Louise took this fine picture of my dog Rocket.
It’s the only picture in which he doesn’t look taxidermied. Rocket is an Australian stumpy-tail cattle dog mutt. He came here nearly three years ago, about six months after Gumbo died. I was working in the garage and he showed up, stared at me and sat down. How he became mine is a long story, the short version of which is: here I am again, being supervised by a herding dog whose view of life is unambiguous.
ROCKET’S RULES OF ORDER
Stand in front of the door so they can’t get out.
Stand in front of the door so they can’t get in.
Stare. Pay close attention.
Be alert. Take a lap around the perimeter.
Always come right back.
If you get a job, WORK.
You only get one cookie, but you get it every day.
Be just nice enough.
Herd your annoyances into a corner and make them STAY.
You fought for the tennis ball. Now KEEP the goddamn tennis ball.
You need more exercise than most people can understand.
You will always circle back to the thing that fascinates and/or repels you. Until you eat it or someone throws it out or another dog steals it, it’s not over. Even if you can’t see it because it rolled under the couch, it’s still there.
Check on the children.If anyone tries to mess with them, MOVE HIM OUT OF THE YARD.
You had more fun when you were a puppy.
You may be an older dog, but you like new tricks.
What’s the point of learning a trick if no one wants to see it?
You look fine. You look like you.
A dog is not a pacifist. Life involves the occasional violent incident. Not that you can’t be strategic.
You are not afraid to die, unlike your humans.