Licorice was invited to come speak at Hippie School, today.
Well, okay. TECHNICALLY she was just invited to come in. I think the understanding was that she probably wasn’t going to talk. But part of the fun of Hippie School is that they do a lot of hands-on stuff, and that means that while they’re doing a unit on animals, the kids get to bring in their pets. Super fun, right?
[Sidebar: For this unit Monkey is doing a research project on badgers. I don't know how he decided that this was the animal he wanted to research, but now I know more about badgers than I ever wanted to or thought necessary. He's become a badgerholic. A total badger freak. ("Did you know they've recorded a 75 pound badger? That's the heaviest weight for a terrestrial mustelid!" And to think I might've missed learning that.) I was tempted to dress the dog up like a badger, but I was afraid Monkey might get mad at me.]
The problem, of course, is that Licorice is a nervous car rider.
The rest of the family—being human and also creatures who spend a fair amount of time in the car—gets in the car and pretty much think, “Let’s go somewhere.”
Licorice—being a dog with a brain roughly the same size as a walnut, and perhaps having had a bad car experience in her past before she came to us?—gets in the car and immediately thinks I AM GOING TO SUFFER AND DIE AND THE ONLY WAY TO PREVENT IT IS TO SHAKE AND DROOL UNCONTROLLABLY.
She’s marginally better in the car than she used to be (she no longer spends the whole ride crying, so hey, PROGRESS!), but it’s still pretty pitiful. So I loaded her up this morning and she sat in Monkey’s lap and looked Very Worried Indeed. We stopped to pick up Mario and then she seemed to perk up a bit, wedging herself between the boys and enjoying the attention they lavished upon her. But then we got to school and the boys got out and I kept her in the car and she looked at me like I’d just eaten every last speck of chicken jerky in the whole world.
See, I was dropping the boys off about half an hour before Licorice was scheduled to appear. So we watched them leave and I took Licorice for a walk. This was VERY! EXCITING! because walks are always good. She perked right up and set about sniffing every blade of grass, every rock, and every un-picked-up piece of excrement she could find. She also relieved herself multiple times because OMGSTRESSFULCARRIDE, which was good, because it was my fear that I’d end up bringing in the dog who poops in the school.
We tromped around the neighborhood for 25 minutes or so, and then she was empty, and we went inside.
Monkey could not have been more proud of Licorice than if he’d given birth to her himself. She obediently sneezed and played dead in return for chunks of carrots, and allowed all the kids to descend on her and rub her ears. During the “discussion” time Monkey tried very hard to share educational tidbits—like that, because Licorice is a mix of two hair breeds, she doesn’t shed, but requires regular haircuts—while Licorice continued dancing around and sneezing for carrots and half the kids offered up relevant tidbits like “my cat weighs more than your dog” and “She looks like Obama’s dog!” and “My dog got runned over by a car.” (That last one is kind of a conversation stopper. Upon surveying my horrified expression, the child in question casually added, “Oh, he didn’t die. He’s fine.” Uh. Good?)
Proving that technology makes everything better, Monkey then brought up his favorite Licorice video on the big screen for the class to watch, after which the kids were REALLY impressed. For her part, Licorice mostly sat on my lap and kept sticking her nose in my jacket, positive I had more snacks hidden in there.
I talked a little bit about the rescue where we got her, and the training we’ve done with her. I’m not sure the kids were listening. In retrospect, I probably should’ve just brought her in there, cleaned her ears, and then given everyone carrots to give her for every sneeze.
We came back home and she dove right under my desk and began to snore. Being adorable on command is EXHAUSTING.