Editor’s note: Because of Valentine’s Day, we’re rerunning this popular Rex story from a few years back.
“Rex, it’s time to think about a Valentine’s gift for Millie. She’s your main squeeze, so we have to get an appropriate gift for her. Last year’s Valentine was a dud, if you recall. We got her a cow bone to gnaw on, remember? Half a femur, I believe. She felt the ‘cow’ implication was a comment on her size. Females don’t like any gift with the word ‘cow’ involved, Rex. The fact that she’s an English sheepdog and is ‘big boned’ didn’t help, either.”
My canine companion sat next to me on the couch as our conversation progressed.
“I imagine clothing is a bad idea, too. Anything she could squeeze into would have to be a Large or XLarge, and you would just lose more yardage with that, as well.”
Rex looked as if he was pondering the possibilities, but in fact, he was probably wondering how long it was until dinnertime.
“Now Rex, I’ve had my share of Valentine’s with women over the years. It can be a treacherous slope, pal. I once bought a girl a book on Proper Tire Rotation and a set of crescent wrenches. She seemed ungrateful. I was hurt. One word led to another and before I knew it, she kicked me out of her trailer. Lived in my truck until I met Dakota. I wised up and got Dakota a matching can opener-toaster set. She LOVED it. She let me use them to make dinner for her every night I lived with her. Both nights. I guess she could only stand so much canned Dinty Moore Beef Stew and Pop Tarts.”
Rex seemed to take interest in this leg of my marathon, but I realized he was just stretching.
“See, the thing to remember Rex, is . . .” Rex had nodded off. A tactic he frequently uses as hint for me to shut up and feed him. I ignored him. “See, the thing you have to remember is to get a gift that truly reflects your feelings for Millie. Do you want a gift that says, ‘I will love your forever,’ or maybe something less committal, such as ‘Want to look for cat turds together?’ or maybe something more casual, such as, ‘Want to sniff each other’s butts?’”
Rex had rolled over onto his back, wagging his tail, indicating I should interrupt the riveting conversation and scratch his belly.
“No, Rex. Listen, we’ve got to get this Valentine’s thing off your To Do list and not wait until midnight of February 13th, like I did for my girlfriends. The good cards are gone by then. Once I had to alter the last card in the drugstore—a Get Well card—into a Valentine’s card. It was in Spanish, too.”
Rex had put his paws over his eyes—a feeble attempt to close me out of his world.
“Knock it off, Rex. We’ve got to get a gift for Millie. My God, she has everything a guy could want! Silky hair, bright eyes, pleasant disposition. Shoot, if she wasn’t a dog, I’d ask her out myself!”
Rex uncovered his eyes and stared at me. I think I had crossed a line with him I shouldn’t have.
“Well, you know. I was just speaking figuratively. Don’t get your hackles up. How about a nice dog tag? ‘With Love from Rex?’ ‘Rex and Millie Forever?’ ‘You’re a Fine Canine?’ Hmmm?”
Rex was hanging his head upside down over the edge of the couch. His chops hung open in total abandonment. He half-closed his eyes and was making choking noises.
“Forget it, Rex. I know you’re faking it. You’re not choking and I’m not going to give you the Heimlich maneuver like I did in the McDonald’s parking lot. Behave yourself. I’m trying to help you. Oh, forget it.”
I got up and left him to his silly diversions. He could get his own gift for Millie. I’ve got to hand it to him, though—at least he has a girlfriend. Me? Maybe next year.
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Tom and / or Rex can be reached at email@example.com.