Huck had a tough Fourth of July. He ran head-on into a world of mixed messages and shifting expectations. If you haven’t met Huck before, he’s my 70lb Greater Pike Hound. He looks like a cross between a white German Shepherd and Mrs. Doubtfire.
Here’s what went down from my perspective:
It’s 4pm. Raining like a cow peeing on a flat rock. I’m working on some baked beans on the kitchen counter. I hear a car pull up, a door slam then a loud knock on the kitchen door. I look over my shoulder to see Ed, my friend Jill’s husband, and I smile. He throws the door open and comes busting through, dripping water and shouting a hello.
Here’s how Huck interpreted the same scene:
Loud noise. Man at door. Man opens door and comes towards my Mama. He’s yelling.
Huckleberry-1, Ed-0uch. Before I could tell Huck that it was OK, he came roaring out of the den, straight at Ed. Backed him out the door and bit him on the hip. DAMN! What a way to kick off a pool party.
I smacked Huck twice on the nose and reaffirmed my role as pack master. He cowered and skulked over to his crate. Poor thing was really confused. Ed was OK and cool with it. Hey, that’s the dog’s job. A little Neosporin and a cigarette and it was all jake.
Huck spent the rest of the afternoon apologizing to Ed with snuzzles and a lot of puppy dog eyes. To his credit, he had only met Ed one time before, over a year ago. Huck didn’t know that I had given a nonverbal cue that it was OK for Ed to come in.
This is the same dog I got after Richard died because I wanted to feel safe. I wanted to be able to go for a walk by myself and not worry that someone was going to bother me. I wanted a loud bark so that if anyone tried to sneak up on this house, I would know. Guns give some people the same sense of security, but they don’t snuggle up to you when it thunders.
When we brought Vivi home from the hospital, Huck sniffed her foot and decided that she was HIS baby. He sat by her swing in the den and whined at us if she fussed for too long. When Carlos was about three weeks old, a drug dealer trying to outrun the cops crashed his car through our front yard and into the neighbor’s yard then fled on foot. I let Huck out in the back yard. He worked the perimeter before returning to me. I assured the cops that NOBODY was hiding inside our fence. (This makes our neighborhood sound so…exciting!) My brother once came over while I was out. Huck was penned up in the kitchen. Joe came in through the back gate, up the basement stairs and busted in on Huck. He about got his ass handed to him! Huck snapped and snarled as Joe yelled, “HUCK! It’s your Uncle Joe! It’s OK, Buddy! Your mom’s at Kroger! Huck! YOU KNOW ME!” Joe decided to wait outside until I got back.
At our house, you ring the doorbell, alright?
So in the final analysis of the situation, part of me was saying “BAD DOG!” for him biting Ed, but the other part of me knows he was a dog doing his job.
And not five minutes after Huck and Ed made up, my friend Jean came over with her dog, Scout…who played nice for a while but then Huck got too close to HER mama…He got his ass handed to him. By a GIRL. Who weighs 20lbs less than he does and had just had her coat shaved.
He retired to his crate with a “I am DONE with this day. Peace out.”