Grasp dog firmly between your legs. Cradle its head on your elbow, just as if you were giving a baby a bottle. Coo confidently, "that's a nice doggy". Drop the pill in its mouth.
Retrieve dog from the dining table and pill from under the couch.
Follow the same procedure, but hold dog's front paws down with other elbow or your feet. Poke pill into its mouth with right forefinger.
Retrieve dog from under the bed. Get new pill from bottle (resist the impulse to get a new dog!).
Again using the same procedure, except when you have dog cradled in bottle feeding position. Sit on the edge of the chair, fold your torso over dog, bring your right hand over your left elbow, open dog's mouth by lifting the upper jaw and pop the pill in quickly! Since your head is down by your knees, you won't be able to see what you are doing. That's just as well.
Leave dog stuck in screen door. Leave pill in your hair.
If you're a woman, have a good cry. If you're a man, have a good cry, but close front door so passersby won't see.
Now pull yourself together. Who's the boss here anyway? Retrieve dog and pill. Assuming original position, say sternly, "Who's the boss here anyway? " Open dog's mouth, take pill and -- oops!
This isn't working, is it? Collapse and think. Aha! Those twenty legs are causing the chaos here, aren't they?
Crawl to the linen closet, licking your wounds. Bring back your biggest beach towel. Spread the towel on the floor.
Retrieve dog from kitchen counter and pill from potted plant.
Spread dog on towel near one end with its head over long edge.
Flatten dog's front and back legs over its stomach (resist impulse to flatten dog).
Roll dog in towel. Work very, very fast, time and doggies wait for no man - or woman!
Resume initial position. Rotate your left hand to dog's head. Press its mouth at the jaw hinge just like opening the petals of a snapdragon.
Drop pill into mouth and snap close. Wow! It's done!
Vacuum up the loose hairs (yours and the dog's) and wipe down slobber (yours and the dog's).
Have a stiff drink and maybe a nap!
(With apologies to the unknown author of "How to give your cat a pill")
Our dogs will love and admire the meanest of us, and feed our colossal vanity with their uncritical homage.
Paper and canvas prints of "Growing Up Chinese Shar-Pei" by Barbara Keith are available online.