Chapter 13 – Digging

Fleegle and Franny sit inside the house watching me through the screen door as I plant shrubs in what used to be the front lawn.

As I dig the hole for the last one, Fleegle says, “Raud, let us out. We can help you dig your holes,” Fleegle says.

Franny scratches at the screen door. “And fill them too.”

“We can even do both at the same time,” Fleegle adds.

I lean against my shovel. “We tried that, and then you saw the neighbor’s cat across the street and went for a chase.”

“He taunted me. He called me slow poke. How could I not chase him?”

Franny wags her tail. “I didn’t chase the cat, I’m a good girl, I was chasing the slow poke.”

Fleegle gives her a look and grunts his dissatisfaction. “Please, Raud, let us out. I need to mark all of those new shrubs as mine before the other dogs in the neighborhood do.”

“So you want me to let you out so you can pee on my new plants?”

“It’s fertilizer, Raud. They need it to grow and thrive.”

I snort my derision at that. “The lawn in the backyard shows otherwise.”

“But Raud, you need supervision. You’re doing it all wrong.”

Franny looks at Fleegle. “You mean there’s a right and wrong to digging a hole?”

“Of course not. It’s just about the digging, but he doesn’t know that.”

I put my hand on my hip and give the two of them a hard stare. “I do have ears, you know, and though my hearing may not be as sharp as the two of yours, I can still hear you over here just fine. You need to learn to whisper if you’re going to talk about someone behind their back.”

Fleegle stands up and his ears go back. “Speaking of which, you better look behind you.”

Franny paws at the screen door. “It’s the gnome, Raud.”

“I’m not falling for that.”

“But he’s carrying a sharp stick,” Fleegle says.

“Ouch!” I shout and dance away from the source of the sharp pain in my calf. “Bloody wasp. Why sting me? I did nothing to you.”

“Bloody gnome is more like it,” Franny says.

There’s no gnome, only a wasp buzzing me. I head inside to wait for it to find trouble somewhere else.

Fleegle moves aside as I open the screen door. “If you dug up my yard it wouldn’t bother me, but I like digging. The gnome apparently doesn’t.”

Franny slowly shakes her head. “Nah, it’s not the digging that set him off, it’s taking his truck out for a spin that pissed him off. He must really identify with that truck, I mean, look at him. He’s so small, even smaller than me, and the truck is so huge. It even has an extra step just to climb into it.”

I shake my head in disbelief. “A compensating gnome? Now I’ve heard it all, Franny the Freudian.” I close the screen door behind me. “Let me know when the wasp is gone.”

Next chapter – The Biggest Brain Of Them All

Previous chapter – The Sky Is Falling

First chapter – The Puppy

Negotiating with Cookies – The Meat Special

I hang up the phone after talking with Fleegle’s breeder, Suzie.

“So what did she say?” Fleegle asks, his front paws bouncing on the floor next to my desk. “Has my parents’ matchmaker been busy making matches?”

“Um, yes. She has a litter right now with a yellow female available.”

Fleegle darts to the garage. “Let’s go, Raud.”

“Hold up. She’s too young to leave her mom and the puppy nursery. Suzie says she needs to fatten up first.”

“Well then, what are you waiting for? Call the pizza joint and have them deliver an extra large ‘meat special’ to the puppy nursery. Pizza has done wonders for your waistline.”


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Previous Negotiating with Cookies – Stumped

Negotiating with Cookies – Stumped

“You can’t still be thinking about thinking?” Fleegle says.

I rub my temples with the heels of my palms. “I am but I’m stumped. I might need your help deciding what breed we should get.”

Fleegle sits down and cocks his head to the side. “So all of your thinking about thinking has led you to conclude you need someone else to do your thinking for you?”

“Um, yes.”

“Raud, it takes a brave man to admit his limitations. I’m proud of you.”

“Um, thanks, I guess.”

Fleegle wags his tail. “If you answer this one simple question you’ll know exactly what to do.”

“Okay, what’s the question?”

“Am I a good dog?”

“You’re the best dog ever.”

“Then let’s drive down to Eugene and visit my breeder, Suzie, and pick out a puppy. I’ll even do the choosing, or do you need to think about that?”

“No, you can choose. You’re the dog expert.”

“Then she’ll be blond.”


“That’s right, she, but you can think on that while I pick her out.”

“And I suppose you have a name for her already?”

“I do. Fifi, which stands for Friend of Fleegle.”


Next Negotiating with Cookies – The Meat Special

Previous Negotiating with Cookies – Aussie?

Negotiating with Cookies – Aussie?

“Still trying to think of what breed to get, huh?” Fleegle says.

“Yeah, how about an Australian Shepherd?” I say.

“Have you ever seen an Aussie take a nap?”


“Don’t you find that odd? I mean, in our daily drives around town we see lots of Labradors taking it easy in their yards all the time, napping on the front porch, napping in the sun on the front lawn.”

“Or napping in the bamboo like you.”

“Exactly, but never an Aussie. They’re always up and moving about, like they’re herding flies. Don’t underestimate the importance of a napping dog, Raud, because if your new buddy from Australia isn’t napping, neither are you, and you do love your naps.”

“Hmm… You have a point.” I scratch my head. “What about a Border Collie?”

“I’ll ask you again, have you ever seen a Border Collie take a nap? Same answer and throw in a lot of staring. They really love to stare. Have you ever tried to take a nap while someone is staring at you?”


Next Negotiating with Cookies – Stumped

Previous Negotiating with Cookies – GSD?

Negotiating with Cookies #6 – Flies and Opossums

Still unable to sleep, I listen to Fleegle snore. He sounds like a train struggling up a steep grade with a freight load of fat Labradors. I nudge him with my foot under the covers. “Straighten out your neck and maybe that freight you’re pulling won’t be so heavy.”

“The circadian rhythm of my snores not lulling you to sleep? I’m out like a light when you snore,” Fleegle says sleepily. “I love pizza, but I love it even more because it makes you snore and I know exactly where you are without even looking.”

“And it gives me far out dreams,” I say.

he rolls onto his back, paws pointing toward the ceiling. “When I can’t sleep I don’t bother trying.”

“I know, you go outside and hunt opossums.”

“That’s not me, that’s Buck from across the street. No one knows yet about the hole he dug under his fence. He’s a little obsessed with opossums. Did you know he takes his kills inside his house through his dog door?”

“No, I didn’t.”

“I prefer chasing flies to chasing rodents.”

“What about squirrels? They’re part of the rodent family and you chase them.”

“They don’t count. They’re too cute to be rodents.”

“That’s not what you say when you make them mad by chasing them up trees and they try to poop on your head from the branches above.”

I feel the bed move as he gets up. “Now I can’t sleep,” he says. “I wish flies flew at night. Will you turn the light on and wake them up?”

I shrug. “Might as well.”

The bamboo outside the bedroom window rustles even though there isn’t any wind.

“There goes Buck, hunting,” Fleegle says. “Poor opossums.”

I snap on the light, waking a fly on the shade. Fleegle is after it in an instant

“Poor flies,” I say.

Next: Negotiating with Cookies #7 – Om

Previous: Negotiating With Cookies #5 – Furbabies

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

Negotiating with Cookies #4 – The Garage Sale

I gather up an armful of tired looking toys and pass Fleegle in the kitchen on my way to the garage.

“Where are you going with all my toys?” Fleegle asks.

“We’re having a garage sale.”

He cocks his head to the side. “You’re going to sell my toys?”

“They’ve been sitting untouched in your toy basket for so long I figured you were bored with them.

He follows me out to the garage, but now he’s carrying something in his mouth and it’s not a toy. “What have you got there?” I ask.

“Your remote to the television,” he slurs around the hard plastic. “It’s your donation to the garage sale. Think of it as going on a diet for the mind and you’re cutting out visual junk food.”

I do a 180 and return the armful of toys to his basket and he drops the remote back on the coffee table. Détente is re-established.

In the kitchen, he grabs his crate by its door and starts dragging it toward the garage.

“What are you up to now?” I ask.

“I’m going to sell my crate at your garage sale.”

Next: Negotiating with Cookies #5 – Furbabies

Previous: Negotiating with Cookies #3 – The Remote

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