Thursday, April 12, 2018

DogSpeak: Reflections from Lord Banjo

Originally published in the Highlands Newspaper 4/12/18

Our Wacky Winter Weather
Lord Banjo Penn

Here in the Royal City of Atlanta, we endured a winter heat wave in early March. We broke a record when temps headed into the 70s and 80s. For some reason, the humans were happy about the weather and could be found frolicking in shorts and tank tops. Since I can’t unzip my fuzzy suit, warm weather is not my thing.

A brief rise into the low 80s may not seem all that hot, and at least it wasn’t humid, but consider this weather headline: “Warm Winter Bad News for Allergy Sufferers.” Why? Because the pollen count has reached the danger zone. Lord Banjo is allergic to quite a few things, and one of them is pollen.

The Royal Mum knew right away the pollen count was high, because she saw me rubbing my nose on my dog beds. I get itchy all over, not just on my nose, but all the way up and down my body. Unless I start my daily dose of allergy meds, I’ll soon be rubbing my royal body all along the side of Mum and Dad’s bed, and chewing and scratching. I hate those little pink pills, but I
guess it beats the hot spots I get without them.

I wonder whether my royal ancestors suffered the indignity of having pills shoved down their throats. I liked it much better when Mum packed my pills in peanut butter—that is, until she discovered I’m allergic to that too. Yup, I’m allergic to peanut butter, tuna, and potatoes. Have you any idea how many dog chews contain potato starch?

When it got a bit cooler, I briefly enjoyed lying in the sun while Mum and Dad worked in the yard, but I was ready to go back in long before they were. Dad made some uncomplimentary remarks about my manhood when I barked to go inside, but he doesn’t get it. I know my limits, and my shiny black coat was fast becoming dusty, a sure sign the itchies would follow. And itchies can lead to the dreaded hot spots.

I understand that humans don’t get the itchies. Instead, they sneeze, get watery eyes and even get sick. The Royal Dad starts with sneezing and then proceeds to get a sinus infection, though the Royal Mum seems immune to that affliction. Given the Royal Dad’s tendency to get sick, wouldn’t you think he’d have more sympathy for me with my skin allergies?

Perhaps this Royal Dog can banish pollen? If not, I think I’ll decree that all pills be buried in hamburgers or perhaps foie gras. Pills tucked in foie gras—now that’s the ticket.

Lord Banjo and his mum Kathy Manos Penn live in Georgia. Find similar stories in his book, “Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch,” available on Amazon. Contact him at