Kindles and Nooks and the internet have changed the way many read. I have not yet gone to electronic novel and nonfiction book reading. Like novels, many have also decided to go “paperless” with how they receive the daily news. Our family hasn’t yet gone “green” and we still have the newspaper delivered daily on our driveway. Now, our driveway is both steep and a tad long, so retrieving our paper means a short jaunt down a slope. We tried to turn our Vizsla, a Hungarian bird dog named Bumper, into a newspaper retriever. Bumper, who never did anything without gusto, was happy to oblige. At the age of eight months he knew the command “Get the Paper.” He’d charge down the drive, plant his front paws on the folded target, and skid down the rest of the hill. If we were in the rainy season, there was a chance the front page would be readable because our news was encased in a protective plastic bag. However, during the dry season, we were often not so lucky. I considered avoiding the problem by restricting Bumper’s access to the paper altogether, but the dog got such joy at delivering the tattered remains, I didn’t have the heart to alter the routine.
As Bumper entered his “teen” years, Bumper discovered that after he picked up the paper, it was great fun to play chase, shake the head and “kill” the paper. Most of the time, we’d miss only a paragraph or two from our morning read. Bumper got cancer and retired from his newspaper delivery job. For months, I lamented walking down the hill and stooping over to retrieve the condensed articles spouting local and world events. Until this week.
We have a new pup. Our four month old Australian shepherd/cattle dog mix has picked up the torch. For the last few mornings she has been carrying the paper up the hill. Today, she actually picked up the printed sheets and dutifully carried her prize to the front door. I swear I saw a look of pride glinting in her brown eyes. I don’t think she will ever tackle the newspaper like a wide receiver pouncing on a football the way Bumper did, but Bailey will do her job with enthusiasm. For that reason alone, I think I’ll stick with the written word.