Boomer and Miss Brenda

By Mickey Dunaway

A day or so before last Thanksgiving, our Democrat next-door neighbor (Miss Brenda to our Brittanys, Boomer, and Chloe) spilled some of her Thanksgiving dinner, taking it from the oven—mostly dressing—all over the floor and in the oven.  Soon she texted Sandy to tell her the tale of Thanksgiving woe. Sandy commiserated and remarked that she just needed Boomer to clean up the mess. Sure enough, a few minutes later, Miss Brenda, having thought on the offer, called to see if Boomer could really come over and clean up the mess.  

Boomer has birdy-senses (like Spidey-senses, but residing with Brittany bird dogs), so he heard the conversation, and his ears immediately perked up at the mention of food.  We don’t know how many human facial expressions and how much vocabulary Boomer understands, but it is in the hundreds. 

Our Boomer is many things: a registered Brittany from an award-winning mother; a bird dog who points anything that moves along the ground or sits on the fence; the most recognizable dog in our community; an escape artist and runner if he gets off his leash; and a first-class chowhound.


Miss Brenda knew of Boomer’s love of food of almost any kind, and that prompted her phone call and the invitation to Boomer to visit for pre-Thanksgiving hors d’oeurves. As soon as he entered, his birdy-senses went to work. Boomer scarfed up dressing that had spilled on the floor and moved to the oven door, then inside the oven. Finally, he checked out the countertops. None of this was a problem for a counter-surfing Brittany like Boomer. However, he did not stop with the oven and counters. Using his birdy-sense, he promptly found Miss Brenda’s dog Augie’s food and helped himself to that as well. Miss Brenda considered losing Augie’s food a small price to pay to not have to get out the vacuum and mop on Thanksgiving Day with the big meal looming just over the horizon.


Did I mention that Boomer has a memory like an elephant and has taught himself to open the door leading in from our patio? Yep. Totally true. Both enhance his birdy senses in unique ways, as you will soon see.

We shall skip ahead a few months to springtime. Our neighbor on the other side had her grandson, Jack, over, and he always loves to come into our yard and play with Boomer and Chloe. We had failed to tell him to be careful closing the gate when he left the yard. We had learned the hard way, and on many occasions, Boomer could scoot through an opening hardly as big as the opening to my bluebird house. Well, Jack didn’t know, and Boomer did, and he squeezed through before Jack knew what was going on, and off Boomer jetted. Fortuitously, Miss Brenda was on her patio reading one of her highfalutin women’s novels when she saw the orange and white blur that was Boomer run by. Remembering Miss Brenda and his Thanksgiving feast, Boomer lowered his flaps and turned around just as Miss Brenda opened her backdoor to invite him in until we could get over and get him. It is only about 15 feet between our houses, and we were hot on his little bobbed tail, but the time it took us to walk over (no running at my age), Boomer had already hightailed it to Augie’s food and treats, surfed, surveilled, and cleaned off every counter in Miss Brenda’s kitchen.

We thanked Miss Brenda and apologized as we scooped up Boomer as he was licking his chops for more, and I swear he had a grin on his doggy face. 


But this is not yet the high point of the Boomer and Brenda Chronicles.

Scan forward another couple of months, and this time I was the one who was not paying attention to the back gate when Boomer made yet another getaway. 

This time, he didn’t run by Miss Brenda’s house, he beelined it to Miss Brenda’s backdoor, stood on his back legs, opened the door and one more time headed straight for Augie’s food dish.  According to Miss Brenda and her husband, Mr. Ray, by the time we got there, he had ping-ponged off the coffee table and sofa in the sunroom and repeated his act in the living room. Yep, Boomer opens doors.


Just this week, I was talking to Mr. Ray, Miss Brenda’s Republican husband, and he told me that these days, that anytime he or Miss Brenda happen to leave a door open anywhere in the house, they just tell each other, “Yep, Boomer’s been visiting again!”


  1. I love Boomer. I have a Jack Russell female, Sadie, who is an escape artist like Boomer. She’s helped by her big brother, Brody, who is a giant Doberman Pincher. She’s fast and he is huge. Most of our neighbors help round them when they escape.


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