Area Couple Evidently Insecure In Dog’s Grasp Of Who Is A Good Boy
Culver City, CA (AP) – The frequency with which Natasha Morley and Bryce Holmes ask their three-year-old Labrador retriever, “Who’s a good boy?” has led neighbors to question their confidence in the dog’s ability to retain that information, local residents reported Tuesday.
The couple, who have lived on Babcock Avenue for two-and-a-half years, acquired Witherspoon as a puppy, purchasing him from a well-known Southern California breeder. According to several neighbors, one or both members of the couple can be seen late every afternoon on the front lawn of their three-bedroom split-level Colonial, tossing a ball or Frisbee for the dog to fetch, or generally horsing around. The “Who’s a good boy?” refrain is used more or less constantly, says Ann Rogers, who lives across the street.
“It’s something you expect to hear, I guess, but we had no idea we’d be hearing it basically all the time,” she recalls. “Dogs aren’t all that clever, but I think Witherspoon picked up pretty quickly on who’s a good boy.”
Her husband Edgar concurred. “It’s almost like a name, they say it so much,” he said. “When he fetches a stick. When he fetches the morning paper. When he sits and waits for them to scoop his poop. When he comes to the front door to greet one of them when they come home,” he continued, his voice getting louder and posture more aggressive. “I’ve just about had enough. We know who’s a good boy! So does the dog! So does the whole [expletive] neighborhood!”
Other acquaintances have also noticed what they call an overuse of the question by the couple. Mikhail Gangashvili encounters either Morley or Holmes every morning as he walks Sully, his eight-year-old St. Bernard, and again in the evening, when the venue of choice for both dogs’ owners is nearby Laurel Grove Park. “Is great place to let dog play. Labrador people,” he called them, not knowing their names, “come at more or less same time as us. Always asking who is good boy. Who is good boy? He is good dog, but owners not sure he knows it yet. Is two years they come here, and they still not know he knows who is good boy.”
Gangashvili raised several dogs in Tbilisi, Georgia, in the former Soviet Union, before moving to Los Angeles in 2000. “In Tbilisi, we had OK police force. Local captain like dogs. But he shoot people for asking who is good boy too many times,” he reminisced. “Is good to live in less violent place, but I still think of that sometimes.”
The neighbors interviewed for this article stressed that Witherspoon is a well-behaved animal, and that his owners seem to treat him well and clean up the messes he makes. “The dog has never even dug up my garden,” in contrast to the couple’s predecessors at number 6263, said next-door neighbor Tracy Giovanni. “They had two pugs, and the little beasts would dig up my bulbs all the time. Witherspoon’s a sweet pooch, alright, but these houses are pretty close together, and all I hear, all the time, is, ‘Who’s a good boy?’ Hey morons – he knows! He knows! Yeesh.”
For their part, Morley and Holmes seem oblivious to the doubts swirling around them. “We just love him. Isn’t he adorable? Who’s adorable? Who’s a good boy? Who’s a good boy? That’s right! Who’s a good boy?”