Do you know what a bandicoot is? The name literally means “pig rat” where these marsupials live in India and Sri Lanka. There’s a similar ratlike species in Australia and nearby islands.

The Bandicoot I know is a black dog – a Corgi mix – so named by my jocular son who rescued him. Bandi thinks he’s a human, especially when mealtime rolls around. His love of table scraps has caused the veterinarian to strongly suggest he lose 20 pounds. He closely resembles a hippopotamus, including the perky ears.

He is a happy dog but will argue loudly if he’s not getting what he wants. He’s exceptionally smart, understanding many words and phrases. His favorite is “Wanna go outside?” He answers with one ear-splitting yip, as if saying, “You’re a genius!” These protracted walks include his sniffing at every bush that may have been visited by any other creature since the last time he checked, and smelling every odor left on the breeze by all wildlife and the neighbors’ dogs and cats. He also searches out favorite clumps of grass to nibble on.

He knows when it’s time for a snack. He stares into my eyes until I’m paying attention, then turns his head, his eyes and snout pointing toward the place where he knows the doggy treats are kept.

Bandicoot is a great watchdog and knows the particular sound of each of our vehicles. If any other car or truck enters our driveway his booming voice alerts us at once. But he takes this job a little too seriously every time our neighbor across the road walks her miniature dog in her front yard, and every time he spies a person walking by on the road. And oh yes, what a rumpus he creates when a neighbor comes along in a wagon pulled by a team of horses or mules! But he has finally given up barking at the trash truck every Friday.

He is a licensed service dog. More than once we’ve encountered his sense of a medical emergency. He immediately reacts to help or comfort that person.

Bandicoot hadn’t been around cats until he met mine. The outdoor cat tries to get playful with him, but he usually ignores her. She hides in the bushes and jumps out at him. Once, however, they were seen exchanging a quick kiss. My indoor cat is a very aloof black Siamese mix who adores me but tolerates few other people. If Bandicoot gets within two feet of her, she stalks off as if quoting my Kansas born and bred grandmother, who used to say, “The very nerve!”

To which Bandicoot takes no offense whatsoever.