By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
Bix the Mississippi mudhound isn’t speaking to my daughter these days.
Olivia offended his sensibilities, so he’s been giving her the silent treatment. He still lets her call him “Good boy” and scratch him behind the ears, but he doesn’t help with her homework or expound upon the vagaries of life.
Bix has opinions on almost everything, which can be annoying, but for the most part he’s a great companion and storyteller.
The other day, he told me about a cat that walked across a pool cover and fell into the water. It could’ve been tragic, but the cat scratched and scrambled his way to safety.
Then Bix imitated the cat’s disdainful expression and said, “I meant to do that.” I almost hurt myself from laughing. If you’ve never seen a dog do a wet cat impersonation, you haven’t lived.
Bix is as fine a dog as you’ll ever find, but he has issues that pop up and surprise us at times.
For instance, he has an unreasonable hatred for delivery people of all stripes. I figured it has something to do with the way they regularly walk up and touch the house in their brazen, entitled way, and Bix never disabused me of that notion.
But Olivia refused to buy my explanation, and came up with her own idea.
“Explain your ‘Theory of Hatred,’” I said.
“OK. Well. You see. It’s like this,” she said. “Many, many, many years ago, there were wolves. Dogs are descended from wolves.”
“I got you,” I said.
“Well, the wolves absolutely hated the pony express,” she said. “Those pony express riders infuriated the wolves.”
“’Infuriated’ is a good word, isn’t it Bix?” I said, but Bix, who usually likes big words, didn’t respond.
Olivia continued: “So this hatred was passed from generation to generation until now. That’s why Bix hates mailmen.”
“We call them mail carriers now,” I said. “I think it’s the law.”
“Mail carriers, then,” she said.
“What do you think, Bix?” I said.
“I think some people have overactive imaginations,” he said, then trotted off to another room in the house.
“’Overactive’ is a good word,” Olivia said, but he didn’t answer, and he hasn’t spoken to her since.
Olivia doesn’t appear to be upset by the quiet treatment, and she even seems magnanimous when she scratches him. Maybe the episode lets her feel superior to Bix, who ranks above both kids by most household standards. (If he’d never pooped in the house, Bix probably would outrank me.)
Even the best of us have our issues, our little lines that people don’t know they’re crossing until it’s too late.
I expect Bix will get over it by the next time we have pizza. Until then, I’ve advised Olivia to let sleeping dogs lie, but she hasn’t gotten the message.
“Oh. OK,” she said. “Let me tell you where ‘Let sleeping dogs lie’ comes from.”
M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal feature writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.