|NUTMEG -PART II - The Dairy Queen Dog|
By R.J. SmileyTo read Part I of Nutmeg's adventures check out the Critters on the Course in the June issue of Tee Times.
The love affair with Nutmeg, my Hungarian Vizsla, continues to this day, even though she has been getting her treats at the big Dairy Queen shop in the sky for several years.
Linda, the breeder, gave us first pick of Dixie's new litter of puppies. My eyes immediately focused on "Nutmeg," as she was the runt of the litter. Nutty, as we called her, was a little smaller than her five brothers and sisters, but her senses seemed more aware, more alert. I think she wanted to get to the dinner table early, trying to catch up. Experience raising dogs had taught me that the "runt" of a litter was easy to train and assumed their place in the pack with few problems. From day one Nutty was at my side 24/7. She understood that I was the alpha male and very seldom made a move until I nodded approval. Although her human vocabulary was extensive, we did not need words to communicate; she understood the variety of hand signals, learned at obedience school, and she was a master at reading my body language. When she twitched or made a restless move, I immediately sensed what had attracted her interest. With a nod of my head or a flip of my fingers, she was off, chasing a gopher or greeting a guest at our golf course. If I shook my head no, or put my open palm up, she relaxed and we continued whatever we were doing. Never an argument.
My automobile was as well trained as Nutty. It automatically turned into every Dairy Queen that appeared along our route. Occasionally my transportation would choose an alternate and longer route just to travel past a Dairy Queen.
Nutmeg: "As a pup R.J. would share the last inch of his chocolate-dip cone with me. Wow, do I like DQ ice cream. When I was six months old he started buying me my very own small vanilla DQ cone. With just a little practice, I learned to eat an entire DQ cone without a mess. I would sit in the right-hand passenger seat while R.J., the gentle alpha male, held my cone in his right hand. We developed a system where he would slowly turn the cone as I licked that delicious soft serve ice cream. I never rushed or attempted to eat the whole things in one bite (like most dogs who always wolf down their food). I just licked the ice cream savoring every creamy bite. When I finished licking the ice cream above the top of the cone, R.J. would hold the cone so that I could lick deep inside the cone. Sometimes I would get ice cream on my nose. I'd take care of that with my long tongue... no napkin was needed. Then came the best part, eating that crunchy cone that tasted like a dog biscuit with just a little ice cream left inside. R.J. would firmly hold the cone upright as I took small careful bites (I did not want to get pieces of the cone on my seat) as he slowly turned the cone. The only problem I had with cones was the last bite; you know that part of the cone where the bottom is thicker. Sometimes when I tried to eat that part in one bite I might get a few crumbs on the seat."
"It was always fun to stop at the DQ drive-thru window. R.J. would order a large chocolate-dip cone for himself and a small cone for me. When we reached the pick-up window most times the clerk would say, "Is that small cone really for that dog?" Then they would flash me a big smile. Sometimes we stopped at DQ shops without drive-thru windows. R.J. would go inside to "fetch" our treats and I would quickly move to the driver's seat. Looking very alert, I would sit up straight and pretend that I was driving. R.J. and I both enjoyed all the stares and comments from people who questioned, "Is that beautiful dog really driving that car?"
"I loved being the golf course dog, making friends with the golfers and chasing gophers, but I think I liked DQ cones ever better!"
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