© 2010 Leighann Lord
I read an article in The Wall Street Journal recently about First Sergeant Gunner, a Marine dog serving in Afghanistan and suffering from Canine Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The poor pooch has been unfit for duty, unable to sniff out explosives, and reacting nervously to gunfire. The Marines haven't given Gunner the Donald Trump treatment, trying instead to rehab him. I find it fascinating that: "The Marine Corps gives each dog a military rank, one notch above his handler's, to reinforce the idea that the dogs deserve respect." After reading this, I looked over at my Dog and he looked at me as if to say, "I told you so."
This explains a lot. Cocker Spaniels seem to have a regal bearing. I realize now I may have been confusing regal with commanding. By any measure, my Little Furry Guy's in charge. In me, my Husband and my Parents he has four very well trained humans at his beck and call, not to mention an extended staff of groomers, veterinarians, and well wishers. I guess Rolie's entourage is really Rolie's Army.
Which leads me to wonder what branch of service he'd be in. Like a cat he hates water so the Navy is out. Much as it pains me to say, he doesn't have the heart of a Marine. Semper Woof? Not likely.
Army? Well, Army of One would be a good fit. We've toyed with the idea of getting a second dog, but we're pretty sure Rolie was meant to be an only. Whenever we take him to Doggie Day Care, he looks at the other dogs as if they're beneath him. He manages a mingled look of contempt and disdain that would make Judge Judy proud.
If a morning constitutional counts, then Rolie does get quite a bit done before 9:00 a.m. than most people do all day but, he's really not a "Be all that you can be" kinda dog. That slogan however, is more enticing than the current and over simplified "Go Army." One wonders what inspired The Army to trade slogans with The Greyhound Bus Company. Shouldn’t the whole slogan be “Go Army and leave the fighting to us!”?
The unofficial motto of The Air Force is "Uno Ab Oto" (One Over All), and that pretty much describes my Little Old Man. While the Air Force is the youngest branch of service, it enjoys the biggest budget, the best food, and the nicest bases. That's got Rolie written all over it. He's a big part of my budget, we buy him the best food and he's got a great home. As far as rank goes, General Roland T. Nubbins has a nice ring to it.
At present, The General is on a diet. Cocker Spaniels are prone to weight problems and Rolie has gotten a little polie. We've cut back on the biscuits and upped his walks, which has made the General a little grumpy, a side effect of post traumatic snack disorder. He looks longingly at his treat box and then accusingly at me. "Stop complaining," I say. "It's for your own good. At least you're not dieting in a war zone . . . Sir.”