Mark Hartley, Editor
My dog`s idea of security services is to put on the game face for humans very young and very old. The common denominator among what she considers the risky crowd is that they can`t move along as well as the rest of us. Toddlers who waddle or crawl, for example, must be chased off as quickly as possible. Elderly people who stroll through the neighborhood for their daily exercise, she would explain, are spies, studying our domain for items to steal, namely the steaks in the freezer that she thinks belong to her. However, if homo sapiens walk, run, drive an armored vehicle, etc., her reaction is, "Come on in. Help yourself."
This is not what I prefer. As her supervisor, I frequently explain to her that encountering a toddler or elderly person in the hallway during the middle of the night may be one of the better options. My idea of a dream security expert, however, would not permit anyone to enter. She ranks poorly on her performance reviews. I feel there are several generations of criminals ages 16 through 50 who are too warmly welcomed on my property.
When carousing vandals wander through the neighborhood "washing" cars with cartons of eggs, I notice a beneficent expression on her face. "They`re good folks," she seems to say, "You needed to wash the car anyway." When she bolts through my legs in the morning as I retrieve the newspaper (she`s not up to the task, of course), it`s to announce to all citizens of Tulsa that yet another grandfather has the audacity to wander the streets sporting a cane.
The only solution I can think of is to buy a cane. When some ominous intruder sets foot on my property, I will just throw the cane at him and yell out, "If you`re going to commit a crime here, just pick up that cane and beat me with it first." Maybe when he picks it up, the dog will froth at the mouth and charge ahead. As far as I know, she doesn`t actually count the number of facial wrinkles a person has - the cane`s the thing.
My dog`s idea of Omaha Beach is a nursing home. She would shudder at the potential of carnage, as well as the risk to her own fur. But she would scamper in bravely, remembering Tom Hank`s "game face" in Saving Private Ryan. Duty calls, and it`s time to put the Jerrys to rest, as well as the Estelles, Miriams, and the other usual suspects in a nursing home. When she contemplates the fantasy of Tom Hanks as her master, she whimpers in her sleep, "He`s dreamy." Tom Hanks would never give her a bad performance review.
So I don`t even think about taking her to a facility where the young and old are watched over, such as a day care center or nursing home. Woe to me if I went without her. If I came home reeking of Ensure or Similac, she`d make up some sort of a discrimination suit and report me to the ASPCA. "Yes, that`s right. He was standing around the water cooler with a bunch of guys, telling that joke about the dog, the bartender, the rabbi, and the priest. I was sick to my stomach from the humiliation." Otherwise, I`d have to board her in a kennel and wash myself with Irish Spring for a week after visiting some respectable citizens currently receiving long-term care.
So I have a favor to ask. Would you mind going to a nursing home for me? Dental hygienists are very much in demand to implement preventive oral care programs. As Cathy Alty`s article in this issue points out, we`re not necessarily talking about "free" cleanings performed by you. The emphasis is more on organizing the oral care routines handled, for example, by a nursing home`s staff. It`s also not a "gold mine." These residents are dependent on Social Security and other subsidy programs. The facilities themselves allocate financial resources for other pressing needs. But it`s still one of the best charitable services dentistry has to offer communities - despite what my dog thinks.
My dog`s idea of Social Security are gusts of wind that knock whatever`s on the kitchen counters onto the floor. I`d be happy to provide the wind - buy an industrial floor fan - if she would just bark at the right sort of trespassers.
Editor Mark Hartley can be contacted at [email protected]