Show and Tell
“There are times when even the best manager is like the little boy with the big dog, waiting to see where the dog wants to go so he can take him there.” Lee Iacocca
Baby is my gentlest sweetest horse of a dog. Everyone loves him. Everyone is always, holy shit! Can I touch it?
I love people’s reactions to Baby.
There’s a bar down in Tremont that let’s you bring dogs inside. It was a Monday night, I was bored, and so I called to double-check.
“Inside? Not just on the patio?”
“Inside,” she said.
When we walked in there was big table full of hipsters and plenty of people at the bar. Brian and I walked in with Baby and Veruka. It was like a record being scratched. Everyone turned and looked and before we knew it everyone was on top of the dogs. It was so cool. They were a big hit that night. Everybody loved them, as they should.
A sweet as Baby is, Veruka has a bitch attitude. Not so much in public, but private, yes. She’s had it ever since she was a baby. She’s a sweet girl, and she likes other dogs, but she’s a bitch. That’s how she got the name Veruka.
It’s Veruka Salt from Willy Wonka. “I want it and I want it now!” That’s Veruka, our other horse of a dog.
Jackie is our Pit Bull, who I love. Baby and Jack are always together. Veruka – not so much. Jackie’s got a friggin’ cute adorable face. He’s so kissable, which means I go up to him all the time and start smooching him.
I say, Jackie, let’s go kiss. He comes up on the couch and smooches mommy
Sometimes, though, he doesn’t want to. He’s, uh, what are doing, mom?
Underneath our living room couch seems to be his favorite place, the black abyss of lost toys for him. Even if there’s not a toy under there, he’ll stay in front of it all night long, believing and hoping there’s a toy underneath it.
He likes to eat the couch, too.
He loves the fireplace when it’s cold, wearing his pj’s. I took him over to my mom’s house in them. She laughed every time she looked at him. She thought his legs looked funny hanging out.
Sometimes Baby is too sweet for his own good. We had to separate him from our other dogs for a few weeks because they were beating him up so bad. He doesn’t fight back or stand up for himself. Hermie, who is a little stinker, will take food right out of Baby’s mouth while he is still chewing.
When we’re out in the backyard, and all the dogs are playing and wrestling out there, Baby will mind his own business. He lies down on the ground. What he doesn’t realize is that he’s giving little Hermie a fair shot at him.
Baby is twenty times bigger than Hermie when he’s on his own four feet.
“Watch out, here comes Hermie, take down!”
That’s what Hermie does all the time. Baby lies there and takes it. Sometimes when we come home we’ve got to run through the front door to save him. We can hear Baby screaming and crying in the backyard. All the other dogs are beating him up, even though he’s bigger than all of them by far, except Veruka.
They get so excited biting him.
“Ow, ow, ow,” Baby cries.
Even Pebbles, whose new name is Boulder, because she’s gotten so fat, messes with Baby.
We have to run from the front door to the back door asnd get baby inside so the other dogs stop beating him up. They call it Big Dog Little Dog Syndrome. There is really such a thing. Our vet says there isn’t much we can do.
I used to cut her hair when she was in high school.
“When I go to college I’m going to become a vet,” she said.” I’m going to be your vet.”
I was already rescuing dogs back then.
All right, I thought, but I’ll probably never see this kid again after she goes to college
After she graduated and became a vet she sought me out. She’s been getting her hair done with me ever since, and she’s been my vet ever since. We trade services.
We took Baby, Veruka, and Jack to the Brite Winter Festival, on the West bank of the Flats. There are bands on indoor and outdoor stages, fire and light dancing, ice carving, and plenty of food trucks. The festival was outside McCarthy’s and the Harbor Inn.
Everyone dresses warm because it’s February.
We were walking around the night we went when a guy came up to us wearing a crocheted Viking helmet and an attached Viking beard. The big dog was fascinated by the fake beard on the Viking’s face. Every time he moved, Baby’s head swiveled to follow the beard.
Finally, they got nose to nose.
We walked around and bought hot dogs for the dogs. We bring our own water for them. We couldn’t go seven steps before being stopped by a crowd of people. That’s why we bring the dogs out. We like to show them off. When people see them they just go in love with them.
Baby has his ways, though. If we are in one spot too long, he says ugh and starts to lie down,
“No, no, no, don’t lay down,” I say.
Once he lies down he’s a lost cause. I push him all the way over until he’s belly up, paws in the air, and rub his belly. Everybody else does the same. He gets lots of belly rubs.
He just lies there and takes it, all the belly rubs.
When he’s ready to go though, is when we’re all ready to go. He leads the way. He’s shy around people, except when he gets out in public. That’s when he turns into a people person and we follow behind.
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25% contributed to the Cleveland Animal Protective League. (Specify APL in notes.)
Click here to see more writing between fiction and non-fiction by Ed Staskus.