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May flowers are on the dining room table. They don’t come from my garden. They come from a grocery store.
I was diagnosed with a brown thumb.
I once had house plants. Not a lot of them, but enough to make the place look like nature had come indoors. One by one, they lost interest in me and drooped, sagged, and lost their color.
There is plenty of color around here: my paintings, all stacked and waiting for the call from The Met that will never come.
But color out of the tube is not the same as color out of the ground.
This year I decided to buy some fresh flowers once a week.
This week I have a flowering anthurium plant. It is beautiful, exotic and erotic. After I got it home, I read the little soil sign that came with it, and found out something I didn’t know.
“It has an air purifying effect.”
Who figured that out, and how?
“Several anthuriums in a room reduce the harmful substances in buildings by 50 percent in 24 hours.”
However, mine is incapable of reducing the harmful substances manufactured by a dachshund puppy. That’s why we have “Teresa,” who is a dog whisperer, a giraffe whisper, and a mountain lion whisperer.
Her clients call her Mother Teresa, she said, and Jennifer and I found out why almost immediately.
The Lunging Dervish, the Red Zephyr, the Flying Tempest became a polite and well-behaved young squire, willing to cooperate in abeyance.
I looked at her, I looked at Harry, I looked back at her, and said, “How did you do that?”
She came with treats: lots of them, in her pocket, and I asked her, “What’s in those?”
She assured me that she wasn’t drugging the little fiend.
Harry behaved like a show dog, until Teresa left. Then we made eye contact, and he danced on the ceiling again, just like Fred Astaire once did.
I have to be honest with you.
Harry’s behavior — at least some of it — is welcome around here.
He has speed and energy and zip, and turns into a dynamo several times a day.
I had those things years ago. Now I reminisce.
I am childless and no one’s uncle or grandfather.
Harry is as close as I will get from here on out to a son.
When it comes to training some of his behavior out of him, I am a “C” student. That’s where Jennifer comes in.
She’s has measured patience, but only so much of it.
One thing we have in common: no one yells at Harry, and no one raises a hand either.
Teresa sends me videos and articles and studies, and they all point toward a productive and caring and loving relationship between the owner and the dog.
By the way, the dog just came into the office and looked up at me. That’s all it takes, sometimes, to wick away the solemnities of the Real World, at least for a few minutes.
Flowers have a therapeutic effect, like pets do, but I’ll take a dog any day to provide the greater effect of a response.
Harry has a very therapeutic tail. A few wags at the right time make the day as bright as a bouquet.
Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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