Max: Remember last summer when we had fleas?
Bubba: (Biting at her paw) Yeah, it was horrible all that itching and scratching. And every time I got comfortable, Mom came after me with the flea comb.
Max: Or Dad vacuumed the rugs and I had to bark at the vacuum. That thing’s like a dog-sucking monster.
Bubba: I have nightmares. And then Mom washed our beds.
Max: And Dad vacuumed the sofa cushions and I had to bark.
Bubba: And Mom gave us baths.
Max: Dad vacuumed behind the dresser and I had to bark.
Bubba: (Shuddering) And Mom slathered more flea stuff on us.
Max: Yeah. I hate that stuff. It burns. Plus all the little fleas are scurrying around screaming “Help me, Help me.”
Bubba: I thought that was you.
Max: Nope, I’m way too manly for that. But you know what I figured out?
Bubba: That the house was cleaner than it had ever been?
Max: No. (Runs in a tight circle, then jumps in and lays a full lick tongue on Bubba’s nose) I figured out that Mom and Dad do a lot of stuff for us. They buy food and walk us and brush us and put those drops in your eye, and brush our teeth.
Bubba: And clean up after us. Like the other night when you ralphed on the bed.
Max: (Looking innocent) Must have been that carrot.
Bubba: That’s the ticket. Blame the carrot.
Max: Don’t get me started on what you did behind the chair.
Bubba: I got caught short. The sun was in my eyes. My rising sign was sinking into Venus. I—
Max: Try the carrot excuse, it worked for me. The point is, we should get them a present or something.
Bubba: With what? (growls accusingly) Have you been banking your biscuits?
Max. No, you’d find them and eat them, anyway. Besides, dog biscuits aren’t recognized as monetary units by financial institutions.
Bubba: (Sitting down and scratching forehead with her paw.) Whoa! Big words from a dog who hasn’t figured out what ‘Max come here’ or ‘Max get off Daddy’s chest’ means.
Max: Like you have room to talk, Miss Sits-In-The-Window-and-Barks-Her-Brains-Out-Even-After-Mom-Tells-Her-To-Stop.
Bubba: Hell-oh oh. It was a cat! On our lawn!
Max: Oh. A cat on the lawn. Well, excuuuse me.
Bubba: (turning and mumbling an aside) Secret cat sympathizer.
Max: (Running to get in front of her) But, see, the point is that Mom and Dad get all stressed out sometimes and sometimes we’re kind of not helping that, so we should do something nice for them or they might start thinking that we’re not worth the effort.
Bubba: (Gulps.) Much as I hate to admit you have a good idea, it might pay off to do something to distract them.
Max: I can dance.
Bubba: Not special. You do that all the time now.
Max: Jump through the hoop?
Bubba: (Yawning) Old hat.
Max: Look adorable?
Bubba: (Gagging) Been there, done that.
Max: Load the dishwasher.
Bubba: (Holding out paw) Really? Really? No opposable thumbs, remember, dufus?
Max: Oh, yeah. The thumb thing. Oooh. Oooh. Oooh. I know what!
Max: It’s perfect. It distracts me every time.
Max: Yeah. It takes my mind off of everything. See next time Mom and Dad are stressed out I’ll just point to the back yard and yell—
Max: (Slams into glass sliding door) Where? Where?