Friday, May 8, 2009


The CIA sent us another prototype dog to observe this week--his name is Nate, a 1-year old black lab who refuses to be still for a second, so this is the best picture I can get.

Nate is about as vacant between the ears as a 16-year-old boy loose in Vegas with $5,000 and no supervision and no scruples. He sticks his nose where it doesn't belong, then attempts to bite, torment or chase anything new to him, which is apparently everything, including Cheryl's collection of yarn and papers in my office and anything in a trash can.

And like most labs he is naturally likable--just a big, goofy kid--though you could not get Willow to admit it. As for Nate's boyish charms, she is cold then indifferent then annoyed then frantic then bored then angry then sad then pitiful, and she definitely is blaming me for Nate, even apologizing for being mean to me in the past and promising to be a good girl (though I'm not buying it) if only I will make Nate go away.

At such a distance from my youth, it's difficult to remember if I passed though much of a Nate stage or if I spent, as I suspect, much more time brooding like a self-conscious Doberman or a worrying like needy Vizsla. I'm pretty sure I was some sort of dog.

We have Nate until Monday. In the meantime I have to remember that he's a trained dog and we are set to take him on a secret operation tomorrow night, one that only Nate is trained for but of course we are not. I've got a bad feeling. Will it be a code word that sets him off and turns him from a goofball to an assassin (or worse)? Whatever happens, you've got to love this puppy. Yes you do.

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