Dear Smiley: Many years ago I had a big black Lab named Brutus. Just before the teal hunting season, I would take him along the jogging trail on Lake Pontchartrain in Kenner.
I would throw a training dummy in the lake and send him after it.
The lake was choppy, it was a really hot day and he had already made several retrieves. He was dog-tired.
I threw the dummy in the lake one last time and he just laid down and wouldn't go after it. So, not wanting to lose the training dummy, I took my shoes and shirt off and went in after it.
As I was swimming back with the dummy I saw a jogger approaching. As I got out of the water he said, "How long did it take that dog to teach you to retrieve that thing?"
I said, "Not long!" and we had a good laugh.
Charley the hero
Dear Smiley: I was introduced to Charley, my mixed black Lab, over 10 years ago on the steps of my LSU laboratory.
He had been seen all across campus with no collar before he wandered up to one of my assistants.
Across the street were the campus police and animal control. I was called outside and made a quick decision. I told them the young Lab was going home with me.
One day, a few years later, utility workers were outside my house repairing our electrical service as a result of a fallen tree limb.
The supervisor on the ground kept reminding the lineman to make sure the wires were reconnected correctly.
Suddenly, the supervisor heard Charley start barking like crazy. He knew something must be wrong, because neither of my dogs had uttered a peep prior to that.
He ran to the fence and saw smoke pouring from my ridge vents. He screamed at the lineman to disconnect everything. My attic wiring was fried, just shy of setting my 50-year-old house on fire.
At over 11 years old, Charley remains my special hero. When he barks, I listen.
MARY H. MANHEIN
No buss stop here
Dear Smiley: My older brother has a friend who is a retired plumber. He tells the story of how a lady called him and said her toilet would not flush.
He went to the home, and using some form of rotor device tried to dislodge the clog. Each time he tried, he struck something hard that left a small piece of pink substance on the device.
Calling the homeowner into the bathroom, he inquired about what it could possibly be. She sheepishly admitted that after a party several nights before she had lost her dentures while bending over the facility.
He advised her that he could save the teeth, but it would require him to break the toilet and replace it with a new one.
The deed was done, and she was so thankful that he had recovered her teeth that after cleaning them and putting them in her mouth, she reached out to kiss him on his way out of the house.
He promptly turned a cheek to her — and held his breath!
Mom's chilly surprise
Dear Smiley: Reading some of the cat funeral stories prompted me to write and tell my tale:
As young children, aged 5 and 7, my sister and I found a dead cat beside the sidewalk.
Feeling sorry for the cat, we decided to bring it home and try to find a way to bring it back to life.
My sister took the back legs and I took the front legs and we carried it home. It was long dead and stiff as a board.
We knew that we had to find a place to hide it from our mother until we could figure out how to revive it.
So we put it in the refrigerator. We thought this would keep it as fresh as it did the food.
I think the screams that came out of our mother can still be heard 60 years later.