“As the Lodge Turns” Episode 42: Honorary Members?!

On this episode of “As the Lodge Turns”…

As I follow Max to the other side of the yard, I notice that my paws seem strangely heavy. And it’s no wonder…we’re about to introduce ourselves to the gang of puppies that splashed us with pool water and called us ‘old men’!

To make matters worse, Max wants us to join them!

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“Are you sure about this, Max? What if they laugh at us again?” I ask in a low bark, picking up my pace.

“Bing, these puppies respect authority. It’s all about attitude! Act like the pool thing didn’t bother you, and they have nothing to hit you with. Think ‘cool’,” Max says, narrowing his eyes.

Hmm…cool, huh? Yeah, I can do that!

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The puppies are huddled at one corner of the fence, romping and nipping without a care in the world. I feel a tightening in my chest at the sight; for an instant I’m transported back to days of boundless energy and curiosity. I’ve never thought of myself as an old dog, but when I compare myself to this rambunctious group, I can’t help feeling like I must have lost something without even realizing…

Suddenly I lock eyes with the huge puppy who shouted at us earlier and my legs begin to shake.

Who am I kidding? There’s no way I can be a cool beagle!

Luckily Max steps in immediately to ease the tension.

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“Hey fam, what’s happening?” he asks, somehow managing to exude youthful confidence.

“What does ‘fam’ mean? Some old dude word? We’re a ‘fraternity’ – it’s like a club that only cool dogs can join,” says the bull terrier puppy with an authoritative bark.

Well, we tried, Max…

“What a coincidence! We’re actually here to join you boys!” Max announces, his face a convincing mask of composure.

The puppies snicker amongst themselves.

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“You two? Sorry, but no geezers allowed. It’d be against our principles as a cool fraternity,” says the large puppy, shaking his head at us.

I turn to look at Max but I can’t read his expression.

What do we do now?

“Yes, I understand. Principles are definitely important. At the end of the day, you might say nothing matters except for your principles. Sticking to them though…that’s not so easy. As a fraternity, you’re probably familiar with a little thing called community service, right?” Max asks, his tail swishing back and forth in anticipation.

The puppies look at each other, searching for answers in each other’s eyes. Finally they all nod, though whether they actually know or not is a different story.

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“Well then, for your next service project, why don’t you teach a couple of old dogs some new tricks? Say, for example, a hip German shepherd and his beagle sidekick?”

The puppies blink back at us before forming a tight circle. They speak so quietly that neither of us can hear what they’re saying.

“So I’m your sidekick now, huh?” I mumble, shooting Max a disparaging look.

“We all have to start somewhere,” Max says, winking at me.

Suddenly the group turns to face us.

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“We’ve decided to make you honorary members of our fraternity, but just honorary, so don’t get too excited, bros,” says the bull terrier with his chest puffed out.

“Sweet! We’ve always wanted to be part of a boy’s club,” Max says, taking a step forward.

A few of the puppies giggle. What’s so funny this time?

“Sorry to crush your hopes and dreams, but most of us are girls,” says a female yellow lab puppy through a few hearty laughs.

Now we look old and out of it!

“First we should introduce ourselves. My name is Villain,” says the bull terrier, smiling at us for the first time.

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“And I’m Villain’s beautiful, brilliant, totally amazing girlfriend, Pearl! Welcome!!” shouts the feisty Jack Russell puppy at his side.

“I’m Samwise, but you can call me Sam if you want!” declares the big mastiff puppy.

“Shaka,” the yellow lab puppy says, finally overcoming her uncontrollable laughter.

“And that puppy over there is Takara! She’s just a little shy,” Pearl says, nodding to the quiet black lab puppy at the edge of the group.

They all seem to be very close. I can’t help but wish that I’d spent time at the Lodge when I was younger…

“What are your names?” Samwise asks, stepping towards us.

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“I’m Max, and this here is Bing!” Max says, his long pink tongue hanging out.

“Okay, now forget them! We’re going to give you your new fraternity names!” says Pearl, bouncing around us.

New…names? It’s hard enough to remember the one!

“From now on, your name is…uh…Cat!” Pearl says, pointing her nose at Max.

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Cat?! I flinch out of habit.

“Why Cat?” he asks, tilting his head to the side.

“Because you have pointy ears, just like a cat!”

“Wolves have pointy ears too you know…”

Pearl ignores his suggestion and turns towards me instead. My heart beats faster…

What will my new name be…?

…to be continued…