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Slim Randles
Slim Randles

The secret to training any animal is simply timing, says the former cowboy who was unable to teach his horse to jump a two-by-four.  But that was long ago, of course, and today, the wisdom age gives us makes these training secrets available to those who will accept them.

Just take our beagle, Minnie. To be fair, she lives in a one-dog house. But she also lives with three cats. It’s not that Minnie is intimidated. When she is approached by a cat who isn’t sufficiently awed by her wonderfulness, what she’s doing isn’t cringing, she’s merely practicing her third-grade atomic attack position in the middle of the living room.

And we recently went through yet another of our famous Albuquerque hot air balloon fiestas. I’m sure you know about our fiesta, where hundreds of migratory birds are frightened out of their minds, the locals make millions selling champagne and propane, and the restaurants try to see who can kill the most tourists with their special mix of green chili.

Now Minnie, who can view millions of miles of sky from our yard, has a very simple solution to the balloon problem: shoot them down and kill them all. Why? Because these aren’t balloons that are fun, or kind to dogs. If you listen closely, the translation is clear …” I SEE YOU, YOU BLOATED FIRE BREATHING DOG EATER!  Come down here and show me your permit to fly over our house! Or come down and fight like a dog!”

Multiply that by 840 balloons, and the message makes it all the way up to the invading pilots.

Grandchildren deserve to be impressed by an ancestor’s animal training abilities as well. Just ask mine about Fluffy. Fluffy is my well-trained lizard in the back yard.

In summer, I’ll often look at him on the concrete block wall and order him to do push-ups for the kids. He’s good at it, too.

Brought to you by a novel of the Southwest, Sun Dog Days, by Slim Randles.