Joanna was six when she announced that she wanted a dog.

“That’s a great idea,” the parents said. “We’ll go to the Humane Society and pick one out.” The daughter, responding as if we had been speaking Urdu, continued with her announcement: “I want a white Scottish terrier, and I’m going to name her Rose.”

So let it be written; so let it be done.

Thus began our long life’s journey in the company of smart, independent dogs. The Scotty, you see, has many admirable qualities: They are loyal to their family, bark only when necessary (usually to warn of the invasion of a UPS courier), and do not shed. Their less than admirable qualities include an unwillingness to respond to requests like “Dammit, Rose, it’s raining. Come here!”

Hoover was added as companion for Rose. He was all Scotty but was from the not-quite-up-to-breed standards set by the AKC. Rose passed on to the eternal sofa by the fire where people wouldn’t give her ridiculous commands, and Molly came in from the sidelines as Scotty #3. When Hoover went on to join Rose so she could continue to dominate him, we planned to get another Scotty.

George portraitNot to be. We made the mistake of stopping by an adoption event sponsored by Atlanta Pet Rescue, and George marketed his way into the family. George is not a Scotty. He is … well … maybe … OK, OK, so his mother slept around. There is Briard there (the ears mainly), and Chow (tongue and tail), and maybe some other breed that sheds a lot. Unfortunately, when God said “brains” George thought She said “stains” and told Her he didn’t want any. George, to put it kindly, has the IQ of an asteroid.

He is loveable and loyal to a fault. He is an excellent watchdog, a good friend, fastidious in his personal habits, polite, and runs into doors. He doesn’t snore, and he chases the hose on the deck while behind the closed windows of the breakfast room. He doesn’t play catch because he is wary of the ball, and he abhors getting his feet wet. Molly, now a grumpy old woman, ignores him.

Molly worries; George takes it as it comes. He doesn’t listen to talk radio, read the newspaper, care who will be the next mayor, or discuss the health-care debate. He has never been to a public hearing or written his Congressman. He does not protest any causes, will not sign petitions, thinks good of everyone until proven wrong, and doesn’t own an iPhone.

George cares about the sunshine on the deck, the activities of the two Westies next door, and whether or not his bowl has food in it. He enjoys the occasional paper towel and has his favorite chair. A ride in the car is nice and being scratched under the chin is a treat. He appreciates the occasional piece of Swiss cheese and knows there will always be someplace to take a nap.

Maybe George came into my life to teach me about priorities. What if there was a “Take Your Master To Work Day?” I’d like to give his routine a shot, and I bet Hallmark would make a fortune.

Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson is a professional mentalist and mind reader who presents his unique and unforgettable program to conventions, college and universities, sales meetings, private parties, business and civic clubs and more. He has also appeared at the Punchline Comedy Club in Atlanta and produces, along with Jerry Farber and Joe M. Turner, Atlanta Magic Night at the Red Light Cafe in Midtown. He is a member of the Psychic Entertainers Association, the International Brotherhood of Magicians, the Georgia Magic Club,Buckhead Rotary Club and Friends of Jim The Wonder Dog. You can learn more at He is the author of three books: "Living The Dream," the story of the first ten years of FedEx; "Superman, Hairspray, and the Greatest Goat On Earth," a collection of mostly true stories;, and "Yes Ma'am, You're Right: The Essential Rules For Living With A Woman."  Mark's day job is as a freelance writer and communications and marketing consultant. Mark has traveled around the world twice but has never been to Burlington, Vermont. He does not eat beets or chicken livers, and he has never read "Gone With The Wind." He is the only person he knows who was once a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Ventriloquists. He is a fifth generation Atlantan,  the father of three, and the grandfather of five. All offspring are demonstrably perfect. He lives in Smyrna with his wife Rebecca (aka The Goddess) and two dogs: Ferguson, an arrogant Scottish terrier; and, Lola, a Siberian husky who is still trying to figure out what the hell she's doing in Cobb County.