Note: This piece was originally written in 2011, when Jack was still alive.
She's an active, street-smart female who has been in our family nearly her entire life. She was rescued from the streets of Shawnee, OK, when she was about six months old.
Ember is intelligent, active and always willing to engage - and argue - over activities. She's also very good at problem-solving, which is directly pertinent to the story you're now reading.
He and Ember like to engage in mock battle whenever they are preparing to go out for a walk or for a ride in our Jeep. Always the gentle giant, Jack generally tries hard to keep himself on a level playing field with the little dog. He'll often resort to laying down and playing with her from that position, suffering all the associated indignities as she leaps over him or stands on her hind legs, using her fore legs to hold him down.
Jack is Ember's favorite toy. (Translation of Ember's first reaction to playing with Mr. Jack: "Oh, look! He rolls around and makes loud sounds when I pounce on him or bite his ears & paws! Wheeee!")
Normally, Ember sits in a seat behind the driver while Jack positions himself with his head between the front driver and passenger seats, enabling both of them to watch the ride and "snuffle" the air as it passes by. Once in a while, Ember leaves her seat and rides in the far back of the vehicle, staring out at the drivers behind us and making faces at them occasionally.
To her sensitive snuffler, that's not an enviable position. Jack, of course, doesn't care. (Well, if the release of gas is accompanied by any kind of associate sound effect, his head whips around and he gives his butt a curious look, as if to say "Waitaminute - you can talk?!?")
She decided to get herself a new license.
A driver's license.
As near as we could make out, Ember believed that being the driver instead of the passenger would give her the best of all worlds. She would gain possession of a coveted front seat position, avoid being stuck directly in the malamute's "line of fire" and have both a clear view of the road as well as a window all her own.
She's almost ready for her learner's permit.
We expect her to have some degree of difficulty with the written test - but we're really not sure about whether we'd want her to actually get a driver's license. We're concerned that her strong, innate prey drive with regard to small animals (particularly squirrels) would prevent her from being one hundred percent trustworthy on the road by herself. Ember appears to have anticipated our objections, however - she quickly pointed to the Oklahoma driver's license of her friend Smoky, an Alaskan Malamute with a penchant for running down skunks.
It has Kathi and I a little worried that this might all be part of some insidious plot by our slightly neurotic malamute, but - to what end?
Ah, well - in the final analysis, perhaps we should help encourage Ember's pursuit of a driver's license. After all - what could possibly go wrong?
Thanks for reading, folks.