“Aussie, how wonderful. Harry ran after a chipmunk, and instead of running off with him I called you and you came right back!”

“Which means I get Fine Dining instead of a dog treat. So what do we have for Fine Dining, Boss?”

“Pieces of chicken.”

“White or dark meat?”

“Aussie, you’re getting much too spoiled—and fat because of all the different treats you get during this training.”

“Rules are rules, Boss.”

“What rules, Aussie?”

“Whenever Harry goes off somewhere and I come back to you instead of joining him, I get Fine Dining. The bigger the temptation, the greater the reward.”

“What do you mean, Auss?”

“When you say ‘Far enough, Aussie!’” and I come back, I get a regular dog treat.”


“When Harry chases a squirrel and I come back to you instead of joining him, I get Fine Dining, which is chicken.”


“If Harry chases a deer and I come back to you, I get Super Fine Dining, which is pieces of roast beef.”


“And if Harry splashes after ducks in the water and has all that fun, and I don’t, I get the Supreme Meal.”

“What’s that, Aussie?”

“Italian salami.”

“I don’t have Italian salami.”

“It’s either that or the ducks, Boss.”

“You know, Aussie, we sometimes refer to our life as the Supreme Meal.”

“You mean, if I don’t chase the ducks I get to eat you?”

“No, Auss, I mean that our life can be a meal that serves many, many beings. Everything we do in service of others and ourselves is another course of that meal, another dish to savor. In that way our entire life can be the Supreme Meal.”

“I don’t think your life qualifies as a Supreme Meal, Boss. I’m  not even sure it qualifies as a dog treat.”

“We do our best, Aussie. Everyone serves their own Supreme Meal.”

“But some lives are Super Fine Dining, some are Fine Dining, and some, like yours, aren’t even—”

“Aussie, why do you have to be such a hard-ass?”

“Rules are rules, Boss.”

“You know, Aussie, Bernie used to say that there is no rule without exceptions. He’d make up a rule, and then would make an exception of the next person who told him why she couldn’t follow the rule.”

“So that became a new rule, see? Rules are rules, and there are always exceptions. That’s the new rule.”

“Aussie, do you notice your energy?”

“Should I? Is it Fine Dining?”

“Your energy, Aussie, is almost always closing things up instead of opening up to new possibilities.”

“Not so, Boss. Did you notice me swimming? Unlike wimpy tail Harry, who won’t go into water deeper than his knees, yuck yuck!”

“Look at what you’re doing, Aussie. You put me down, you put Harry down, you’re constantly elevating yourself and belittling others. You’re not serving, Aussie. What kind of Supreme Meal is your life?”

“I want to eat the  Supreme Meal, not serve it.”

“Try opening up to new things, Aussie. New ideas, new practices, new foods.”

“Like duck a l’orange? What do I have to do to get duck a l’orange?”

“The closest you’re going to get to duck a l’orange, Auss, is catching one of the ducks in the pond and adding an orange.”