fiction

Negotiating with Cookies #30 – Unemployed

Fleegle walks over to where I’m reading in the backyard and sits next to me. “Raud, give me a cookie.”

“What for?”

“Because I want one, or maybe two. Yeah, give me two cookies.”

“You need to earn your cookies.”

“I’m sitting nicely, isn’t that enough?”

“It was when you were a puppy and still learning to sit and stay.”

“I’m still a puppy.”

“In the car you said you were a big dog, that you wouldn’t chew on the steering wheel.”

“No, I’m still a puppy. Would an adult dog do this?” With his rump still on the grass, he begins scooting across the lawn.

“He would if he wanted me to think he needed to go to the vet to get his butt checked.”

Fleegle lies down. “Look, I’m laying down. How about that?”

“Same as the Sit. You already know the Down.”

He jumps up and paws at the lawn. “Holy catbutt, Raud, what’s a dog have to do around here to earn himself a cookie? Is the backyard in some sort of recession?”

I look at him over the top of my book. “Tantrums won’t get you anywhere.”

He nose bumps my book. “Stop staring at those little black dots like they mean something, you’re not fooling anyone, and teach me something new so I can earn some cookies. I need a job.”


Next: Negotiating with Cookies #31 – Green Fleegle

Previous: Negotiating with Cookies #29 – Nap Time

Start at the beginning: Negotiating with Cookies #1 – Stinky Butt

dog fiction

Negotiating with Cookies #29 – Nap Time

Fleegle licks his bowl after finishing his dinner of raw poultry blend and vegetables.

“So how was it?” I ask.

He sits by his bowl. “That was the best dinner I’ve ever had. Give me more.”

“Better than the time you stole the baked ham off the counter?”

“Yep, and as I’ve told you before, it’s not stealing if you leave it out for the taking.”

“Was it better than the baked Cornish hen that disappeared from the grocery bag?”

“Oh yeah, much better. That was way too salty for my taste, at least it would’ve been if I’d been involved in its disappearance.”

“Better than the sugar cookies?”

“Those gave me the toots.” He starts for the den.

“Don’t I know it. Where are you going?”

“My couch in the den to sleep. I think I’ll nap until it’s time to eat again. That meat is a heavy number.”


Next: Negotiating with Cookies #30 – Unemployed

Previous: Negotiating with Cookies #28 – Poultry Blend

Start at the beginning: Negotiating with Cookies #1 – Stinky Butt

dog fiction

Negotiating with Cookies #28 – Poultry Blend

We pull into the parking lot of the Ponderosa Meat Market. Fleegle sniffs the air blowing through the five inch gap at the top of his window. “What is this place? It’s making me excited and I don’t know why.”

I smile. “You’re going to try something new for dinner.”

“I am? Something other than kibble?” He looks around the parking lot and sniffs the air again. “I don’t see the take and bake pizza place.”

“No, not pizza. Stay here, and no chewing on the steering wheel because you’re excited.” I get out of the car, then add through the open window, “Or pulling the padding out of my seat cushion.”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m a big boy now. I don’t do that anymore.”

A few minutes later I return carrying a case of Ponderosa Poultry Blend. I put it in the back and hop in front. Fleegle jumps in back, his tail wagging furiously, and licks the box all over like it’s smothered in gravy. “This smells incredible. What’s in the box?” He grabs one of its corners in his mouth and tries to tear it open.

“Raw chicken frames, necks, backs, all ground together and frozen in two pound packets.”

Eyes glossy, mouth drooling, he pulls at the edge of a plastic packet wrapper sticking out of one of the handle holes on the side of the box.

“Fleegle, leave it and get in front.”

“No, I’m gong to eat this.”

“Plastic wrapper and all? You remember the last time you ate plastic?”

He pauses in his efforts to pull the packet through the handle hole. “Yes, it was a yogurt container I chewed up in the backyard. The plastic made me throw up the next day.”

“In multiple places.”


Next: Negotiating with Cookies #29 – Nap Time

Previous: Negotiating with Cookies #27 – Kibble Run

Start at the beginning: Negotiating with Cookies #1 – Stinky Butt

dog fiction

Negotiating with Cookies #27 – Kibble Run

Fleegle and I park in front of the pet supply store.

“I’m coming with,” Fleegle announces.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way.” I take hold of his leash and we hop out of the car.

The store entrance is lined with dog toys from squeaky balls to fluffy pink bunnies.

Fleegle stops and stares at a fuzzy toy puppy on the top shelf. “Look, Raud, the stork has been here,” he says, referring to the story I told him about where babies come from, that storks bring them.

“Maybe a toy stork.”

Fleegle sniffs in its direction. “Oh, he’s good. Had me fooled, almost as good as you.”

“How do you mean?”

“Sometimes when you’re watching your television you don’t move for so long that I think you might be a stuffed toy. That’s when I bump you in the back of your head with my nose, just to check that you’re real.”

“A cold wet nose.”

“When you’re bald it will be even colder.”

I make a sour face at him. “If I go bald I’ll wear a hat to stay warm.”

“Bald or not, you’re the same Raud to me.”

We hit the food aisle and I pull a bag of kibble off the shelf and Fleegle sniffs it.

“Does it smell fresh?” I ask.

He looks up at me. “Define fresh.”

I look at the sell by date. It’s a long ways out. “As you would say, Fleegle, you could run to the moon and back and it would still be fresh.”

He cocks his head to the side. “Like I said, define fresh.”


Next: Negotiating with Cookies #28 – Poultry Blend

Previous: Negotiating with Cookies #26 – Piercings

Start at the beginning: Negotiating with Cookies #1 – Stinky Butt

dog fiction

Negotiating with Cookies #26 – Piercings

While at the park, the ever observant Fleegle asks, “How does that man blow smoke out of his mouth?”

“By inhaling it first from his cigarette.”

“Does he get cookies for doing it?”


“What about those metal tags hanging from his ears. Did his vet do that?”

“No, that’s jewelry. He probably did that himself or had help from a friend.”

“What kind of friend sticks metal through your ears?”

“It’s considered cool,” I say.

“Cool is a cold nose in your bum.”

“It’s hip.”

He nose bumps my hip. “Hip is where you wobble.”

Exasperated, I say, “Some people just like it.”

“They like dog tags skewered through their ears and inhale smoke? No way. People can’t be that stupid.”

“Yes way, and don’t be so judgmental.”

“You mean they like pain and trouble breathing? And what’s wrong with being judgmental? It saves me from hanging out with people who like pain.”

I see a small movement out of the corner of my eye. “Look, Fleegle, squirrel.”

And he’s off, but soon returns after treeing the squirrel.

I look at him and ask, “And there’s no pain involved for what you have planned for that squirrel?”

“Have I ever caught one?”


Next: Negotiating with Cookies #27 – Kibble Run

Previous: Negotiating with Cookies #25 – Christmas Card

Start at the beginning: Negotiating with Cookies #1 – Stinky Butt

dog fiction

Negotiating with Cookies #25 – Christmas Card

From behind the tripod and camera I say to Fleegle in his new red elf hat, “Try not to move or it will fall off.”

“This stupid elf hat isn’t going anywhere, Raud. You’ve tied it on nice and tight. I could run to the moon and back and it would still be on my head. Where’s your hat? Why am I the one who’s always got to look stupid?”

“My hat got in the way of looking through the viewfinder.”

“This hat is getting in the way of me being a dog.”

“Smile at the camera.”

“Why? That’s like asking me to smile at a rock, and do I smile at rocks? No. Well, I might if it had been scent marked by someone I like. Maybe if you pee on the camera I’ll feel like smiling at it.”

“You want to look grumpy for the Christmas card?”

“It’s sunny and hot, where’s the snow? why are we doing this now?”

I put my hands on my hips. “Because it’ll take you that long to smile at the camera.”

“You know how I feel about things on top of my head.” He stands up and does a full body shake where his skin goes one way and everything else goes the other. The elf hat comes loose and slides down to the side of his face. He swats it off with his paw and starts out of the room.

“Where are you going?” I ask.

“I don’t know. Outside to do dog things that don’t involve little elf hats.” He pauses to think, and then snatches up the hat in his teeth. “On second thought, I know exactly what I’m going to do.” He heads for his dog door to the backyard.

“If you bury it, you’ll be the only elf wearing a muddy hat.”

“Ha, that’s if you find it.”


Next: Negotiating with Cookies #26 – Piercings

Previous: Negotiating with Cookies #24 – Taxes

Start at the beginning: Negotiating with Cookies #1 – Stinky Butt

dog fiction

Negotiating with Cookies # 24 – Taxes

I’m doing my taxes at my desk when Fleegle nose bumps my leg. “Pet me.”

I give him a lame pat on the head. “I’m kind of busy.”

“So what? Pet me.”

I scratch his back. “Go find something to do. I need to finish this.”

“No you don’t. Pet me.”

“It’s my taxes. I have to get them in the mail by midnight or they’ll be late.”

“Plenty of time. Pet me.”

“Seriously, Fleegle, I have to do this.”

He leaves the room but returns a moment later with his ball and drops it in my lap on top of my tax form. “Here’s my ball. Isn’t it nice? Look how gooey I’ve made it. How do you feel now? The ball makes everything better, even taxes.”

“And gooey. Do you think the IRS computers can read through dog drool?” The ball rolls across the page onto the floor. “Those might be deductible. You go through enough of them.”

“No, they’re not, but they’re tax exempt because I find them at the park and they’re free.”


Next: Negotiating with Cookies #25 – Christmas Card

Previous: Negotiating with Cookies #23 – Bribery

Start at the beginning: Negotiating with Cookies #1 – Stinky Butt

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