My dog Viola may be the stupidest dog to have ever walked the Earth.
When I say this to people who have never met Viola, or seen her in action, they always croon “Awwwwwww!” and look at me like I am the meanest dog owner in the world. Not true. I love my big white dimwit. I am not being mean, but merely stating fact when I say that she should probably be wearing a crash helmet just to get through the day.
When she was three months old, I noticed that the method I had used to train my other dogs was not working on her, and I began to suspect that she was deaf (Viola is a mostly white dog, and white dogs have a very high tendency to be deaf). So I took her to the vet to have her hearing tested. I had been going to my vet for years, so he was aware of my tendency to adopt completely mental animals, as well as being aware of my inclination to overreact when it came to their health. He carried her out for the hearing test and then brought her back in. “Well,” he said, “It’s kind of good news.” I was puzzled. “How can it be kind of good news?” I asked. “She’s either deaf or she’s not.”
“She’s not deaf,” he said, “she’s just really stupid.”
He was absolutely bang on. One of my favorite stories to tell about Viola is how she got stuck on a chair. Not in a chair – on a chair. I was on the phone with a friend one afternoon when I heard strange, whiny, honking noises coming from the back yard. I looked through the window and there was Viola, sitting in a garden chair. She couldn’t figure out how to get down. She was maybe three feet off the ground, with forward and downward as her only options, and she still couldn’t reason it out.
I hoisted all 70 pounds of moronic white dog to the ground. As soon as her paws hit the deck, Viola gazed at me as if I were Einstein and I gasped to my friend that I would call her back as soon as I could stop laughing.
It took a while.