Kathy Manos Penn is a native of the “Big Apple,” who settled in the “Peach City” – Atlanta. A former English teacher now happily retired from a corporate career in communications, she writes a weekly column for the Dunwoody Crier and the Highlands Newspaper. Read her blogs and columns and purchase her books, “The Ink Penn: Celebrating the Magic in the Everyday” and “Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch,” on her website theinkpenn.com or Amazon.
Kathy Manos Penn with Lord Banjo
Believe it or not, I wasn't always Dad's favorite. I know my fans find that surprising. Even now, he has a favorite dog and a favorite cat so I can't simply say, "I'm Dad's favorite," and leave it at that.
Mum has always felt the need to bring a second dog into the family as the first one ages. She never wants Dad to be without a canine companion. That's why they started searching for someone like me when Tinker the Wonder Dog turned ten. They claimed they wanted a smaller version of Tinker, forty pounds instead of her sixty.
I love hearing Mum tell the story of how many times they were turned down for a dog because they had an electric fence or made Tinker sleep in the basement instead of in the master bedroom. They were getting desperate when Mum got off an airplane one day and found a Craigslist ad that had been posted just hours before. It broke her heart because it read, "Dog needs home; house in foreclosure; dog goes to humane society tomorrow."
When she called and told the owners she couldn't possibly get out to their house that evening, they offered to bring me to her. She was a bit hesitant because instead of forty pounds, I weighed eighty, but she agreed.
By now, you know how huggable and handsome I am so you can easily believe my parents couldn't resist me despite my size. And that's how I came to reside with Mum and Dad, but I was by no means the favorite. In fact, there were times Dad threatened to take me to the Humane Society himself.
Why? Well, the first threat came when I almost pulled him down the basement stairs. He has a bad back and was pretty darned upset with me. It wasn't my fault no one had ever trained me. At my first home, I was either tied to a tree or in a crate and hadn't learned manners. Mum cried and begged and signed me up for doggie school.
While I was enrolled and learning, I had a ways to go before I was the perfect pup. The next two threats came when I sailed out of the yard over the front hedge and loped down the street. When he tells the story, Dad laughingly describes me as floating over the hedge and setting sail, but he was fit to be tied when I did it. Mostly he was furious that, as he chased me, I'd look back at him and keep going.
Nowadays I'm near perfect; I mean I still occasionally roll in deer poop, eat the cat's food, raid the garbage can, and bark; but I'm housebroken and lovable. That's close to perfect, right?
Since Tinker's gone to doggie heaven, I've spent more and more time with Dad. I try hard to split myself in two, so I can keep an eye out for both Mum and Dad even when they're on separate floors.
Dad and I do most everything together: take walks, take naps, eat lunch, work in the yard and the garage, even go on car rides. He comes in the house calling, "Where's Daddy's boy?" I'm confident that means he loves me best. I only need one more thing to make me sure. I want Dad to push the cat off his lap and let me up there instead. Then there'd be no doubt who the favorite is.
Kathy Manos Penn is a Georgia resident. Her latest book, "Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch," and her collection of columns, "The Ink Penn: Celebrating the Magic in the Everyday," are available on Amazon. Contact Kathy at firstname.lastname@example.org.