Bix, the Mississippi mudhound, could’ve been a good hunting dog, but I never had the inclination to teach him.
He knows how to sit and stay, he can catch a Frisbee and a tennis ball, and he can hold a philosophical discussion with the best of them.
“I’ve got skills, Boss,” he said.
My wife has been volunteering during rehearsals for Pied Piper Playhouse’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” which features two of the most talented actors of our time.
While the wife and kids are engrossed in theater arts, Bix and I take walks along a nature trail off the Natchez Trace. We’re both packing extra pounds, and we enjoy the relative quiet of hiking under rustling leaves.
“I like chasing rabbits,” Bix said, “but that goes without saying.”
“I like chasing thoughts,” I told him. “It’s easy to figure things out when we’re walking the trails.”
“You wouldn’t have to figure things out,” Bix said, “if you didn’t think so much in the first place.”
“Go chase a rabbit,” I said.
He sniffed at me, then left the trail to cut through the underbrush, looking to catch a cottontail’s scent.
Of course, he wasn’t thinking. He was getting in touch with the Wild Dog that lives deep down inside him.
He once told me that I’ve got a Wild Scott that I should let out. I told him it was easy for him to say: He doesn’t do the laundry or wash dishes.
“Everybody’s got an excuse, Boss,” he said.
“And they all stink. I know. I’ve heard it before.”
It doesn’t take much for him to get in touch with his inner Bix. All he needs to do is catch a whiff of something, then chase it as though lives depended on the outcome.
So what if his legs get scratched by briars? Who cares if he pulls another claw nail loose and can’t play ball for a week?
If I were cruel, I could stop Bix in his wild tracks with one word: Bath.
We’ve taken these walks regularly for the past couple of weeks. At first, we’d just go home after we finished and continue on with our day.
Then we learned that Bix picks up an allergen that causes my wife’s legs to break out in a nasty red rash.
Bix despises baths, but he gets one every time we return from our hikes. It’s a fact he conveniently forgets while he’s running through the brambles after fast, furry things.
He keeps telling me to go wild, cut loose: Forget about consequences and do something for the sheer joy of it.
“It’s all about living in the moment, Boss,” he said, wagging his tail and panting like a happy dog.
“Did you catch any rabbits?”
“No. Did you catch any thoughts?”
“Not a one. Hop in the car, Bix. You need a bath when we get home.”
“Come on. A wild dog’s got to smell like a wild dog.”
“Not when he wants to sleep on the couch,” I said, trying not to enjoy the moment too much.
M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal entertainment writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal