Lost in Suburbia: Bark to the Future
Don’t get me wrong … I am an ardent dog lover. I cry at dog movies, volunteer at pet adoption days, and spend more money on specialty dog food for our pet than I spend on groceries for my family.
But I have a doggie dark side.
Embarrassed as I am to admit it, I have a grudge against some dogs from my past.
It started with a schnauzer next door named Lucky. I was pretty sure Lucky was a doggie mobster. He was sweet and obedient around his family, but if you weren’t family, he would get so mean you’d think he might take a hit out on you. Lucky clearly saw my 7-year old self as some kind of threat to the family next door because every time I would stop by to ask the kids to come out and play, Lucky would appear at the screen door, barking and growling in my face. It got to the point where I decided that there were plenty of fish in the sea and I didn’t need these kids as my friends if there was a chance that Lucky would give me a pair of cement shoes and turn me into fish bait.
Did I mention that Lucky was a Miniature Schnauzer?
Yeah, John Dillinger was short, too.
My next run in with a mean dog was Janie, my ex-boyfriend‘s dachshund. Janie was his first girlfriend and was really not happy to have a rival in the house. I soon discovered that Janie was two-faced. She was all nice to me in front of him, but the minute he left the room, she would jump up into his empty seat on the couch and start snarling and baring her teeth at me. As soon as he returned, she was my friend again. When I told my boyfriend, he said, “Sweet Janie? She would never do that!” But Janie and I knew better. She was a dachshund with a vendetta.
Eventually I had my own family and got my own dog, a Golden Retriever, who was the sweetest animal on the planet. Monty didn’t have a mean bone in his body and I never once heard him growl. The dog was a 90-pound pushover. He was the doggie version of Charlie Brown.
Monty did great in the ’burbs, but when we moved into the city, he suddenly had an apartment building full of Alpha dogs to contend with. Fortunately, nearly all the dogs that Monty encountered were also nice dogs.
It was a French bulldog named, appropriately, Biff. Biff would lunge at any other dog who was within spitting distance of him, straining at his leash, while his owner looked on and said nothing. Coincidentally, Biff always seemed to be in the lobby waiting for the elevator the same time that we were. Monty was terrified of the bully bulldog Biff, and it wasn’t long before Biff turned my dog into Monty McFly. When Monty would see Biff coming, he would run the other way.
Finally, one day, I had enough of Biff’s bullying ways. As we waited for the elevator, Biff appeared and lunged at Monty, yapping and baring his teeth. Monty cowered behind me, but instead of ignoring Biff, I lunged forward at him and growled back. Biff stopped yapping, tucked his tail between his legs, and ran back to his owner’s side.
Ultimately, like all bullies, Biff was all bark and no bite.
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