How to Teach
Your Dog to Talk
The wizard was reading in his big leather chair in the library of the tower, so I hopped onto his lap, wedged myself alongside him, and closed my eyes for a nap.
I have been doing this since I was a puppy.
I was almost asleep when I heard the footsteps of Fontaine on the stairs. The stink of his aftershave puffed from the stairwell with every step he took, Brut, by Faberge. Brut, by Faberge. Brut, by Faberge.
I never talk when Fontaine is near because Fontaine doesn’t know I can.
Any dog that can talk is a dog that was lucky enough to be in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing in the right way. You’ve heard the phrase, “You lucky dog!” This is where it comes from.
Humans learn to talk little by little, but dogs learn to talk all at once. All it takes is a child, a puppy, and a Mickey Mouse cartoon. If the child is talking and the puppy is standing on his hind legs when two-legged Disney dog Goofy appears onscreen and talks, the puppy will immediately be able to talk. But if non-talking Disney dog Pluto appears, the puppy will identify with Pluto and never talk.
Fontaine said to the wizard, “I want to speak to you about the rabbit hole.”
The wizard kept his eyes on his reading. “If it’s about the rabbit hole, you will need to speak with Indy.”
“But that is the very problem,” whined Fontaine. “You have created a fairy tale about a talking dog.”
The wizard looked up, surprised. “Do you not believe in fairy tales?”
Fontaine lifted his chin to look superior, “It is making you look like a child.”
The wizard held up his book, “I am reading a book of fairy tales.”
Fontaine closed his eyes and shook his head slowly, “Do you believe we should teach children that dragons exist?”
The wizard looked back down at his book. “Children already know dragons exist, Fontaine. Fairy tales teach children that dragons can be killed.” 1 And then he said with finality, “If it is about the rabbit hole, you must speak with Indy.”
Fontaine made a dismissive gesture with his right hand and began walking back to the staircase.
I lifted my head and said, “Fontaine.”
He spun around.
“You said you needed to speak with me?”
– Indy Beagle
1 The wizard was quoting G.K. Chesterton