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The Wag: Mattie is an expert when it comes to paws and effect

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Puppy Stout, Columnist

Puppy Stout brings his column, The Wag, to the Williamson Herald from The Tennessean where it has appeared for well over a decade. We are delighted to welcome Pup. He will regale you with his adventures in his own voice. His mom, Vicki Stout, helps him paw the keyboard at times, but it IS Puppy Stout doing the talking, aka barking.

Oh, dog, my doggie sister Mattie has barked Mom into sweetening Mattie’s life, but it's not helping Mom’s much. 

We live in a staunch leash-law neighborhood. Mattie, now almost 5 years old, has no opportunity to run wild.

She’s a lab. She has boundless energy and so wants to have free play time. Mom figured out a way to do it: She gets up in the middle of the night to let Mattie have her play time. 

No one is out here late; there’s no traffic since we are in a gated community. Mattie actually wakes Mom up to remind her about her freedom run. Mom opens the kitchen door and out Mattie goes. She runs and plays for upward of an hour and then is back at the kitchen door barking to come in, her tongue hanging out from her runs. 

The downside for Mattie is there are no other dogs outside with whom to play doggie games. She’s on her own, but she seems to cherish the time. And the upside for us: She is a bit calmer during the day.

Mattie is a paw communicator. She paws Mom and me to tell us anything, from the fact she’s hungry, wants a treat or wants to go out. It’s rude, if you ask me. I’ve never pawed Mom to tell her anything. She speaks dog. She knows what I want before I even want it.

Not so with Mattie. Instead of a bark or a whine, there she is with that paw out, talking nine to 90. It’s not that she doesn’t ever bark; she does. And when she does, she uses her outside voice.

She has a big, loud, deep bark. Mom says she’s good security. I join in when she’s barking at something outside; it’s a chorus Mom isn’t particularly fond of, day or night.

And when someone comes to visit, OMD (oh, my dog), she goes crazy at the door, be it friend or foe. It’s a huge effort to calm her before the visitor can take one step into the house. 

It’s a wonder anyone ever comes to visit.

A summer reminder

Be sure to remind your humans to check the temperature of the pavement before taking you for a walk. Mom puts her hand flat down to see if it’s too hot. These 90-degree days are challenging. We mostly go out early in the morning and early in the evening.

Most of our neighborhood doggie friends do the same thing, so we have our own rush hour here twice a day. The good part of that is we get to say hello and catch up. The moms and dads stop to visit, which gives us the opportunity to do the same.

Regardless, I long for fall and cooler temps.

Wags and woofs,


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