A state of sad confusion has settled on Norman the schnoodle this week. He was so excited about the Third Annual Doggie Hunt on Saturday, March 31, at Ridgeland Common (oakparkparks.com). But when he found out that the big dogs are going at 8:30 a.m., after the smaller dogs have their hunt at 8 a.m., we sensed a fragile situation. Although he weighs only 22 pounds, the Normster has always considered himself a dog of maximum stature. He has always carried himself as a large dog and, for better or worse, we have never seen fit to disabuse him of the notion. What harm could it do? As long as he’s on a leash, his fights have always remained hypothetical. Severe insults are invariably exchanged on both sides, ending with Norman’s dire warning of utter devastation should he ever encounter the offending dog sans leash. To date, Norman’s physical prowess has never been put to the test.

And now he’s being told that he must go the Doggie Hunt at 8 a.m. with the little dogs. He just can’t believe it. His world has turned upside down. Who can he trust anymore? We think he plans to spend the rest of the week on the couch, chin on paw, staring out the window and considering the perfidy of owners who allow pets to humiliate themselves repeatedly in front of their peers.

We feel terrible. Wherever we turn, we see Norman’s sad eyes, reflecting a doggie ego profoundly damaged. Perhaps we’ll go hear the Bucket Boys at River Forest Public Library on Friday, March 30, at 7 p.m. (366-5205). The BBs are a hip-hop duo that plays percussion on trash cans, and they’re supposed to be very loud. Perhaps external cacophony can drown out the internal din of our guilt.

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