Sonny Fulks
Sonny Fulks
Managing Editor

Sonny Fulks is a graduate of Ohio State University and pitched four varsity seasons for the Buckeye baseball team from 1971 through 1974.  He furthered his baseball experience as a minor league league umpire for seven years, working in the Florida State League (A), the Southern League (AA), and the American Association (AAA).  He has written for numerous websites and outdoor publications, and for the past ten years has served as a regular columnist and photo editor for Gettysburg Magazine, published by the University of Nebraska Press.  Widely knowledgeable on that period of American History, Fulks is a frequent speaker on the Civil War at local roundtables throughout the Midwest. He and wife Mindy have two grown children and live in Covington, Ohio.

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Faced with an odor from under my office desk…and house and home itself…this holiday season has started out with something a little different from the usual stocking stuffer.

You’re aware of that old Christmas threat of receiving a lump of coal in your stocking?  That is, if you’re not good throughout the year karma can be a b#%#%!

Let me share.

We have a five-year-old French bulldog at our house named Margie.  When we got her she was named Vesper (I don’t know why).  And for a while after she came to live with us she went by Bess.  She does resembles former First Lady Mrs. Truman.  But now…she’s Margie!

She is my wife’s pet, make no mistake.  Not our pet, but hers.  She, Margie, literally attaches herself to Mindy from the time she gets up in the morning until she closes her eyes at night.  She sleeps in the bed.  She never leaves the couch during the day (unless it’s to take a different nap on the bed).  And worse, when Mindy’s not at home she shivers and shakes nervously over her absence, as if she’s been abandoned.  She is, without question, a one-human dog.

Only, that one human isn’t me.  Not that I haven’t tried, and still do.  Because you cannot be nicer to a quivering dog than I am to Margie.  But if Mindy’s in the house and you call her (Margie), she goes to Mindy, and cowers at her feet under the desk if she’s working.  If Mindy’s in the kitchen…the dogs sits at her feet and looks up at her remorsefully.  If she rides in the car she cannot get close enough to Mindy.  And at night, she’s a nuisance to sleep with because she wants to be inside your skin – she’s that insecure, apparently.

Of course Mindy has exacerbated this behavior by spoiling the dog every second of the day – cooing, baby talk, treats, human food from the dinner table, and by constantly covering her up with blankets when she naps.  She’s made a fool of that dog;  and more, admonishes me for not doing the same.

Only,  I don’t treat dogs and cats like that.  I grew up a bit differently.  Dogs didn’t live in my dad’s house;  they lived out in the barn, or in the basement during cold weather.  They didn’t get treats.  They got Ol’ Roy once a day (Purina for the holidays).  Yeah, Dad was a real softie.  So being a product of my environment, I have a different personality when it comes to baby-sitting “Margie”.

They say the brain in the average dog is about the size of a walnut;  and that there’s a lot of learning packed into that walnut.  Margie is no different.  She knows who she likes, and what she likes, and when who she likes is not around…and she goes into protest mode.

Several weeks ago, when Mindy started back to school at the Wright State Lake Campus, I immediately discovered her protest.

I walked into my upstairs office to write one afternoon and this terrible stench rose up from under the desk to greet me.  NOT GOOD!  “Bad dog,”  I admonished, as Margie stuck her head around the corner of the door, probably to see if I found the package she’d left.  Of course, the first impulse is always to take the animal outside to do her business, but why bother…when the business is already done, and at your feet?

This protest behavior has continued.  We agreed…that whoever leaves the house last puts Margie in her crate, because dogs typically won’t mess in their crate…kind of like humans that don’t want to mess up their own favorite area.  But Mindy feels sorry for her being cooped up all day (or for more than an hour), and so she lets her range free.  And guess what?  More piles in my office – in the downstairs bathroom – on the floor in the guest bedroom – anywhere to protest that she doesn’t like being left alone.  I swear she sniffs to find my scent, and wherever she thinks I’ll be…PROTEST!

Bull…or should I say dog…!

And that business about the walnut-sized brain?  Forget about it, because she’s gotten bolder, even to sneaking around in the house when I’m there with her to leave her latest reminder.  And of course, because Mindy has a bad habit of feeding her human morsels from the table, those reminders often take on a liquid quality.  Meaning, that if this is the proverbial canine coal in my stocking for the holiday season…she’s delivering it in a certain cocktail form.  The worst ‘Black Russian’ you can imagine.

It used to be safe to take a nap on the living room floor, on the big Persian rug.  Not anymore.

When Better Homes and Gardens drives by our house…they speed up as they go by!

I was asked this week what I wanted for Christmas?  I leveled a stare and shifted my eyes back and forth between Margie, Mindy, and the front door.  Mindy, having the superior brain of the two, immediately read my mind.

“Out of the question,”  she snorted.

Not that she offered to hear my answer(s).

Happier holidays to all of you.  And if you come to my office…watch your step.

That brown stuff sticking to your heal…it probably ain’t peanut butter!

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