Stella Staggers! – Chapter 3

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Chow Chow

I’m on a roll. Ever since my daughter brought a little Havanese into our home, it seems that I cannot go anywhere without encountering dogs – and primarily big dogs who sleep in cages that are bigger than those in the gorilla house at Brookfield Zoo.

Go to a friend’s house for dinner? Two guests bring a pair of fierce-looking Doberman Pinschers, who spent the night gnawing on the heel of my boot while I braced myself against the back of the chair, afraid to move as they vibrated with a steady growl under the table. “Oh, they’re just singing at you,” said the female owner. Yeah, right. My boot is just a warm-up for what they really want: my foot, for dinner.

Stop at a colleague’s business to drop off a flash drive? Two bulky German shepherds lulled me into thinking that they were well-behaved – until I got a whiff of tuna and saw them with their noses dug deep inside my book bag, devouring what was left of a half-eaten sandwich that I had wrapped in several layers of paper. “Oh, you shouldn’t leave food in your bag, no matter how well you wrap it,” my friend cautioned me. How reckless of me! I should always plan ahead for kamikaze attacks.

Even Christmas Eve dinner brought the unexpected delight of coming face to face with my cousin’s Chow Chow, a dog with a soggy tongue the length of a yardstick. I know, because (sorry, Aunt Tonie) I kept flapping at that tongue with a linen napkin to stop him from slobbering on my hand and wrist. “Oh, he’s just so happy not to spend the holiday alone,” my cousin said. Aww. Ain’t that sweet! Too bad I can’t use that napkin to wipe the tears from my sentimental eyes.

By this time, I was beginning to ferment some new thoughts about dogs and dog ownership: What is it about the owners of large, brawny dogs that seem to make the owners explain away the dogs’ behavior? I don’t see these owners reprimanding the dogs; in fact, they seem to be alternately defensive and charmed by the dogs’ rogue behavior.

Does the dogs’ girth grant them the gift of entitlement, sort of like those drivers of large SUVs, who seem to be telling the rest of us: “Look out there, sugar. I rule the road. You can toot your squeaky horn in protest, but I will merely laugh at you before slicing off your fender as I cut you off in traffic.”

I was still mulling these thoughts when my little Havanese – now affectionately known as “the pee machine,” “the pee-meister” and “Bud Light” — greeted me at the door, running so hard in my direction that he ran head-first into my ankle. Afraid that he had hurt his little mop head, I scooped him up and looked at him closely. What a cute little fuzzball. And how wonderful it is that he is so small.

Swept away by this revelation, I twirled him around. Eat your hearts out, gorilla owners everywhere!

Just then, Bud began to squirm, so I put him back on the floor. He paused and looked up at me – a rather guilty look that instantly broke the spell of our bonding moment. I know that squat!

Another benefit to his diminutive stature is that he can zip around the house like a rabbit on amphetamines. You can almost never catch him.

I wouldn’t have that problem with a big dog, now would I?

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