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This morning we woke up with the sun, but Mom didn’t take me for a run, which I thought was very strange. The sun comes up and we go run, it’s just what we do. But not today. Finally, when the day was half over and it was really, really, late (like 8:30 in the morning) Mom finally started putting together hiking stuff. Since audiences with Friends are the only time we ever get started this late, I knew that today was going to be a good day, but I didn’t know who had booked an appearance with me.

We were in the car for a long time, but when we got out I didn’t see any Friends waiting for me. There was a man with his whole body inside his car and only his butt sticking out. I stuck my nose in his butt and asked through his legs, “Are you my Friend?”
“No, Oscar. That’s not your car,” Mom said.
Then we went to the people bathroom, and when we came back out I popped out the door with a big smile in case anyone wanted me to do the “tadaaaaa!” but no one was there to cheer for me. Instead we stood by the bathroom waiting some more. A people puppy that was just my height came up and gave me a treat and some pats. “Are you my Friend?!” I asked, sticking my nose toward hers until she ran away. “Wait! Friend! Come back!” I barked after her, and wagged my tail to show that I was a fun friend to have.
“Leave her alone, Oscar,” Mom said.

Then a car that smelled and sounded familiar pulled up. I was just trying to place it when I saw a face almost as fetching as mine (but a little less hunky) pop up in the back window! It was my long-lost soulmate and twin sister, Bodie! “Oscar! I’ve missed you!” she barked and tried to wriggle out the window.
“Bodie! Where have you been?!” I barked, and tried to jump in the window.
“Where should I park?” said Bodie’s Mom.
“Leave your car here! Come out now!” I said, climbing under the wheels so that she would know what I meant. She did stop the car and let Bodie out, but then she went away with the car.
“Where did my Mom go?!” Bodie whined.
“Who cares! Mom and I are here! We’re a family again!” I said, snuggling up to her butt to sniff what she’d been up to. I don’t know what Bodie gets so nervous about sometimes, but she just could not chill out until her mom came back. “Look! My Mom’s doing the treat dispenser!” I told her to try to make her feel better. “Don’t you want treats, Bodie?” Then I ate hers before she could turn around and see it.
“Where’s my Mom?” said Bodie, not even looking at the treat dispenser, or her very handsome twin brother who was eating all of her treats. When Bodie’s Mom reappeared, Bodie strained at her leash like she was chasing a cat and barked and barked, “Where were you?! Come here! I was so worried! Oh my god, I can’t reach you!!! Don’t leave me again!”
“Shut up!” said Bodie’s Mom.
“Your Mom pronounces ‘I love you’ funny just like my Mom!” I said. “That must be a family thing!”

Soon Bodie and I were off leash and chasing each other around the woods like the adventure team we were meant to be. Every once in awhile we had to come take some treats from The Moms, but mostly they left us alone and talked about dumb Moms stuff while we drank out of rivers, chased squirrels, and sniffed at passers by. Mom is a great life partner and everything, but sometimes you just need a friend who is just like you. Mom knows me better than anyone, but she’s bossy. With Bodie I can just be myself and she doesn’t tell me to stop chewing a hole in her sweatpants, or barking at the Back Yard Squirrel at 2am, or to stop licking her face just because she’s driving.

After Bodie and I had been running around for really a very long time, I looked back at the Moms. They were passing The Witch in Mom’s Phone back and forth, turning round and round and holding it up like a divining rod, and pointing down different trails. I said, “We’ve taken a lot of turns. I wonder if The Moms know that we’re still walking away from the cars.”
“Probably not,” Bodie said. “My Mom is terrible with directions.”
“Uh oh,” I said. “Mine too.”
“It’s okay!” said Bodie. “More play time for us!”
Then the Moms chose the trail that continued into the valley and away from the cars. “Yaaay!” Bodie and I cheered together. “Extra hiking!” And then we ran off into the brush to chase a noise.

“Do you ever wonder why they’re always staring at that thing?” I asked Bodie. I knew the answer, but I wanted to see if she knew the answer too, and if she didn’t then I would sound smart.
“Because it’s full of pictures of us, and they’re obsessed with us?” Bodie suggested.
“Well, yes. But they’re not pointing it at us and giving us treats, so it’s doing something else too,” I said, standing a little taller because Bodie is a smart dog and she hadn’t figured it out, so I knew that I was a very smart dog. “Because there is a witch inside,” I explained. “Humans trust her to tell them where to go all the time. But she’s kind of a jerk and she lies to them a lot, and then they get real mad and confused and they yell at her, but they still have to follow her or else all they can do is drive around the same block for the rest of their lives until they die of old age.”
“Why don’t they just realize that if they went down a hill after leaving the car they will have to go back up a hill to get back to the car?” asked Bodie.
“I’m not quite sure,” I admitted. “I think they evolved that way over millions of years to be dependent on The Witch. Not all creatures evolved to be intelligent like dogs.”
“Well that makes sense,” Bodie said.

Eventually The Witch took pity on The Moms and showed them how to get back up the hill and to the car. It was okay, though, because I was getting real thirsty and tired from chasing Bodie 2,492 miles in 3 hours while The Moms followed The Witch for 7 miles into the woods and 2 miles back out. They were so tired and angry at The Witch that they even forgot to take a picture of their two irresistibly gorgeous matching dogs. (The picture above is from a different day.)

-Oscar the Very Smart Dog

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