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What's in Simon's backpack for school?

Don't you think that dogs should go to school?

Think about it. If you have a dog and after they spent the summer swimming, digging out flowers, getting hair all over the house and chewing on shoes and socks, wouldn't it be nice to put them on a bus and just send them away for seven or eight hours five days a week? Now wouldn't that be great?

I think the dogs would love it, too. They would be with other dogs. Their recess would be held on one big giant field where they could run and chase after each other. The male dogs would leer at the new female dogs and wink at their friends when they saw a good looker. Most of their time would be doing what dogs like to do — smelling one another.

If there were all-day schools for dogs, this would mean they would have to have a backpack, right? Imagine dogs of all sizes and shapes boarding the bus with a pack strapped to their backs — small packs for the small dogs and big packs for the bigger dogs. What would they carry in them? Can you imagine?

Simon's teachers would tell him to go to the local pet store or department store and find the list of dog school items that pertain to his school. Simon's school is called "Lassie Academy." It has the distinction of turning out the best looking dogs of any school and was voted No. 5 in "US Dog School Report" of all dog schools that catered to dogs with long hair.

Lassie Academy requested that all dogs bring the following supplies: a snack for snack time, a good brush, a stick of the dog's choice, some pictures, something for show and bark, a towel in case it rained during recess, a small blanket for dog naps and a leash (just in case the dog got rowdy and had to go to dog detention).

Simon would bring a picture of his daughter, Simone. Can you see other dogs opening their packs and showing pictures of their siblings or sons and daughters? Simone is too young for school yet but next year when she goes she could have a picture of her dad, Simon, to show.

Simon would bring a picture of Simone swimming with a big stick in her mouth. "I'll bet your daughter can't swim as good as my daughter. She could swim all day and never get tired. I can't keep up with her anymore." Simon would also tell his dogmates that one of Simone's favorite things is to chase chipmunks and chew on John's slippers.

Simon would have other pictures, too. There would be pictures of his home, the lake, his toys like the rubber ring and, of course, pictures of sticks. There would even be a picture of him riding on the pontoon boat. "At first I was kind of scared to jump on to it because it was always moving but now I don't even think about it. Simone even rides on it."

Simon would also have pictures of John and Kathy. John would be fishing off his dock or holding up a fish and Kathy would be watering her plants. In each picture, there would be Simon, of course. He would tell his friends, "Wherever they go, I go. I'm sure they want it that way. You do what you have to do to keep them happy."

For show-and-bark Simon would bring a sock. "This is my favorite thing to play with. I like to grab on to it and play tug-of-war with Simone. I like to chew on it and make holes. Most of all, I just like to smell it. I think John's socks are meant to be my toys because I find them on the floor all the time."

For snack time, Simon would bring a giant dog biscuit. Simon says, "I'm going to have half of it in the morning and half in the afternoon. It's going to be hard not to eat the whole thing at once, but I'm going to try."

Just in case things got boring, Simon would have his stick to play with. He would take it out and chew on it a little while keeping an eye on whatever else was going on around him. If others tried to take it away from him he would clamp down with his big teeth and there is no way any other dog would get his stick. "If you want a stick, bring your own. Or, if you don't have one I can bring one for you. Just bark."

There would also be a brush in Simon's backpack. Each dog was told to bring his or her own very best brush. Lassie Academy is known for its grooming. Their slogan is "Our dogs are the best because they look the best."

Yes, a neighborhood dog school would be a great gift to dog owners. "Simon, your school bus is here. Don't forget your backpack."