My Dogs Don’t Do Time Zones

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by Jon Kaufman

The state of Arizona does not believe in daylight savings time and neither does my dog Roscoe.  Along with Hawaii, Arizona decided to stay on “standard” time all year long, opting to give up an hour of their world famous scorching heat, thus sparing their senior-centric populace any unplanned cremations in July.  Until recently, Indiana spurned DST and used there own complicated remedy which required the state to keep an M.I.T professor on retainer during the dog day months. Sadly, budget cuts pushed the Hoosiers to join the rest of us.

Roscoe, our Basset Hound, is the self-appointed timekeeper in our home. Whether it is feeding time, medicine time, or time for a doggie treat, you can bet Roscoe will (less than gently) sound the call to action and gather the troops.  Our pack dines at 9:30am and 9:30pm, due to our diabetic Beagle’s stringent schedule.

 Roscoe can be (and often is) in a coma-like sleep seconds before supper arrives, with no indication of movement or sound whatsoever.  Milliseconds before chow time (when we consider checking his vital signs, fearing the worst) Roscoe will suddenly spring to his paws, shoot off of the couch, and spin around wildly, as if Publisher’s Clearing House was standing on our porch with ten million dollars worth of Beggin Strips. Roscoe’s deep, resounding, unforgettable howl fills the air and continues until his face is full of Alpo. However, twice a year, Roscoe, the furry alarm clock, needs to be reset.

The whole time switching thing always has Roscoe out-of-sorts for a week or two.  It’s kind of like when Shiloh, our blind diabetic beagle, accidently discovers that someone has moved the furniture as he rushes to the door and T-bones a coffee table. Incredibly, Roscoe’s timing following DST is EXACTLY one hour off. Now, when 8:30 comes around, our excited clock-watcher flies into his routine only to be told to sit back down, much to his confusion. He must think that he is losing his mind or is convinced that everyone else has.

Basset Hounds are generally not very animated dogs and Roscoe is really no exception other than when he rings the dinner bell. Mostly Roscoe sleeps, lies outside in the sun and plops his head down on my wife Janet’s lap.  He is our third Basset.  I chose the Basset Hound in remembrance of “Penny,” my Aunt Sadie’s dog, and because they are the only breed that makes even me look “dynamic.”  Equipped with two sleep masks on each side of their head, Basset’s will often drape an ear over their eyes to assure complete darkness as they slumber.

Sometime, probably in the middle of next week, Roscoe will make the necessary adjustments and right his time keeping ship. I will miss his extra performance each night. It reminds me of a small child screaming “SURPRISE” every time a guest enters the house, an hour before their sister’s surprise party. Yet, there is a lot one can say about Roscoe’s steadfast resolve as well.  In these trying times, it sure is nice to have something on which you can depend.