M. SCOTT MORRIS: Life can be hard for a boy who can’t speak dog

About a year ago, I reported that my son, Evan, couldn’t understand my Mississippi mudhound, Bix.
We were giving Bix a bath, when Evan said, “He likes it.”
I was worried. If the boy can’t understand dog, how will he handle higher level mathematics? His sister, Olivia, practically spoke dog from the womb.
Other than writing about my concerns in the Mighty Daily Journal, I’ve kept quiet about Evan’s disability. And it hasn’t bothered the dog.
“I like a little mystery, Boss,” Bix said. “Don’t worry. He’s good at scratching behind the ears. That’s what matters.”
When I asked Viola the cat about the situation, she pretended that she didn’t know Evan existed. I think she was pretending.
“Describe him,” Viola ordered.
“OK, he’s about …” I started.
“You bore me,” she said, then stood, stretched, turned her back toward me and sat down again.
It’s unfair to heap expectations onto the boy, but talking dog is basic stuff. Without a good foundation in dog, he has little chance of understanding politician, hedge fund manager or car company CEO.
You see my problem, right? Maybe, you’ll also understand if I’ve pushed a little too hard.
“Evan, Bix looks hungry,” I said. “Ask him what he wants to eat.”
“He wants dog food,” Evan said.
“You’re killing me, kid,” Bix said.
“See?” Evan said with a satisfied smile. “Dog food.”
“Let’s go watch ‘The Dog Whisperer’ on TV,” I said.
“What about the dog food?”
“Forget about it.”
“I want to watch ‘Phineas and Ferb.’”
“We’re watching ‘The Dog Whisperer,’ and that’s final.”
“All right, Daddy.”
I’d been thinking about giving up. There are plenty of jobs that don’t require a rudimentary knowledge of dog. I don’t know why you’d want to do any of them, but the point is kids like Evan have possibilities.
Luckily for the Morris family, those concerns are in the past. My prayers aimed toward Sirius, the dog star, have been answered. The family went to see the new movie, “Up,” which features a talking dog. After the movie, Evan said, “What’s the big deal? Bix talks all the time.”
“He does?” I said.
“Yeah,” Evan said matter-of-factly. “He taught me how to roll in dead squirrel. It was fun.”
“When was this?”
“Yesterday – oops,” he said, then quickly covered his mouth. “Bix told me not to tell you. He hates baths, you know?”
“I know,” I said.
“So we cleaned ourselves on your sheets,” Evan reported. “Bix said he does it all the time.”
“All the time,” I repeated.
My joy at Evan’s belated achievement was tempered by an overwhelming need for a shower. I felt icky and proud. Mostly icky.

M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal entertainment writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or scott.morris@djournal.com.

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