This isn’t a post about sports, it just starts out that way. I am not a fan of UConn sports, but I watched the first half of their football game against University of Central Florida (UCF) Saturday night. I have to admit, I had an ulterior motive. Last week, the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt), my graduate school alma mater, snapped UCF’s 25-game winning streak when Pitt beat them in Pittsburgh. The ESPN talking heads were mostly mute about that game, choosing instead to talk about how Georgia beat Notre Dame (which had been predicted). So, I figured if UConn stunk, as predicted, they might show some game highlights from UCF’s loss to Pitt.
They did and they did.
UCF was a 41 ½ point favorite. When I stopped watching, they were winning 42-0. In gambling parlance, UCF had covered the spread. I don’t gamble, but if I did, I wouldn’t have taken UCF. If they got up by 40 points, they would likely start putting their scrubs in and UConn would put some points on the board. UCF won the game, but only by 56-21, so they didn’t cover the spread. But then, as I said, this isn’t about football. Around here, covering the spread means protecting a nice bit of fabric with an inexpensive bit of fabric. That way, when Maddie gets a drink and sloshes her mouth on the cushion, or MiMi or MuMu throw-up their dinner, a hairball, or, as MiMi recently did, bits and pieces of a cricket that had found its way into the basement – we’re safe. Well, the couch, chair and bed are safe.
Of course, we don’t really use the expression “cover the spread.” We’ve had dogs and cats for so long, it’s just a thing. We also don’t use a lot of other expressions. You see, Maddie, like her predecessor Irish Setters (and probably like your dog) learns quickly.
Our first Irish Setter, Mitzi, loved to go for rides in my truck. “Ride in the truck” became “R in the T” became “R” and then became a glance at my keys and a nod to the driveway. Mitzi still knew. As she was busy going crazy, my wife would remind me that I should get ready before “telling” Mitzi what we were doing.
Maddie has two favorite things, going for a walk and sitting. She doesn’t care where we go when we go for a walk and, although her new preference is to lay in her cot on her deck, if I took her to the mini-patio Faith and I built for my wife, she’d be fine. We just have to do these things. The walk happens without any discussion. Maddie knows that it’s time, and she starts making noise, but we just have to gear-up (harness, leash, poop-bag) and we’re ready to go. Sitting is another matter.
We can’t possibly carry the cot, a chair, a bag of peanuts and something to read with Maddie tugging at our arm. The cot and the chair have to be set up ahead of time. We don’t say “sit.” We no longer can say “S” or “I’m thinking about that thing…” Maddie knows. We can’t even go out the back door in the late afternoon, because she knows we’re going to prepare the deck. The major question now is, which one of us gets the relative peace and quiet of carrying the furniture out and which is left with the screaming, whining, panting, toe-tapping nut-job.
One other thing about Maddie, she can tell time. If we skip sitting in the morning, we need to be careful not to say, “we can sit later.” Maddie knows what “later” means and she knows when “later” is. When it gets to be later, the noise starts.
Dogs are creatures of habit. Their habits. It’s an honor, I suppose, to be included in their habits. It does seem like Maddie likes to sit with us, and when I walk her, she frequently will turn, jump and give me a smooch, as if to say, “thanks Dad.”
Yes, Maddie, I’m writing about you. Who’s a good dog?