It’s time to change the will. No, we’re not dropping any family members caught tweeting photos of themselves in their skivvies, nor are we deleting deserving charities which have proven to be not so deserving; we’re just adding our only dependent — Kody, our Golden Retriever.
Slightly pigeon-toed in the front and bow-legged in the back, he’s 95 pounds of hair, drool and affection who still believes he is a lap dog.
The need to make the change was prompted by the news that Leona Helmsley’s canine heir, Trouble, had died. This 5-pound, multi-millionaire Maltese had lived the regal life for four years after the “Queen of Mean” died.
Trouble was the ideal match for the late billionairess, whose eccentric behavior regularly incurred the wrath of the New York media. Leaving 12 million smackers to a critter whose teeth marks had adorned the hands and legs of many family and business associates made Trouble the target of scorn and loathing.
With two dozen death and kidnapping threats directed at Trouble, she was forced to fly the friendly skies incognito under the alias “Bubbles.” I can see it now: the collar up on her custom-tailored Burberry trench coat, her little fedora pulled down over her stylish Ray-Bans and hairy little black nose, Trouble sneaks into first class, a doggy bowl of bubbly awaiting her. One of Leona’s disinherited grandsons speculated that flight crew payoffs took place, given that Trouble was undoubtedly on the doggie no-fly list.
Ms. Helmsley hand fed this pampered pooch a gourmet diet of crab cakes and cream cheese. For reasons of health, her new caretaker switched to canned dog food. Trouble had gone from caviar to Alpo. The change of diet was more likely the result of a court judgment, which whittled the dog’s inheritance to a mere $2 million. The pup’s extravagant lifestyle on Florida’s Gold Coast was costing $190,000 a year.
While Kody doesn’t exactly live a luxurious life, he does represent a major investment on our part. He is pedigreed and six months after we adopted him, he was diagnosed with hip dysplasia. Ka Ching — there went $10,000 to reconstruct his hips. He did splendidly with the surgery and now romps with the best of his canine peers.
His bionic butt now sets off airport screening alarms. In addition, we purchased an SUV to transport the guy in the style to which he has become accustomed. He even has his own “KODY KAR” vanity plates.
Friends warned us that goldens remain in their rambunctious puppy stage for two years. We’re now in the fourth year of this two-year stage. His mischievous ways have resulted in the virtual destruction of our kitchen, including chewed antique table legs, scratched cabinets, gnawed banister spindles and base boards.
In addition, he redecorated our living room rug with a 4-inch black stain while snacking on a roller ball pen, tore up half a dozen towels and reduced to confetti a W-2 statement that was the subject of an IRS audit. Our “the dog ate my homework” excuse was not amusing to the IRS auditor.
He also eats leaves and tissues and enjoys destroying reading glasses and hair barrettes.
Despite being a one-dog wrecking crew, the decision to add our boy to the will was not a difficult one. Displaying a beautiful mane of golden chest hair and a regal plume for a tail, he basks in the many compliments he receives regarding his good looks.
He is ecstatic about kids his size, though his exuberant greeting entails an extended paw, a frenetic wagging of the tail and his bowl-you-over version of a hug — raising up on his hind legs and attempting to put his paws on your shoulders. When disciplined, he doesn’t hold a grudge. After a few minutes, he sheepishly approaches, confident that his good looks and charm will win out, that all is forgiven and a hug and a head rub are to be had.
His best quality, however, is that he is crazy about my wife, which makes two of us.
Not to fear, we have made arrangements with our friends to take the big guy if we are taken out by one of Glendale’s “what red light?” drivers, but given his appetite, keeping the fellow in grub will definitely require a trust fund to supplement the cost of repairing the damage our wanna-be Marley may do.
PAT GRANT has lived in Glendale for more than 30 years and was formerly a marketing manager for an insurance company. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.