Chapter 16

   Thelma got ice cream for her dogs all the time.

   It started years ago when she used to go to her sister Patty’s house in West Park with their family’s Rottweiler, whose name was Chavez. She took Patty’s Rottie, whose name was Wellington, and Chavez for a walk.

   She and the dogs walked to the Dairy Queen on Riverside Drive. It’s a Cone Zone now, but back then it was a DQ. She did that every weekend without fail. One Saturday, as they were strolling past the Shell gas station on their way to the DQ, she spotted a pack of guys walking towards them. There were a gaggle of them, seven black guys, coming her way. She began to get a little nervous.

   “Shit,” Telly muttered to herself.

   As they got closer to her, they started being obnoxious and making cat calls.SheI had two thoughts going. One was that she shouldn’t make eye contact with them, and the other was, at least I have my dogs with me. But, when she looked the posse over sideways glancing, it didn’t seem like the guys had even noticed the dogs.

   Finally, when they got closer, they focused on the Rottweilers and the Rottweilers focused on them. They stopped and Telly stopped, and the dogs stopped and started to bristle. Then, just like that, they all split.

   “Thank God,” she thought. 

   One of them yelled back over his shoulder, “That’s some well-guarded pussy.”

   “You guys are getting extra ice cream,” she said to Chavez and Wellington. “You’re getting a sundae, in fact, one big one for each of you.”

   Dogs, they know, they know what’s up in the wild. They have a sixth sense. They don’t like anything that the other five senses don’t add up to. If you have something to worry about, then you have something to worry about. If you don’t, you’re fine. If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear from dogs.

   Steve and she had a Wolf Black Lab who was her life when there was still lots of life in him. He was the sweetest thing ever and she just loved that dog. His name was Blue. One night they ordered Chinese. The only time she ever saw Blue go after somebody was when the deliveryman came to their front door. The Wolf Black Lab chased him right back to his car. He barked at the car all the way down the street as it sped away.

   He never before or ever after did anything like that. The deliveryman obviously had bad intentions. If someone comes to the door and there’s ill will, or there are bad intentions, the hair on dog necks goes up and their blood starts to run hot.

   A woman’s intuition is strong, but a dog’s is even stronger. They know when the feeling is just not right. There have been a few times in Telly’s life when things have not been right. Every time she’s had a dog with her for protection.

   They usually have five or six dogs in the house, so a bad man would have to be out of his mind to try and come and rob their house. He would have to be absolutely nuts. Cats will offer you up as a sacrifice, but a dog, it’s all about save and protect.

   Steve found a Rottweiler who needed a new home. He was going to move it to one of his cousins. But he private messaged Telly, “My cousin’s not responsible.” After that she put the dog up on Facebook. She had a client at the hair salon who had been pestering her for a Rottweiler, so she tagged her, and she came back with, “When can I meet this dog?”

   “Let me find out what the scoop is,” Telly told her.

   Her client had just built a house in Olmsted Township. The dog was from Olmsted Falls, and he loved children and other dogs, so everything was all right there. Steve called Telly and said, “I think I’ve got someone else who wants that dog.”

   “Well, if the meet and greet doesn’t go well, you can have your shot, but remember she was first,” Telly said.

   In the end, my haircut client was wealthy, they had a good home, and they had put down their own Rottweiler a couple of months ago. They loved the new dog, the new dog loved them, and it all came together.

   Sometimes they take dogs in themselves, especially if they find them on the street. They found Gretel that way. Steve brought her in and when Telly saw her, she said, “That’s it, I love her, and she’s mine. She’s not going anywhere.” They kept Gretel, although more dogs can be a problem.

   One big problem at their house is dog hair, which is a problem because telly is a clean freak. Some dog lovers believe if you’re not covered in dog hair your life is empty, but she’s not one of them. In the years Steve and she have been married they have had six Dysons. The last one broke when she accidentally dropped it and watched it fall down the stairs, bouncing on the runner one step at a time on its way all the way down.

   “Fuck,” she thought, as it cracked and broke apart.

   Telly went on Facebook and asked, “I’m really tired of giving Dyson my money, what do you guys got?”

   In the meantime, they bought an Electrolux. That vacuum cleaner was the biggest joke. She hated that piece of shit. Even Steve hated it. He used it once and was cursing all day about it. Telly took it back to Best Buy and told them how much she hated it.

   They bought a Miele. Some people think not wanting to scare the dog is the perfect excuse for not vacuuming. Not Telly. She loves her Miele. It’s been a godsend, especially since she loves to vacuum.

   The other problem they have all the time is nose prints all over their glass surfaces, which is mostly the doors when they press their noses against them.

   Whenever she comes home from the grocery store, or the pet store, and is bringing in bags of food, they gang up on the glass. Sometimes she thinks they must think she is the greatest hunter in the world, judging by how much food she brings home. There are the two of them and usually five or six of the four-footers. That adds up to not only a whole lot of food, but a whole lot of Windex, too.

   “I wonder where their sixth sense tells them I’m getting all that food and ice cream from.”

   As long as the goods keep coming, the dogs don’t care and don’t waste their time devoting their sixth sense to it.

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