Originally published in the Highlands Newspaper and Beaufort County News Online
Mum will continue to write "The Ink Penn" for the Crier, Beaufort County Now, and the Highlands Newspaper, and I'll write "Dogspeak: Reflections from Lord Banjo" on alternate weeks. My Highlands readers can decide whose writing is more interesting. Since Mum was once an English teacher, and I learned at her feet, so to speak, I'd say we're both fairly erudite. Whose columns are more popular may depend more on the topics than the style.
Mum will graciously help with my columns, as my paws are too big for the keyboard. That means she'll take dictation, type, and, submit my work. She's also in charge of negotiating my fee. Since we live in Georgia and our editor lives in North Carolina, I can't request payment in belly rubs, as I usually do, and I don't think Mum would accept shipments of the table scraps I crave even if our editor agreed. I may have to settle for boxes of Itty Bitty Biscuits, the only treats allowed on my very strict maintenance diet.
You'll understand about my diet, If you've read my book "Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch," and if you haven't, I must ask, "Why not?" (I mean ... it's available on Amazon, you know.) The short version of the diet story is that I lost ten pounds on a starvation diet, prescribed and supervised by the Royal Physician, and I've managed to keep the weight off for over a year. It hasn't been hard to keep off, as the Royal Parents are very careful about what they feed me and very, very vigilant about keeping me away from the cat's wet food.
Will you think less of me if I confess that I chuckle to myself when I hear my parents moan about their winter weight gain? Did you know dogs could chuckle? You'd chuckle too if you heard my dad complain about his weight, walk me twice a day in an attempt to lose a pound or two, and then ask Mum where she hid the chocolate. He is incorrigible when it comes to chocolate or any sweet for that matter. Snickers and peanut M&Ms are his favorites, and Mum doesn't allow those in the house.
Mum's downfall seems to be cheese and crackers and perhaps the tasty soups and stews she cooks when it's cold outside. Maybe if the Royal Parents stuck to a daily ration of two cups of dry food, supplemented with a dental chewie and a few Itty Bitty Biscuits, they wouldn't have this problem. Can you see why I have not much sympathy for their plight?
Suffice it to say that someone in the Penn household is always on a diet, and from time to time, someone manages to lose a few pounds. The Royal Pooch, so far, is the champ at keeping the pounds off.
Surely, the Penns aren't the only ones fighting winter weight gain. With Easter baskets on the horizon, will you succumb to the temptation of chocolate rabbits or will you start a diet because warm weather is just around the corner? Food for thought?
Find "Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch," and my collection of columns, "The Ink Penn: Celebrating the Magic in the Everyday," on Amazon. Contact me and Lord Banjo at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/KathyManosPennAuthor/.