Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dancer Dog

This installment should be subtitled "Suckered." I have just acquired a Pit Bull mix from my local shelter. She's sweet, she's gentle, she's...a con artist.

I had been so unsure of my intention to get a dog that I hadn’t taken a leash, and the little nylon loop they gave us at the shelter didn’t afford much control. Dancer gave me a whirlwind tour of the parking lot.
“For 29 pounds, she sure can pull,” I commented after just missing a close encounter of the worst kind with a telephone pole. “She peed three times. Let’s go.”
Sam slid into the passenger’s seat, snapped her fingers, and the dog launched herself up and into her lap.
“She can jump, too,” I observed.
There were no more calisthenics after that. The dog circled once and curled up in a neat little package in Sam’s lap, burying her nose in the crook of her arm. She didn’t move.
“She’s probably afraid we’re going to take her back,” I said.
Sam nodded. “Yeah, she can’t believe her luck.”
It certainly looked that way, because the dog didn’t budge during the entire ride home. I could hear her breathing gustily, with her nose squashed against Sam’s elbow, but there was no movement. She didn’t barf, either. Polly had always let fly any contents in her stomach before I reached the first cross-street, but this dog looked like a good traveler.
Dancer finally raised her head when she heard the crunch of gravel beneath my tires.
“We’re home,” I said in that tone you use when you give a dog the good news, and her soft ears pricked. She sat up, looking eagerly out the window. She hadn’t come to any palace, just a hundred-year-old Victorian cottage swamped with evergreens, bamboo and a lot of weeds I never got time to whack. But it boasted a fascinating yard I had already decided to have fenced in despite the cost. Sam and I walked the perimeter of the proposed yard so the dog could pee copiously once more, and then my friend (whose husband was waiting for her) had to take her leave of us. She had been walking Dancer and the dog seemed a trifle confused when I took the leash, as though she had considered Sam her new owner, but when I led her into a warm place that smelled like food, she went right in.
Kitty, accustomed to dogs, actually deigned to thump down from the rocking chair to greet us. The next thing I knew, I was flattened against the solid oak door as a rampaging whirlwind ripped out of my unprepared grasp. The cat had MOVED--God save the mark!—and Dancer responded instantly. Poor Kitty, who hadn’t run that fast since her youth, whipped up the slippery wooden steps. She was able to make good her getaway because Dancer had never before encountered steps. The dog thrashed at the bottom, lunging in impotent fury, unable to deduce how to get upstairs.
“No!” I admonished when I could catch my breath. “Bad dog! No chase!”
She looked at me as if I was crazy.
“Oh, come on,” I said, relenting. “Let’s eat.”
“I was just about to,” her expression said. “Where did that cat go, anyway?”
Kitty had gone to the attic. She stayed there for a long time and she must have had telepathy with Smudgie, the barn cat, because I didn’t see old Smudge for days.
Her food disappeared and so did she.
There followed a delightful afternoon and evening of snoozing on the couch with the dog tucked in the same position she had assumed with Sam, in this case flat on top of me with her nose between my neck and shoulder. As long as her eyes were hidden, that tuck seemed to say, she couldn’t spot anyone coming to take her away from heaven. A wave of protective warmth suffused my heart. This dog must have been through hell. Who knew what awful things had happened to her? Well, her troubles were over. I would see to that.


  1. Miriam, thanks for sharing this with us. You have to get this published. It warms the heart and soul. Poor Dancer dog.

  2. Thanks, Adele and Denisse. Well, it has been suggested that I try to have this published as humor. It does get really hilarious later on and you start to feel more sorry for me than the dog!

  3. Awwww...Makes me want to get another dog. Thank you so much for sharing. I love this series, as you well know. You softened my day, sweetie. M:)

  4. Keep reading, Minnette. You might change your mind about that!