Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Southpaws' Tale/Tail

Anyone who knows me also knows I love dogs. I'm pretty biased, though, since even though I'm a canine connoisseur my bias leans toward any breed brachycephalic.

That came in handy about 4:30 or so this afternoon. Trekking my way over to a nearby fast food joint for a few hamburgers and some raisin oatmeal mccookies, I passed a veterinary clinic. What caught my eye was a brute of a fawn-coated Boxer.

Having had three of them in my life, I can tell you that you have to be quick on your feet if you want to stay ahead of unavoidable mayhem. That life lesson instilled in me a deep understanding of impulsiveness which has gotten me into more trouble than I can recall without benefit of a hypnotherapist. It was with the spirit of impulse that I diverted into the parking lot. I knew I'd regret missing an opportunity to meet a loving member of the underbite brigade. Pulling in behind a couple's SUV, I caught the dog before he could be herded into the back seat.

I'm glad I did, because in addition to getting to meet a fantastic dog, I also met a fantastic man and his wife who graciously took several minutes to let me pet Spencer. Now, before you suggest that I should have asked if Spencer was for hire (and thereby invoking a truly ugly pun), let me tell you that between the handshaking and pawshaking, that eighty-five pound candidate for the Pittsburgh Steelers had no apprehension of me as a stranger. None. That explains why he didn't hesitate to greet me in the Boxer tradition: hop up, drape your paws over the other person's shoulders, stare directly into his or her eyes, and commence with the licking. While you're at it, make sure that you shed as much on the other guy's clothing as you can, not that I mind one bit. In fact, it was like a homecoming to me since I haven't been blessed with an opportunity to have a Boxer in my life since the mid eighties.

Did I mention that I was licked by the magnificent brute? That doesn't adequately describe what happened. I petted Spencer behind his ears because dogs love that. In fact, Spencer loved it so much that he gave me dog kisses. That, too, is an understatement. The dog held nothing back, expressing Boxer dog love with a real slobber job. And I loved every microsecond of that antiseptic bath.

Of course, no Boxer encounter would be complete without at least a few jabs thrown in. Spencer certainly knows his ring geometry, sneaking in at least three jabs and what appeared to be an attempt at an uppercut at me while we were greeting each other. Hey, it's a Boxer thing. They bond by using combinations. I had forgotten how much those experiences can make one's day.

He looked the part of a tough guy, too. That five o'clock shadow of his lends to that. (Tangent: when I was fourteen, I once shaved my Boxer's chin with dad's Norelco. I'm not sure why.) With his eyebrows angled downward and his undershot jaw, all he needed was a drill instructor's hat. I'd gladly follow any orders he happened to bark out, including digging holes so he could bury his soup bones and sneaking a little hamburger into his supper dish from time to time.

There will come a time when I get another Boxer. I'm determined to get another within the next few years.

When I do, I'll take the time to let people meet him, just like the couple who let a total stranger meet theirs.

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