Me: I now call our weekly house meeting to order. Who will second it?
Me: Oliver, you need to enunciate. A bark won’t do. I need an “Aye” or a “Yes.”
Henry: Don’t mind the bad seed, Cook. I’ll second it, if by doing so we can end this meeting more speedily. My show’s about to come on the Telly, you know.
Me: And what show would that be, Sir Henry?
Henry: Why, “The Royals,” of course! Elizabeth Hurley is quite a dish, as the Americans say. She looks rather queenly in her role and I imagine I could do a nice turn as her lap dog, given the chance to, ahem, cross the pond.
Me: Henry, when will you understand, I’m not booking you a passage to England. Besides, that’s just a show and you’re staying put. Now, let’s get to business, shall we? As you know, because of the drought, the Governor of California issued an edict that we must all cut back our water use by 25 percent. As such, it is our duty to make the sacrifice, and I need to know what measures you each plan to take.
Oliver: Woof, woof!
Henry: What the insipid lad means is that he will take the fall for both of us, for I would no sooner cut my intake of water than walk six kilometers in the desert heat.
Me: Henry, I’ve yet to see walk more than 15 steps to the mailbox. And do I need to remind you that you’re in America where the standard is miles, not kilometers?
Henry: Well, no matter. If I must reduce my water use, I wouldn’t mind you ceasing and desisting drawing me a bath. I’m not fond of that ridiculous pastime of yours. My fur’s plenty cleans, thank you very much!
Me: The baths will continue but to save water, you and Oliver can start taking baths jointly, sharing the same water.
Henry: Heavens! You mean the same dirty water. Have you seen the rubbish that comes off his fur? That rascal is a bundle of dust, dirt and frightening whatnots, and it’s the whatnots I find most disturbing. No inoculation exists that can protect me from the likes of him!
Me: Shared baths, it is. Now, what can we do next to save water?
Henry: What the little beast is trying to say is that he’s willing to give up that infantile frolicking in the water that he does every time you turn on the garden hose to water the plants. You know what I mean, when he dances to his heart’s content and looks like a foolish gadabout.
Me: Sounds good to me, because instead of the garden hose, I’m now going to use the bath water to water the plants. Any other ideas?
Henry: Frankly, Cook, there’s one solution you have yet to consider.
Me: What’s that, Henry?
Henry: You could take the rapscallion to the pound. It’s a sacrifice to be sure, but one I’m certain he’d be willing to take for the team, wouldn’t you laddie?
Oliver: Woof, woof, woof!
Me: Henry! You’re impossible. Did it ever occur to you that I could take you to the pound? I understand there’s quite a demand for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels over there. Though, you’re no longer a spring chicken, getting on in years and all, and isn’t your birthday coming up soon? May be hard to find someone to take you in. Sigh. I wonder if there’s a senior citizen home for dogs? Hmm…
Henry: Well, yes, of course. I see how this works. Make an innocent suggestion and you’re kicked to the curb. Very well, then. At what time are you giving us a bath? Thought I should tell you I’m looking forward to sharing my bath water with Oliver, but first, I think my show is about to start. I’m happy to give little Ollie a scrub afterwards if it helps you. I’ll tuck him in, too, and read him a bedtime story. I don’t mind at all, really I don’t. He’s quite, ahem, adorable you know and really relies on me to show him the ropes, don’t you, laddie dear? Don’t know what I’d do without him, Cook, really I don’t. Seems you need me to help you care for the grimy urchin, I mean, pet. Now, where was I? Ah yes, “The Royals” awaits.
Me: Well, I’m glad we could work this all out. I think between us we’ve managed to reduce our water use by 3.2 gallons per month, give or take, and that includes shipping our laundry to Renee, of Renee Johnson Writes, who claims she has plenty of water where she lives and is happy to do it.
Oliver: Woof, woof!
At which, Henry makes a hasty exit to catch his favorite show (though he naps more than watches), and Oliver trails behind him, chomping down on Henry’s tail like nobody’s business. In other words, par for the course in this household hodgepodge.