Negotiating with Cookies #41 – Invisible Love

While sitting in the car at a red light, Fleegle and I watch a dog standing motionless in his front yard. “Why doesn’t that dog leave his yard?” Fleegle asks. “There’s no fence and lots to smell in the neighbor’s yard. I can smell a fresh one from here.”

“That’s gross.”

“What? It’s true. Don’t be such a prude.”

“This is a long light. And I’m really hungry,” I say. “I wish lights like these had carhop service.”

“What’s carhop service?”

“I’ll show you sometime. You’ll love it.”

The dog still hasn’t moved. If I hadn’t seen his head move I’d think he was a piece of lawn art. Fleegle barks at him. “Oh, don’t do that,” I say. “It’s not his fault. Do you see the little white flags that run along the edge of the lawn around the house?”


“See the little black box on his collar?”


“If he gets too close to the flags, the black box will give him an electric shock. It’s called an invisible fence.”

“Like the time I chewed on the cord for the television?”

“Yeah, like that.”

Fleegle cocks his head to the side, confused. “Why would he wear a collar that would do that to him?”

“His family put it on him.”

“Don’t they love him?”

“I’m sure they do,” I say.

“So what is it then? They’re so heavily into the S&M that they need to drag the dog into it too?”

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Hearing Voices

Ray heard voices when he meditated. They sounded like muffled snippets of conversation coming from another room. Not much more than gibberish, really, but twice he’d heard complete sentences, soft and intimate, spoken in the space between his thoughts and they seemed meant for him and him alone.

The first was: “You’re going to die soon.” Continue reading Hearing Voices

Negotiating with Cookies #40 – Fleegle Hears a h’Hoo

While camping in the woods, Fleegle nose bumps me awake in our tent. I flick on the flashlight and point it at him, the fur on his head is bunched up in wrinkles and his ears are on alert, listening.

“Did you hear that?” he asks.

I rub my eyes. “Hear what?”

“You didn’t hear it?”

“No, what?”

“It must be very quiet in your world with your hearing being so weak.”

“With you around? Not really,” I say. “This thing you heard, what did it sound like?”

“Like an owl farting.”

“I didn’t know they could.”

“I didn’t either. Why do you think I’m so troubled? All won’t be right in the woods if it’s hoo-h’HOO-toot-toot.”

I flick off the flashlight. “Fleegle, go back to sleep.”


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Previous: Negotiating with Cookies #39 – Fleegle Brut

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Negotiating with Cookies #39 – Fleegle Brut

While on a walk in the woods, Fleegle stops to roll in the brush, grinding his shoulder against one spot on the ground in particular.

“That better not be coyote poop you’re rolling in,” I say.

He stops rolling and stands, tan smear marks along his shoulder and flank. “I smell so cool now. Here, sniff.” He runs over.

I pinch my nose and make a sour face. “That is the most pungent, disgusting smell. Why, Fleegle, why?”

“What is it you say? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” He runs back and rolls in the stink some more. “A fragrant scent is in the nose of the sniffer.”

“It appears we’re going to test out your new shampoo sooner than planned. You have a choice, Fruity Mango or Lilac Love?”

“Don’t you have anything more macho like Coyote Brut?”

“Isn’t that what you’re wearing?”


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Previous: Negotiating with Cookies #38 – Fleegle Finds Purpose

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Negotiating with Cookies #38 – Fleegle Finds Purpose

I’m sitting in the yard with a book on discovering one’s passion when Fleegle ambles over and leans against me. “Whatcha reading?” he asks.

“This book says that if I follow my joy it will lead me to my life’s purpose.”

His tail starts wagging. “Well if you’re looking for your life’s purpose, I better go get you my ball. I love playing fetch,” he says and runs off to find it.


Next: Negotiating with Cookies #39 – Fleegle Brut

Previous: Negotiating with Cookies #37 – Fleegle Negotiates

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Negotiating with Cookies #37 – Fleegle Negotiates

Fleegle spots me getting the spray bottle of Flea Flicker out of the dog cabinet and hightails it through the dog door flaps into the backyard. I step outside through the patio doors, look about the yard, but he’s nowhere to be seen now that he’s made it to his hiding spot somewhere in the tall bamboo that lines the back fence, but I can hear him just fine.

“No way are you spraying that stuff on me. It stinks.”

“I know,” I say. “Like cloves.”

“I don’t want to smell like some bohemian college chick with her hippy cigarette.”

“I guess fleas don’t like the smell of cloves.”

“Are you questioning my hygiene? Point to any spot on me and I’ll show you I can lick it clean.”

“You’re scratching like you have fleas.”

The bamboo rustles. “That’s just food allergies. Too much kibble, not enough pizza.”

“You’re not fooling me.”

“Okay, so what if I have fleas. I love fleas. Fleas are my friends.”

Just hearing him scratch somewhere in the bamboo makes me itch. “They’re no friends of mine.”

“You need to be more accepting of others, Raud. They give me something to do when I’m in-between thoughts.”

I step inside the kitchen and return a moment later with Fleegle’s cookie jar. I shake the jar, biscuits of different sizes rattle around inside. “Okay, Fleegle, what’s it going to take?”

His face emerges from a thick cluster of bamboo. “Two,” he says. “Two big cookies. Not the Chihuahua cookies.”

“It’s a deal,” I say, reach into the jar, and take out two biscuits. “One now, and the other after.”

Fleegle crosses the lawn to me, drooling. “Shake on it,” he says.

We do and I give him the first biscuit. As he crunches away on it, I commence spraying along his back with the little pump bottle. Pump, pump, pump… He suddenly darts away. “Hey, I thought we had a deal,” I say.

“We do. It’s two cookies per pump, not the whole spray bath.” He cocks his head to the side, thinking. “Now let’s see, I counted nine pumps from my neck to my tail. Looks like you owe me for eight of them.” He scratches his flank with his back leg while remaining standing. “Boy, Raud, I can feel these fleas breeding, their numbers are increasing exponentially. I think I’ll go take a nap on your bed.”

I look in the cookie jar, hoping if I have enough.


Next: Negotiating with Cookies #38 – Purpose

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Negotiating with Cookies #36 – Fleas

Fleegle drinks from the bird fountain as I doodle on my notepad in the sun, thinking up another post for Fleegle’s ongoing adventures and imagining what he would say if he really could talk. I stop doodling and write down: Fleegle rolls onto his back in the grass and slurs around the gooey tennis ball in his mouth, “I wuv my ball.”

As I write, Fleegle sidles up to me, eyeballs what I’m writing, then rubs his wet snout on the page. “What kind of sappy stuff is that?” he asks as he sits back on his haunches and starts scratching at the side of his head with his back paw.

My mouth drops open at what I’m hearing. He really can talk.

He continues, “I should be saying something like: Get off me, fleas, before I crush you like this ball.”

I continue staring and wonder if that mushroom soup I had for lunch was made of “special” mushrooms picked by Grateful Dead fans in the woods.

“What’s wrong, Raud? You didn’t think I could read, huh? That chicken scratch of yours is pretty much undecipherable, could be ancient cuneiform if I didn’t know better, but I’ve had plenty of practice cracking that code. I like to read what I shred. Unless it’s TV Guide, that I just shred.”


Next: Negotiating with Cookies #37 – Fleegle Negotiates

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Negotiating with Cookies #35 – Cheating

“That dog has the fastest legs of any dog I’ve met,” Fleegle says about Ozzy, the dog he’s playing fetch with.

Ozzy returns with the ball. I trade him a treat for it and place it in the Chuck-It. “That’s why I taught you to cheat,” I say.

“I don’t cheat, I’m observant. Ozzy just doesn’t spot when you fake a throw in one direction and pull a switch at the last second.”

“But you do.”

“Raud, let me tell you about the Labrador and the hare.”


Next: Negotiating with Cookies #36 – Fleas

Previous: Negotiating with Cookies #34 – Monkey’s

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

Negotiating with Cookies #34 – Monkey’s

I open the door leading to the garage and Fleegle appears out of nowhere at my heels.

“Where are we going, Raud?”

“I feel like meatballs.”

“Ooo, Monkey Sub Shop?”

He jumps in the car ahead of me and we back out of the garage.

“Maybe Rich will give you some meat scraps to give to me,” Fleegle says and begins to drool. The man who makes the sandwiches doesn’t like to waste the end pieces of the meat and gives them to customers with dogs.

“You never know.”

*   *   *

When I return to the car with my meatball sub that includes a free nap, I also have a small bundle of end pieces and meat shavings for Fleegle. They consist of roast beef, pastrami, ham, turkey, salami, pepperoni, etc. If they put it on a sandwich, it leaves tidbits in the slicer for the lucky dog that shows up that day.

Bouncing from seat to seat, Fleegle repeats his mantra, “Oh yum, oh yum.”

He shoves his nose at the bundle as I open the car door.

“Scoot over,” I say. He stands shotgun and I get behind the wheel.

“I love Monkey Subs. They’re the best ever,” he says.

“But you’ve never had one, and I don’t think you’ve ever snatched my sandwich off my desk. That’s something I wouldn’t forget.”

He nose bumps the bundle in my hand. “But I’ve had most everything that goes into them. Boy, could I design them a sandwich fit for a dog.”


Next: Negotiating with Cookies #35 – Cheating

Previous: Negotiating with Cookies #33 – Fleegle Squeaks Out

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

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