11:46:24 pm on
Wednesday 26 Feb 2020

Gandalf Gets What He Wants
AJ Robinson

I used to laugh at some of the episodes of Lassie, which I saw on television. It was so silly to see how she could let humans know what she wanted. I also remember the over used trope of people trying to figure out what Lassie was trying to tell them.


Roseanne tried a Lassie trope, too.

I remember how the show Roseanne, the original incarnation, spoofed Lassie. Darlene was trying to signal to Roseanne to leave the room by shaking her head toward the kitchen. Roseanne smirked and said, “What’s that, Lassie? Timmy fell down a well, up on Big Rock Candy Mountain. Grandpa’s on his way. Well, I better get up there.” She then stood up and patted Darlene on the head and called her a good girl.

Everyone laughed. The fact is, though, that sometimes, maybe often, dogs can let humans know precisely what it wants, if the human is sufficient fluent in Doggie language. Dogs may understand humans more than humans understand dogs.

A few weeks back, we had some friends over. Gandalf (above), our dog, was making a pest of himself. We thought maybe he just wanted attention from our friend Pat. It was her first time seeing our new place.

We’d gone to dinner, had a nice time and then brought her around to see our new townhome. After showing her our modest backyard and patio area, we left the sliding glass door open a bit. It was a cool evening, the first truly chilly night all winter here in Orlando, Florida, and we liked the feel of the evening air.

We liked the cool evening air, Gandalf did not. At first, he rolled around on the floor in front of Pat and she rubbed his tummy. He liked that.

Yet, he didn’t seem all that pleased with her efforts. When she sat back in the recliner, he shot forward at her feet. Jo Ann explained how this was another of his favourite activities.


A little physics please.

His lunge was a little exercise in physics. You sat back in the chair, let him get between your legs, cupped his butt with your feet and then slowly brought up the footrest. He would be lifted by that action and then make himself comfy somewhere on your lap.

In a lap was his favourite way to spend an evening with Jo Ann. This night he pestered Pat; we figured he wanted the attention of this kindly old newcomer. She indulged him and went through the procedure.

Yet, once in her lap, Gandalf did not seem content. He did not settle down. He did not seem satisfied. He was nothing if not active, as he bounced here and there on her lap.

Then he moved to the armrest between the two chairs. That was when we knew what he was after, what he truly wanted. It was his warm coat.

You see, Gandalf might be a dog and he might have a body of nice white and tan fur, but he’s also a bit of a wimp. He is most definitely a Florida dog. What others would call a nice cool day for him is an Arctic blast. So, although we loved the nice breeze coming in the door, he was dying from frostbite, at least in his mind.

Thus, he wanted his coat and he was going to get it. Once in his mouth, he jumped down from the chair, crossed to Jo Ann and stood before her. Again, the meaning was clear: he wanted her to put it on him.

She was more than willing to be accommodating. She took it, slipped it over his head and got his front legs through the sleeves. After that, he was comfy cozy warm and went off to curl up on his bed.


Gandalf has his humans trained well.

We couldn’t help dissolving into fits of laughter. It truly was like out of an episode of Lassie. Gandalf had made it clear what he had to say; we responded, albeit a bit slow on the uptake, but we’d eventually gotten the message. Amazing what a dog can do, when he sets his little mind to it. After all, he was cold.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Working, again, as an engineeer, after years out of the field due to 2009 recession and slow recovery, Robinson finds time to write. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true. His teen vampire adventure novel, "Vampire Vendetta," will publish in 2020. Robinson continues to write books, screenplays and teleplays and keeps hoping for that big break.

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