Henry and I are not on speaking terms, and for the record, he started it.
You see, Henry, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who descends from royalty, refuses to save my life. And on this, he won’t budge.
Not that my life is in any danger at the moment, mind you, but it’s the principle of the thing.
I’ve been seeing some heartwarming news stories about dogs doing heroic deeds by saving their owners’ lives. There was one who rescued his owner, a blind man who fell off a subway platform and onto the tracks, moments before a train pulled into the station. Another rescued his owner, after he had fallen down a slope, hidden from the main road. Apparently, the dog ran up to the street, barking like crazy until he got someone’s attention and led them to his master. These are the kind of stories that remind you why dogs are called man’s best friend.
Which made me wonder, would Henry do the same for me?
Now I figure I can’t count on Oliver. After all, he’s a 10-pound lightweight. If I slipped and tumbled down a ravine, I doubt very much he could drag me up the hill to safety. He’s totally adorable but useless as far as saving lives goes. Unless I was one of his toys, I wouldn’t have a fighting chance.
But Henry’s another story. Or so I thought. So I asked him.
“No,” he said rather matter-of-factly and without hesitation.
“But what if I fell in the middle of the road and sprained my ankle or a gust of wind suddenly blew sand in my eyes and I panicked because I couldn’t see where I was going. Would you guide me to safety?”
“That depends, Cook. Would this be before or after dinner?”
He paused for a moment. “Would there be anyone else at home who could prepare my meal?”
“Well then, Cook, your imagined mishap would get us both into a fine mess. You’d be helpless and I’d be famished. Who would take care of me, I ask you?”
Flabbergasted, I blurted, “Seriously, I need to know if you’re going to be there for me!”
“Frankly, it would be unseemly for me to be seen barking in desperation for help or dragging you to the top of a ravine. I’m not Super Dog, you know.”
“Cook, are you forgetting that I’m royalty? Noblesse oblige doesn’t extend to the help, even if they are in charge of the kitchen. Incidentally, were those other dogs descendants of the throne? No, I would think not.”
“But what if I’m hit by a car?” I pressed on, beginning to believe my own scenarios were going to come to fruition.
“I’ll be sure to close my eyes so that I can’t be a witness,” he replied in a rather cavalier tone.
“But will you at least stay by my side and give me comfort until the paramedics arrive?” How can he say no to that?
“It depends. Would there be bushes of berries nearby to graze on? I’m going to need all the sustenance I can muster, what with you out of commission.”
“So that’s it, then?”
“Well, Cook, I suppose if something happens to incapacitate you, I will personally bite Oliver in the rear. He will yelp so hard that it will call attention to your plight and surely someone will come along to help you. As for me, I will be able to maintain my dignity and pretend not to know such a calamitous-ridden human as you. Now, that’s something, isn’t it?”
I’ll take it!
Wait, on second thought, maybe a 10-pound lightweight can do the job after all. It certainly doesn’t hurt to find out, right?
“You know, Henry, I’m going to ask Oliver if he’ll help me. Seems to me he has plenty of youth and vigor on his side and, well, you’re not getting any younger, I suppose. I mean, haven’t you noticed how much quicker he is at taking the stairs than you? Why you’re seven in human years, which makes you in dog years, hmm…middle-aged?”
Henry bristled at that and gave me a forlorn, woe-is-me look. Then, jumping up on the comfy chair that I was sitting on, he nestled into my lap.
Grinning sheepishly, he asked, “Why do you need that rapscallion when you’ve got me?”
Oh, Henry. Why, indeed.
So, how about you? Think your pet has what it takes to be a hero?