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Bringing home the rubber chicken

Letters From the Home Front

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This week I bought my dog a rubber chicken. He's not a budding stand-up comic; he's not even a little bit funny. It's just that during my most recent trip to the pet store for an essential -- dog food -- I made a wrong turn down the chew-toy aisle, and this particular plaything amused me. As did the squeaky hotdog I brought him last time, and the rubber wrench the time before. All Simon wants is food, yet last time I checked, he doesn't have an active debit card. So I'm his personal shopper. And the pet store knows this. While his single purpose in life is to consume, I am the consumer -- at least where the pet store is concerned. The toys are designed to appeal to me. My dog, being a dog, didn't get the joke. After giving me a brief "What the hell is that, and is it OK to eat it?" glance, he reluctantly accepted my generous gift. And that's when instincts kicked in. You see, he is a golden retriever, a bird dog by nature. Now, when he dares to go near the whimsic...