For the past 7 years, my Labrador has been joining me in the shop, a good
companion, never underfoot, constantly watchful, and thinking who knows what
dogs think. I remember as clearly as though it were last week (fuzzily, that
is to say, but vividly), watching him with mixed emotions as he nosed about
the scrap pile one day, and gingerly picked out a piece for himself. He
curled up with it in his corner and started to nibble. Not chew; there is no
mistaking the difference between the deliberate gnashing on the front teeth
and a Lab's jaws' normal gnawing and chewing. He was whittling! A woodworker
dog. How cool is that? Mixed emotions, because I didn't want him taking
liberties with finished work. And so, I spoke harshly to him one day as he
picked out his scrap, when I could no longer contain the little voice of
misplaced distrust. He hasn't touched a scrap since.
No, this isn't a note of rememberance in passing, although he is getting a
bit gray, and a little slow to respond to the UPS truck's brakes these days.
Rather, it's a celebration of living, and the continuity of life. You see,
he sired a litter, and we kept one to raise. That was 2 years ago. The
"little one" is now mostly grown, the spitting image of his father. The shop
had been dormant the past few years, until about a month ago. Almost
naturally enough, I had 2 dogs to vacuum each night as I closed up shop.
This morning, I found a "whittled" apart scrap in the middle of the family
room. But did I recall the twinge of remorse from those years ago? Nope. I
harshly called them to conference, and the little guy stepped forwardly
contritely to claim the pile. It was only then that I noticed the clean,
square cross grain "cuts". Dogs don't do that when they chew. This was a
deliberate, ... I'm not sure what it is. Gawd, I hope I didn't stifle
another developing talent. We'll see in a couple of days... At least it was
4/4 poplar. Where did he get the sense to pick that and not the cherry?
(Well, on second look, it was all split out on the grain. The clean cross
cuts were my trimming the pieces. It was a chunk of 1x fir that I had cut
some practice dovetails into. Ah well, the illusion was there for a few
moments. I'd post a picture, but you'd find it uninteresting. :)