Tucker speaks

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(HOST) Commentator Willem Lange has a ghost writer this week. It sounds a lot like Willem, but he insists that the ideas expressed are entirely those of his long time canine companion Tucker.

(LANGE) The two people I live with don’t know how much I understand of what they say. Probably more than they think. Like, I can tell when they’re upset, because their voices change and get louder. I can’t always tell what they’re upset about, but that doesn’t matter. I’m not sure they can, either.

I was born in an animal shelter, and adopted as a puppy by a college fraternity. One night I was sick for some reason, and a beautiful girl named Martha picked me up and took me back to her dormitory. She was nice, but I couldn’t stay there, so I had to go. She took me to her parents’ home far away.

Martha’s mother was very nice, too. She hugged me. But she said, “Dad doesn’t want to find a dog here when he gets home from work.”

He came home in big boots and overalls. I was sitting on the kitchen floor. He looked down with a very unhappy expression, and I looked up at him hoping he’d like me. Then he bent down. It scared me so, I wet on the floor. He reached down, picked me up, and hugged me, just the way Martha and her mother had. I licked his ear, and he’s been my person ever since.

Martha’s mother could see what happened to me when I was a puppy had made me afraid. So she carried me on her chest in a sling made for little people. She talked to me all the time.

She taught me to come when she called, to fetch things, and even to take her bank deposit into the bank. She fed me what she called “puppy soup.” She still calls it that. I’d do anything for her.

My other person took me for walks. I wanted to chase the deer all around the house, but he told me no, they were here first. I went after a funny-looking animal one day, but he shouted, “No! That’s a porcupine,” he said. “Never go near it! You understand?” I understood it would make him unhappy, so I never have.

In the mornings we go down for the newspaper. I wake him up by shaking my collar tags. The driveway is full of great-smelling animal tracks. We come back up to the house, and I go into the kitchen when I smell the coffee. I know he’ll be slicing some cheese and ham.

I get to go with them everywhere dogs can go, even to Canada. The people at the border are friendly, just like at the bank. One even knows my name. Henry is his name.

Of course, it isn’t perfect here. When I smell Mother’s perfume and the man puts on black socks, I’m probably going to be left at home. I hate it when just Mother goes away. The man is nice, but it isn’t the same. Still, I don’t know where it’s likely to go better. (I know some poetry, too.)

This is Tucker up in Etna, New Hampshire, and I gotta go take a nap.

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