Negotiating with Cookies – Doughnut Breeds

While sitting next to me on the couch watching television, Fleegle asks, “You said I was one of the sporting breed. What’s a sporting breed?”

“There are four groups of sporting breeds, grouped by how they hunt. You’re in the retrieving group along with poodles, spaniels, goldens and a few others.”

“So a sporting dog is a dog that hunts?”

I look at Fleegle, sprawled on the cushion next to me. The closet he’s come to hunting is wearing his orange safety vest while on walks in the forest so he’s not mistaken for game, that and his sprint from the patio door to the bird feeder after the squirrels having a lunch of sunflower seeds. “Yes, loosely defined, you’re a sporting breed.”

“Does that make you a sporting person?”

“No, hunting isn’t my thing.”

“Not even when hunting for the missing remote?”

“That doesn’t count.”

He looks at the television a moment. “So dogs are bred for purpose and grouped by that purpose?”

“Yes, there are sporting breeds, herding breeds, companion breeds like pugs, just to name a few.”

“Are people grouped in the same way? Like those who hunt, those who work, and those who watch television?”

“No, but you probably thinks so.”

“There are those who eat doughnuts and those who don’t. I love doughnuts, and you belong to one of the doughnut breeds, you’re a glazed cinnamon twist.” He rolls onto his back, exposing his pink belly for a rub. “Are you sure I’m a sporting breed? I feel more like a pug, bred for the couch and the warmth of a person’s lap. Rub my belly, please.”


Previous Negotiating with Cookies: Souls

Negotiating with Cookies – Souls

I turn out the light on the nightstand and roll onto my side to sleep.

“Raud, do you believe in souls?” Fleegle asks in the darkness.

“Yes. Do you?”

“I don’t know. Do I get one too or are they another one of those things only people get, like remotes? Do dogs have souls? Do I have a soul? Dogs definitely don’t get remotes.”

“I believe you do, and you’re probably more in touch with it than most people are theirs.”

“You can touch your soul? Can I carry it like a stick?”

“It’s with you whether you carry it or not.”

“Oh, like a run in with a skunk.”

“Some say you are your soul more so than your body, and the soul carries the body like you would a stick, and when you die it’s the same as dropping the stick and picking up a new one.”

“The new stick being a new body?”

“That would be reincarnation.”

“As a stick.” He’s quiet for a moment. I can feel him thinking in the darkness. “I wouldn’t want to be reincarnated as a stick, not after all the ones I’ve chewed up.”

“That would be your karma.”

“You mean my soul comes with a car? It better have a sunroof.”

“Goodnight, Fleegle.”


Next Negotiating with Cookies: Doughnut Breeds

Previous Negotiating with Cookies: Fleegle Leads Satsang

Negotiating with Cookies – Fleegle Leads Satsang

“What am I?” Fleegle asks.

“You’re a dog, silly.”

“My body is a dog, but what am I beyond that?”

“You’re a Labrador Retriever dog, one of the sporting breeds.”

“Yes, but beyond that?”

“Fleegle, you’re giving me brain strain. You’re a chocolate lab, and that’s all I’ve got.”

“But what tells my body to run and chew on sticks?”

“You do.”

“Yes, but who is that? What is that?”

I glance out the window to see if there are any squirrels at the bird feeder for him to chase away, but no luck. “You’re Fleegle.”

“A name, a thought, a breath passing across lips.”

“Fleegle, on our walk in the woods this morning, did you eat any strange mushrooms?”

“Why? Am I the mushroom and the soil it grows in?”

I shake my head in wonder.

“Who are you, Raud?”

“I’m the one who pays for the kibble.”

“But you are much more than that.”

“I also pay for the Chickie Puffs.”

As he ambles out of the room, he says, “Yes, but what are you beyond your actions? I point at the moon and you look at my paw.”

*   *   *

Later in the day I notice Fleegle sitting in the hall staring at the wall. “What are you up to?” I ask while wondering if a should ask at all.

“Meditating,” he says without looking at me as he continues to gaze at the wall.

“You are not. Dogs don’t meditate.”

“I am much more than a dog, and that which is more than a dog is meditating.”

I click on the hall light and take a closer look at the wall. I had a sandwich earlier for lunch and had been rushing through the house with it in my hand to answer the phone. I remember bumping into the wall. It never ceases to amaze me how much mess one person and a dog can make. And there it is at about shoulder height on the wall, a glob of mayonnaise. No wonder people used to live as nomads, surrender to the mess and move on.

“So you’re meditating on mayonnaise?” I ask.

“When it runs a little further down the wall within reach of my tongue, meditation will be over.” He glances up at me. “Or you could drag a chair over here for me to meditate on.”

“Yes, or I could go get the meditation sponge.”

“No, not the sponge, that would rush the mayonnaise and you mustn’t force the Tao when meditating.”


Next Negotiating with Cookies: Souls

Previous Negotiating with Cookies: Marked

Negotiating with Cookies – Marked

While standing around at the dog park, a little black Chihuahua named Toro runs over to me and lifts his leg to pee on my pant leg. He’s too fast and I’m too slow and he gets me, then before I can shake my pant leg off Fleegle is at my side lifting his leg on me.

“Hey, what the @#$%&! Fleegle.”

“But Toro peed on you.”

“Yeah, so now it’s okay for you to pee on me too?” I shake my head, always trying to add a physical gesture to the words for him, kind of like saying it in two languages. “I don’t think so.”

“But everyone will think you belong to Toro.” He makes a move to lift his leg on me again. “You belong to me.”

I dodge his approach. “Then think of me as your bed. You don’t pee on your bed, do you?”

“I would if Toro peed on it. Stop moving, you need to be marked.”

“I’ve already been marked and once is enough.”

Fleegle pauses, looking up at me all doe-eyed. “Does that mean you’re going home with Toro?”

“Yes, and I’m leaving you here to live in the park.”


Next Negotiating with Cookies: Fleegle Leads Satsang

Previous Negotiating with Cookies: Let’s Play Catch

Negotiating with Cookies – Let’s Play Catch

Fleegle is captivated watching a man talk to a woman companion at the dog park. “Look at that man talk while he eats. I can see him mash the raisins on his cookie between words. Boy, he’s losing a lot of food out of the side of his mouth. Let’s go stand by him.”

“No thanks. I was taught to chew my food with my mouth closed and only speak after I swallowed.”

“That’s very sensible of you, Raud, he’s only sharing his cookie in his own way. Instead of offering a piece of it to his friend, he’s spitting crumbs at her. Looks like a fun game. Will you spit crumbs at me?”

“No. That’s disgusting.”

“Raud, you need to loosen up and learn to laugh, especially when your mouth is full of food.”

“Like full of lima beans and broccoli?”

“Oh no, not broccoli, pizza, you could spit pepperoni slices at me. But that’s for later. You could start now with getting yourself a raisin cookie like that man.” His ears perk up as he glances over at him. “Ooo, did you see that? He just hit her in the forehead with a raisin. She needs to work on her catch. I totally would’ve gotten that.”


Next Negotiating with Cookies: Marked

Previous Negotiating with Cookies: More Chickie Puffs

Negotiating with Cookies – More Chickie Puffs

Fleegle trots over to where I’m sitting at my desk and nose bumps my leg. “Raud, let’s go to the feed store.”


“I don’t know, it’ll be fun.”

I stare at him, waiting for the full reason.

His ears go back. “Georgina is running low on Chickie Puffs.”

“No way. How can a three ounce chick eat her way through a five pound bag of Chickie Puffs in just two weeks?”

He avoids eye contact and says, “I’ve been teaching her to share.”

“Oh, have you now.”

“And Buck likes Chickie Puffs too.”

“Uh-huh, anyone else?”

“Well… You. You’ve been eating them every morning this week. I replaced some of your oatmeal with Chickie Puffs.”

“Replaced? You’ve been eating my oatmeal? Dry?”

“Yeah, you said horse ate oats and they have such long legs I thought your oatmeal would make me taller.” He looks down at his legs, then up at my face. “You enjoyed your Chickie Puffs this morning, didn’t you? Maybe we should get a ten pound bag this time.”


Next Negotiating with Cookies: Let’s Play Catch

Previous Negotiating with Cookies: The Spotted Pig

Negotiating with Cookies – The Spotted Pig

“What’s this place?” Fleegle asks as I park the car in front of a pub with a giant pig hanging over the entrance.

“The Spotted Pig. They have a dog friendly patio for lunch.”

“What’s dog friendly?”

“They allow dogs, like Home Depot.”

“Oh, so they have hammers for me to pee on too?”

“No. No peeing once we go inside. If you have to pee you can take care of your business on the parking strip.”

There was once grass on the parking strip, but the dog trade killed it. Fleegle gives the dirt a sniff, then says, “You know how you always complain about the bathrooms at gas stations? I’m good. I don’t need to pee.”

We go through the gate to the patio around back and take a seat at a small table, all of which have water bowls next to them. A waitress arrives and fills my water glass and Fleegle’s water bowl, then hands me a menu. As I look over the menu, Fleegle drains his water bowl.

The waitress returns and refills it. “Thirsty dog. I’ll be back to take your order in a minute.”

Fleegle drains it again, burps, then sees me perusing the menu and asks, “What are we having? Do they have pizza? I smell pepperoni.”

“You’re getting the raw special with broccoli, and I’m having the shepherd’s pie.”

Fleegle rolls back on his haunches and tilts his head to the side. “I get broccoli and you get pie?”


“In what world is that fair?”

“We’re definitely not in Fleegle World.”

Fleegle slowly shakes his head. “That’s for sure. In Fleegle World I’d be doing the ordering and you’d be sniffing the parking strip.”

When the waitress returns, he listens to me order with anticipation, ever hopeful for pizza, but when he hears broccoli his ears go forward with a determined look, then when the waitress heads back inside, he follows her.

I clear my throat. “Where do you think you’re going?”

With a grumpy look over his shoulder, he keeps walking and says, “I’m going to find out where they keep their hammers?”

 Next Negotiating with Cookies: More Chickie Puffs

Previous Negotiating with Cookies: Telekinesis

Negotiating with Cookies – Telekinesis

Out in the backyard, I find a stick about two feet long and push one end into the lawn, then sit down cross-legged in front of it and begin staring at it.

Fleegle watches from his spot in the shade under the bamboo where he chews on a stick of his own. “Whatcha doing, Raud?”

“I had a dream last night where I could move things with my mind. I was a street performer and I made flags fly above the audience’s heads like magic carpets. The people loved it.”

“So you’re trying to move the stick by staring at it?”

I nod. “Yes, exactly.”

“Will we take a magic carpet to work instead of the car?”

“Maybe, if I can move this stick.”

“What you call a car, I call my kennel, my home away from home. A carpet isn’t going to give me the den-like feeling I like,” he says, gets up and grabs the stick out of the lawn. “You’re going to have to practice your mind powers with something else because every stick back here belongs to me, though I might part with one or two for the right price.”

“And what is the going cookie rate for a stick?”


Next Negotiating with Cookies: The Spotted Pig

Previous Negotiating with Cookies: Reminders

Negotiating with Cookies – Reminders

While Fleegle and I sit on a park bench reading in the sun, a man with a cane takes a seat at the far end of the bench and starts reading a newspaper. Fleegle quietly gets up, goes over and sits next to him, but without paying him any attention. Anyone walking by would think Fleegle belonged to the man with the cane and not to me.

After a little while, Fleegle gets up and moves back next to me.

“What was that about?” I ask.

“I was just reminding you of what it was like before you got me. I bet you saw me sitting over there and went, boy, I wish I had a dog like that, so good looking and kind.”

I get up and move to the next park bench.

“What are you doing?” Fleegle asks.

“Just a reminder.”

Fleegle glances at the man with the cane, absorbed reading his newspaper. “I don’t think he’s going to wish he had human just like you. You’re not nearly as good looking or kind.”


Next Negotiating with Cookies: Telekinesis

Previous Negotiating with Cookies: Cell Phones

Negotiating with Cookies – Cell Phones

While strolling through the park, Fleegle observes that everyone we’ve passed, including people being walked by their dogs, have been absorbed in their phones.

“Who do you think they’re talking to?” he asks. “The voices on the other end sound like chipmunks. Why do so many people need to talk to chipmunks? The squirrels aren’t going to be happy about chipmunks messing with their breeding project.” He stops to sniff a weed, thinking. “Are chipmunks in charge of the psychic hotline as seen on TV? Are people looking to them for hope and meaning?”

“Or maybe they’re just talking to their friends or family, or simply twiddling with their phone’s apps.”

“You mean they have apps to give your life hope and meaning?” Fleegle shakes his head. “I don’t think they’re talking to anyone but themselves.”

“But what about the chipmunks you hear on the other end?”

“Echoes of their own voices coming back at them.”

“So everyone is walking around talking to themselves? That sounds a little coo-coo to me.”

“Yes, but you of all people know that people are coo-coo. No sane species talks so much that they never let their brains rest. Last night you were even talking in your sleep. You kept saying, Hello? Hello? Can you hear me now?”

Fleegle stops to pee on a garbage can. “I’m putting phones on my list, right next to television remotes, leaf blowers and lawn mowers.”

A woman passes by, staring into her phone like she’s following a map on its screen.

“Ooo, did you see that?” Fleegle asks. “She has her nails painted to match her phone. Maybe you should paint your nails to match your dog. Do you think you can find such a beautiful shade of chocolate? If you can’t, you can always use the real thing.”

“You mean smear chocolate on my nails?”

“Oh, that’s a good idea. I was thinking you could tape the fur I shed to your nails.”


Next Negotiating with Cookies: Reminders

Previous Negotiating with Cookies: @#$%&

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