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  • In spite of my 30+ years of broadcasting, speaking and writing, I’m terrible at coming up with the right words to encourage our 5-month old puppy to urinate and defecate. That would be #1 and #2 for those of you who are a bit squeamish on these matters. Whereas my better half, who is Sunny’s official owner, can get her to take care of her business in a matter of a few minutes. How does she DO this?

    When I take this cute pup out to for a walk, the primary objective of which is to allow her to quickly and efficiently complete her personal toilet, she couldn’t be less focused. We walk around forever. Plus, I don’t know what to say to encourage her to accomplish this profoundly natural task of personal waste elimination.

    My approach is logical and straight forward.

    “OK, Sunny, it’s time to use the bathroom.”

    Canine etymological sidebar: Experience has taught me that dogs have no concept of the word “bathroom.” Maybe they associate this word with a place where they can pull out all of the toilet tissue and then spread it across the hall, but they don’t know what’s supposed to go on in there. Therefore, my admonition to “use the bathroom” makes no sense whatsoever.

    Sunny’s mom, and my partner in crime and life, suggests that I use more easily understood concepts. The word “urinate” is most likely not in any puppy’s limited lexicon.

    This very well-read and articulate woman suggests that I, “Use terms that puppies understand. Phrases such as: You wanna pee pee? Poo Poo? OK? That’s a good dog. Pee Pee right here.”

    Simple right? However, for the life of me, I can’t make myself say these words.

    I say things like, “OK, let’s urinate here. What do ya say? One urination, under dog, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.” Sunny cocks her head and stares at me, emphasizing the sheer absurdity of what I just uttered.

    Inside that little dog brain, she’s guffawing uncontrollably. I thinks she tells her buddy, the big dog across the street whose name is Orion, “You won’t believe what that doofuss Art said yesterday!”

    Each time I try and come up with something that is simple and direct – Time for #1! -Sunny understandably looks at me like I’m a complete idiot. And I don’t mean the kind of “idiot” that precedes the word savant. I mean idiot, as in dumbass.

    Finally, one night at about 11 pm, after a long day of stress and missed deadlines, it was my turn to take out Sunny for her ritual. After 15 minutes of mindless meandering around the neighborhood, around our backyard, our front yard, our neighbor’s front yard and the alley, I finally gave up and said, “Sunny wanna poo poo? Sunny wanna pee pee?”

    One of the young, very hip and sophisticated professionals who live next door to us happened to be out on her front porch and heard my baby-talk plea to Sunny. She looked around the corner, and gushed, “Oh that’s so cute! Wittle Sunny’s so wucky, wucky, wucky to have a Daddy like you!”

    I muttered, “Yes, she’s a wucky dog indeed.” After which, I think I detected a smile on Sunny’s lips.

    Photo by Sandy Earle - Years of Souvenirs
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