Dogs would make totally incompetent criminals.  — Dave Barry

I made an allusion earlier to one of the most persistent myths about dogs.

“Dogs love you unconditionally.”

Dogs love you unconditionally as long as you give them stuff.

Chi has two sisters, Cara and Mara. They are Manchester Terriers.

This morning, Cara was demonstrating her unconditional love, cuddling, giving puppy kisses, everything human owners like to get. I knew I had to go to work, and so I whispered to her that it was time to go, and sat up. Cara obediently and adorably jumped down to the floor. Her tail wagged and thumped the ground. She grunted and barked, trying to hurry me along. Suddenly Mara joined her, and Chi went and stood in front of the kennel they call home when their humans are at work. It was 20 minutes before I had to leave, but that didn’t matter. They heard me say it was time to go. Now, they said, we want to go into our kennel!

I looked at them and said, “Are you sure?” Cara shook all over and barked. Mara noses me out of the way as I unlatched the kennel and moves her way inside, followed close behind by Cara. After the two of them clamber in, Chi trots in. “OK,” I said. How touching, these obedient little sweet creatures. I am blessed.

I went about getting ready, doing all the little last minute chores a morning brings. With every passing minute, the thumps and sighs from the kennel grew louder. After about five minutes, Cara could no longer contain herself and let out a low yip. It didn’t take long for the others to join in. The din grew and officially became a cacophony.

Here’s the hidden agenda of the dear puppies: every morning, these dogs get a treat. It’s a good bye ritual for the day. It was time for their treat. They were telling me it was time for me to go… and get them their treat. And so, the trio sat in their kennel getting more incensed by the moment — and no treat!

Hence, Chi’s third lesson. Don’t let your sisters con you into crazy schemes.