Pinch of Salt Graphic (English)

"Be careful of what you ask for."

Who hasn't received that admonition? It's usually from a parent, and likely has something to do with a plea for a pet.

You know the drill.

"Yes, you can have a puppy, but you have to take care of it — feed it, water it and clean up after it. And I mean it."

If you're a parent, you know that only goes so far — mom and dad aren't going to let a puppy (or a kitten, or a rabbit) starve. Still, the requirement to pick up poop before going out to play has led more than one youngster to wonder why they asked for a dog in the first place.

To bring it down to a personal level, when we decided to get another dog to keep Tiger Two company, I said I wanted a puppy with some energy, a dog that enjoyed doing things with me. Maria concurred, and the result was the selection of Khloe, a Labrador Retriever mix.

Khloe certainly has plenty of energy. If she doesn't get enough entertainment from us, and Tiger tires of her antics, she resorts to digging holes in the back yard. Worse, when she's mad at us for having the bad form to actually leave the house, she shreds any piece of paper she can get her hands, I mean mouth, on.

Our pre-departure routine now is more elaborate than baby-proofing the house in preparation for a grandkid visit.

I've also trained her, albeit unintentionally, to expect a morning walk. She and Tiger know the routine, and actually sort of help to get the harnesses on.

During the week, I've been in the habit of taking them out right after I get up, then prepare for work. That means the alarm goes off around 5:15.

Khloe's a smart dog. But she still hasn't learned the days of the week. It has been a long, long time since I slept in on a Saturday.

She knows how to get me up, even when I resist. If I close the bedroom door on her, she sits there and whines, punctuated with a short, high-pitched bark that means she wants something, and wants it now.

In the hope of keeping the rest of the family happy and in bed, I immediately cave and get up.

Which is all well and good — I knew what I was signing up for.

But we're encountering a new problem. Khloe is a year old now, and for some reason doesn't seem to need as much sleep. But she hasn't learned how to read a clock — not even the digital kind.

So for the last few days, she has been demanding I get up and walk earlier and earlier. Last night, she started at 4:15 and didn't stop until I got up at 4:37 (I can read a clock).

I follow all the Ben Franklin bits of wisdom — Early to bed, Early to rise …, etc. — but I can't say I'm real happy with this latest development. And I'm truly dreading November, when we turn the clocks back to end Daylight Saving Time.

How do you explain that to a dog?

Be careful what you ask for.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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