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Hot for the 'Mongrel Chiller' 

This week I have increased the size of my carbon footprint, an environmental term defined by leading scientists as the "print made by your foot when you step in carbon."

This jump in my energy consumption may not please avid environmentalists such as Al Gore and Prince Charles, but our two dogs are thrilled and have resumed licking each other.

(Footnote: That sentence was not structured well. I did not mean to imply Al Gore and Prince Charles lick each other. But I now have that image in my head and I've made myself sick.)

Moose (left) and Jack are obviously thrilled to have their - cool relief. - RICH TOSCHES
  • Rich Tosches
  • Moose (left) and Jack are obviously thrilled to have their cool relief.
The point is, while people seem concerned about the environment and energy consumption in our own ecology-minded village, for example, nearly 80 percent are doing their part to save trees by not getting the Gazette this is what I did Sunday morning:

I bought an air conditioner for our dogs.

And while I'm a pretty intelligent guy and am aware of such things as global warming, ozone depletion, renewable energy and environmental sustainability, I would, in my own defense, say this: "My dogs ... they was hot."

Temperatures, as you probably know, had soared into the 90s and stayed there for weeks. It's been so hot that District Attorney John Newsome has been demanding a frosted mug every day as he attempts to drink 24 bottles of beer or in strict legal terms, "tries a case." It was so hot during the U.S. Senior Open that a German woman took off all her clothes and ran across the golf course. (Initial reports had indicated it was a bear.)

And our dogs, oh how they suffered.

Jack is 13 years old, big and shaggy, a lovable black and white dog that barks like this: "Aarrgg-Aarrgg ... eeyooooo." Jack is listed as a "border collie mix" and has a huge snout. We do not know the other part of the "mix," but when he barks and stands in just the right light, you'd swear it was Barry Manilow wearing a full-length skunk coat.

And Jack is the normal one. Moose, well, he was originally my dog. (Jack was my wife's dog, part of a blended family including the dogs, two cats and somewhere between three and five children, I think. There's one kid living in our basement who comes up to empty the refrigerator every hour or so. We have no idea who the hell he is.) Moose is part Australian shepherd, which explains his herding instinct and his love of Mel Gibson movies. Moose knocked himself out once when he ran into a tree chasing a squirrel. I'm surprised the local Republicans haven't elected him to office.

Moose and Jack would chew through heavy chain-link fencing at the first hint of thunder, terrified beyond description. I'd try to calm them by saying it was just "God bowling," and that we were all going to die amid bone-charring bolts of lightning just like I told the kids.

To contain them during thunderstorms, I hired a welder who said he built enclosures at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. ("I beelt heavy fenz even lions are no getting aways," he told me. His name was Jimmy O'Shaughnessy, and I asked him why he was talking like that. "I don't know," he said. "I'll stop.")

So now the dogs have their own large enclosure inside our garage. A doggie door allows them unlimited, 24-hour access to the great outdoors, nearly a quarter-acre, fenced, with squirrels and about 35 trees they can run into head-first.

But the garage gets hotter than Ted Haggard at a massage convention. During this heat wave, the dogs were suffering. A fan did little to cool them.

So we went to buy a window air conditioner. We settled on the Zenith Model ZW6500R, the workhorse billed as the "Mongrel Chiller." It has a 9.7 energy-efficiency ratio, which means nothing to me or the nice folks in Thailand who built it and wrote the owner's manual, a 32-page document "that are having quite informationitive for install many purposefuls."

The air conditioner even has a remote control. Although, unless the dogs find a way to grow thumbs, I doubt they'll be using it.

rangerrich@csindy.com

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