“Stella? Is that you? My God, I haven’t seen you since we were roommates at the sorority house. It’s really great to see you.”

“It’s good to see you, too, Helen. Are you still the biggest concert fan who ever pledged to I Phelta Thi?”

“I’m afraid I don’t see as many shows as I used to. Not since Pierre came into my life.”


“My French poodle. I just hate leaving him home alone.”

“I know what you mean, Helen. I used to have that problem with my little Sammy. During the first year I had him, I must have missed at least 100 shows, including Britney Spears and David Wilcox, before I wised up and let him know who’s boss.”


“Uh, uh. The first thing I did was put him on a short leash, along with one of those electrified collars that gives out a shock whenever he misbehaves. That made him sit up and take notice.”

“I’ll bet. Did it work?”

“It was a start. It’s all about dominance, Helen. I had no problem with him once I established the pecking order . For example, when I wanted to see Walter Trout & The Radicals, I just put him in the crate.”

“I couldn’t do that to Pierre. He’d howl all night.”

“Sammy did that the first couple of times, like when I saw Pennywise and Rise Against, but he got over it. Now he just whimpers a little bit and then curls up next to his water dish.”


“Oh, yes. And then there was that week I wanted to see Jefferson Starship, Bruce Bruce and Journey. Sammy tried to throw a fit, but I just rapped him over the nose with a rolled-up newspaper and then shoved him into the crate.”

“And it worked?”

“Like a charm. Of course, I also use positive reinforcement. Take this week, for example. I’m going to see Robben Ford on Thursday and Puddle Of Mudd and Steven Wright this weekend. Sammy may not like the crate, but he knows he’ll get a little belly-rub and a pat on the head when I return. Then I’ll toss him a few treats before I tie him up for the night.”

“Gee, Stella, I don’t know if I could do that with Pierre.”

“Discipline, Helen. It’s all about discipline. It is I who controls Sammy, not Sammy who controls me. If I want to see Incubus and Ed Harcourt, then Sammy will just have to get used to the crate. That is, if he knows what’s good for him.”

“If it works for you, Stella, that’s all that matters. But I could never treat a dog that way.”

“Dog? What dog? I don’t have a dog, Helen.”


“Oh, look at the time. It’s been really great seeing you again, Helen, but If I’m ever going to make it on time to see David Copperfield tonight, I’ll going to have to run and pick up some fresh batteries for Sammy’s collar before he gets home from the office.”