Bix the Mississippi mudhound still talks to me, but our conversations have changed since Christmas Eve.
He’s friendly with people and doesn’t mind giving other dogs a good sniffing when etiquette demands. He’s also learned to tolerate my mom’s dog, Abby, a rambunctious blob of white fur who visits several times a year. She’s too kissy-kissy for him, but she never forgets who’s top dog.
Since November, I’ve encountered numerous dogs while on different assignments for the Mighty Daily Journal, and Bix’s relationship with Abby made me think he could handle a new arrival.
On the Saturday before Christmas, I asked my wife, “Do you want a puppy?”
“Stop messing with me,” she said.
“No, I’m serious.”
“You do not want a puppy.”
“Actually, I’m pretty sure I do.”
“Quit it. Now. You know I always want a puppy.”
“Then let’s get one.”
“I told you to stop messing with me.”
It went on like that before I could convince her I was ready to invite another four-legged life form into the household.
I don’t know if you remember the first day of winter, but it was around 77 degrees.
We Morrises are “Phineas and Ferb” fans, and one of the animated show’s first episodes included a musical salute to “S’winter,” an unusual and grand combination of summer and winter.
We had the name picked out, so all we needed was the dog. We found a tan and white border collie mix with short hair at the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society. A bunch of paperwork was filled out, money changed hands, and we left without a puppy because she had to have her puppy-making parts removed.
So Bix got a reprieve, but he knew something was up by all the extra attention he was getting.
“All right, what’s going on, Boss?” he said. “I’ve never had my ears scratched this much, and I’m going to pass out if you don’t quit throwing that ball for me to chase.”
Bix doesn’t have quite the stamina he once did. The wisdom of age makes up for some of it, but not all. It never occurred to him to not chase the ball. It was my responsibility to stop throwing it.
“I’ll be straight with you. We’re getting a puppy.”
He sniffed, said, “Good luck with that,” and walked to his favorite chair, where I think he pretended to sleep, but it’s hard to tell because he’s a championship sleeper.
We brought Swinter home on Christmas Eve, when she was subdued from the surgery. Since then, she’s developed a playful personality that just plain bothers Bix.
He’s angry but still talks, if only to alert me to another care package from young Swinter.
“That’s no border collie, Boss,” he said with a dog giggle.
“What is she?”
“That’s a poopsalotsa.”
“Funny, Bix,” I said. “Honey, where’s the carpet cleaner?”
M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal feature writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.