Rufus the Invincible!

I wrote this back when I had a mail carrier that came to my house. I no longer have that luxury. But the concept below still applies.

We all know that cats chase mice. Raccoons steal garbage. Monkeys eat bananas. Birds poop on heads. There are plenty of comical and stereotypical clichés that exist to crystallize the genetic nature of many animals. Take the classic: Dogs hate cats. How many old Looney Tunes cartoons featured this premise? As a kid I thought this was undoubtedly true. The first time I saw a platonic dog-cat interaction I was flabbergasted. Surely, this is an anomaly and scientists should be called in to investigate. Then I saw it again. And again. Now I know that rivalry isn’t as concrete as I used to believe. Their hatred for each other — originally conveyed as some sort of Hatfields vs. McCoys rivalry — is just a bad rap.

There is another battle of a similar nature that I think may also be more psychological than biological. The age-old Dog vs. Mailman.

My dog Rufus is the protector of the house regardless of how truly un-intimidating he is. He’s only 10 pounds and thinks he’s much more imposing of a presence than reality dictates. Please don’t tell him. We just let him go with it. While he might not be a brutish hulk of canine fury he compensates for it with his wits. For instance, he knows I don’t like blackbirds in the yard so he’s quick to chase them off — yet he leaves the other birds in peace since I like them and feed them. Smart, right?

So consider the mailman from Rufus’ eyes. Every single day this strange person comes right up to the door of my house. Thinking in dog terms, the door is a place that turns into a hole that lets people come in where they usually scratch behind his ears and give out snacks. Indeed, people Rufus likes come through at that very spot.

But then there’s this person with the big bag…he/she is never allowed entrance. Every day they try and every day they fail. There must be a reason. Simple dog logic points to the fact that they must not be invited. And if they’re not invited, then they’re not supposed to be around. And after quickly going through those steps in his mind, it just makes sense to Rufus that this person is villainous. Thus, they are an enemy. And enemies get barked at. They get driven away. It’s Rufus’ job to do this.

I wonder if this is how all dogs view mailmen; a mysterious figure always getting right up to the door but never once being allowed access. If so, our wonderful guardians of the gate are getting a bad reputation when we should be praising them for clearly understanding the dynamics of people who are “welcome” and those who are “not.” To be clear I’m sure my mailman is a wonderful person and we would have a great conversation over tea, but Rufus doesn’t know what Earl Grey is. He just knows what to do when it seems like something or someone is not invited and for that I say good boy.


Rufus the Invincible

Rufus the Invincible


Rufus on Guard

Rufus on Guard

Sunny Days

Everyone has their own personal “pick me up” that makes them happy when they’re feeling low or something that simply brings a smile to their face when they see it. I’m talking everyday things, not necessarily monumental earth-shattering visions. For instance, babies laughing tickle me to no end. No idea why, they just do. I simply cannot stay down in the dumps when I see a baby laughing for all its worth. Animals are another surefire way to make me smile. In addition to the giggling young ones and the adorable critters that make me go “awwww….,” I love flowers. Now, I’ve never been one for Roses like most people. Oh, Roses are beautiful, don’t get me wrong, and I certainly wouldn’t turn any down! They’re elegant and make any room lovelier for being in it. But wild flowers are more my style. My favorites are Sunflowers and Daisies. They’re such happy little flowers.

Well I came across some in the shop the other day, Sunflowers anyway, of the dwarf variety. Perfect for a table centerpiece and then planting outside, although nothing beats the towering, humongous, over-my-head variety of Sunflowers. The pretty yellow Mums were listed as Painted Daisies, but they’re not Painted Daisies. They’re Mums. Still lovely. Just not Painted Daisy lovely. I’m not sure who was in charge of the flowers this week. Maybe they had Painted Daisies and there was a mad rush, so I missed them and the Mums are a “stand-in.” At any rate – together they made a bright and sunny display which perked up my day considerably. At least for a while. Well, I mean, come on! There are people out there in the world. Flowers can only do so much.