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Dogs have more personality than most people I know, especially the dogs my relatives own. In the summer, these dogs enjoy a communal lifestyle while all my relatives are living on a lake at the four cottages known as the Cove.

These dogs are stupid. They don't share three brain cells between them. Bailey and Maggie are sisters who have different owners. Both are the shortest black labs you will ever see. They are impossible to tell apart, so we combine their names and call them both either Baggie or Maggot. It actually doesn't matter what we call them. If we say any name in a calling fashion all the dogs come running, their tongues drooping out the sides of their mouths and their ears flapping. In the slow points of summer, we get our kicks calling, "Come here, stupid," and watching them run to us with eagerness and dumb loyalty.

Max, my uncle's dog, is the only male at the Cove. He is supposedly a purebred golden retriever, but he looks nothing like one. Everyone who sees him thinks he is a Newfoundland, much to my uncle's chagrin. Max is really a sweet dog, but this does not make up for the massive amount that he slobbers. After staying at our house, I will find drool on the doors, at the places where he rests his head on the table, on my jeans, on my dog, and oozing down the walls after he shakes off.

Bitsy is a little curly-haired dog. Her tail is constantly wagging. She will wag her tail at my feet until I bend down and pet her; then she will move on to the next person. Her owners have a baby named Sam. She will fiercely defend Sam from everything, as Lassie would for Timmy. Her teeth will be barred and her reflexes quick if any person upsets Sam.

She lost her leg in some unknown accident and now moves quite agilely on three. Some teenage visitor spotting the dog said, "Look, that dog only has three legs!" The other, more intelligent teenager responded smacking his friend on the back of the head, "No, its not, you dummy. There is no such thing as a three-legged dog."

What personalities these dogs have! There is a perfect combination of stupidity, loyalty, and energy that dogs exhibit which makes us feel so very attached to them all. We put up with the ruined gardens, little "surprises" on the lawn, barking streaks, slobbering, and shaking off. We put up with it all for the joy of seeing Maggie "drown" Bailey in a beautifully executed maneuver for a tennis ball thrown into the lake, or to see Max perform dog yoga asleep on his back with all four legs up in the air, his eyes rolled back in his head, and his tongue drooping out. Dogs given free roam provide more entertainment than cable TV.

Jen Watkins is a student at Leland Public School. You can read more Leland students' work in the Beechnut Review

Copyright 2000 Manitou Publishing Co. & Jen Watkins & Beechnut Review • All Rights Reserved.

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