Spot apparently had a rough life. When he found us last fall, he was skin and bones. The only things holding him together were ticks, cockle burrs, and tangled hair from his ongoing retaliation against all the flea bites. He hadn't been happy for a long, long time. We cleaned him up and put him on a diet of puppy chow to rebuild his spent body.
Then I started him on some lessons on learning how to be happy, how to play, and how to start smiling again.
I agree, his smile still needs a little work.
Turns out that he had a wonderful sense of humor, I mean, once he got over some of his pain and misery and hunger. I started him out slow and easy with a series of knock-knock jokes that I thought he picked up on with surprising speed. By the end of the first month, we'd moved up to chicken-crossing-the-road jokes. He even offered up one of his own, but I couldn't quite make it out. I played along anyway.
By Christmas he'd mastered the concept behind jokes based on the theme of how many people it takes to change a light bulb.
Here he is laughing his rear end off at my tale about the guy who goes into the bar with a frog on his head. And it's only March. What progress.
Shortly after Easter, I tried to introduce him to metaphor and a sampling of irony, but all I got in return were some blank stares.
What to do? We couldn't stop there. So I taught him to just play off the body language of the joke teller if he didn't get one of the more cerebral jokes, and that with his huge and beautiful brown eyes, he could get by with just a little wink and a nod. He mastered it in three tries. He's good.