Some days irritating things overwhelm me. Then it’s best to watch something mindless on tv or have an early bedtime. Maybe dogs have a different way of dealing with days so full of annoyance that they want to howl at the moon. If only I had one way to make a dog smile.

Recently Barney Welsh corgi had been restless all night. The breeze of the open bedroom window whipped the Venetian blind against the frame making him unhappy. After I closed the window, he settled beside me on the bed until thunder made him fussy. In the morning, Barney wore a frown above his chocolate-drop eyes.

When I came home after lunch with friends, I could tell he hadn’t been happy left by himself. A dish of dog treats on a table by my chair was now empty. He probably sat in my spot and burped after he finished his snack.

It began to rain and thunder, which made Barney very nervous. He crawled under the table to escape. I crawled under the table, too. He relocated himself away from me. I got a blanket to wrap around him for security. That lasted about thirty seconds before he jumped from my arms to scamper under the guest room bed.

After dinner, I said, “Barney, shall we sit on the front porch and smell the fresh air?”  

As soon as I opened the front door, he skittered out. Barney forgets he isn’t supposed to leave our yard, so I bent down to pick up the end of his outside rope to tie it to his collar. Quick as a bunny, he hopped off the porch on his way to the sidewalk in front of the house.

“Barney, come! Barney, come back here!” I screamed.

He looked at me and continued his sniffing journey until he reached the street.

“Barney Chapman, you get back here!”



Did he even hear me as he crossed the street on his way to the park? I watched, feeling helpless.   I knew he didn’t plan to return anytime soon, so I ran into the house, grabbed his leash, and a small box of biscuits. In the garage, I slipped into the car with my heart pounding. I love the little guy.    

Barney was casually strolling around the park’s edge. I drove close to him, exited the car, and held out a cookie. He pulled his head out from under the bush he was investigating and eyed me suspiciously before moving just out of my reach. Crouching down with his bum in the air, he dared me to chase him.  

Walking back to my car, he followed me at a distance. I started to drive forward. After a few feet, I stopped the car, got out, and opened the back door for him. Barney shied away. The second time I pretended to leave him, his little face had a pathetic ‘don’t leave me’ puppy dog look.

Getting out of the car, I walked to him, picked him up, and placed him on the back seat.

“What’s wrong little Bun Bun? Are you bored or scared or what?” I asked as I thought of a way to make him smile.

 I rolled the window down for him to stick his head out. Driving fifteen miles per hour, we toured the neighborhood for twenty minutes. Barney moved back and forth from his window in the backseat to the console between the seats.

When we pulled into our garage, Barney was like a new boy. The car ride was one way to make a dog smile. I wish I knew what caused his un-Barney-like behavior, but something wasn’t right in his little world and he couldn’t tell me. Maybe he just needed a nice ride to soothe his jangled nerves like babies do sometimes.   

How do you calm an unhappy dog?


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