It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Thunder Paws!


There’s something really incredible about having a dog with a sense of humor. I mean, who ever heard of a dog wearing a red plastic bucket over her head, or making a pillow fort at bedtime? I heard once that a sense of humor is a sign of intelligence. What about laughing until milk comes out my nose? Is that a sign of intelligence, too, or just a sign that I have a funny dog?

It all started the day Java entered my life – a rubbery, curious, gorgeous 12-week-old female Plott Hound pup with limbs, tail, ears, eyeballs and head going every which way depending upon what she wanted to express. By the time we got home from the shelter, I knew I had a funny one on my hands.

Maybe it was the time I got out of the shower and she was standing on top of the dining room table. Or, the time she grabbed a butcher knife in her mouth then did wind sprints through the house. Or, possibly the time she was being chased by my other dog, Veta, in the backyard and decided to leap into the evergreen tree to make a fast getaway – balancing her entire body on a low branch so Veta couldn’t get to her. How about the time that Java peed while standing up on her hind legs in a pile of snow – yeah, like a human – back legs spread apart on the ground and front legs on the retaining wall. The only thing missing was a camera.

The list goes on, but one of my favorites occurred over and over from the time Java was 4-9 months old. You see, I had this red, plastic bucket near my patio door that I filled with water to clean off the dogs’ paws before they came inside. Well, one day, my jokester of a puppy decided to dump the bucket, picked it up with her mouth and then flipped it over her head. As if that wasn’t funny enough, she then took off running all over the backyard – red, plastic bucket still rattling around her noggin – until she decided to come to a screeching halt. This ended up being a daily occurrence for Java until the snow fell that year.

Then, her favorite trick became running past me really fast in the snow, ripping my mitten off my hand and playing “catch me if you can” with an evil look in her eye. Oh, wait…did I mention yet about the first time I hung laundry on the line? It stayed there until I let her outside. Then, it became a waving toy to leap at and carry around the yard in her mouth. Smart human only hung laundry up once.

Okay, maybe this one is funny. There was the time I accidentally threw her ball on the roof, so I got the ladder to get it down. Well, while I was on the roof, Java climbed up two full rungs on the ladder and waited for me to toss her ball to her. Yeah, I know I was supposed to write about just one funny event, but with a dog with this kind of sense of humor, how can I pick just one event when funny stuff happens daily?

For years, Java woke up in the morning by sliding off the bed on her belly, then moving into an army crawl on the floor. That’s pretty funny in and of itself, but there’s more. While she was crawling across the floor she was wagging her tail, snapping her mouth open and closed, and making her eyeballs go back and forth like a cartoon dog.

Java has since moved on to simpler delights in the morning. She now gets her chuckles by ever-so-gently placing the tiny little hairs on her muzzle up against my arm, face or lips until I can’t stand it anymore and I wake up laughing.

And just last week she ran outside to chase a squirrel and ended up wearing one of my tomato cages!

I think the masses may be ready for the Java Comedy Hour!


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