Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Snippets of a Pit Bull's Life

Mina Best Dog EverStories of Mina would fill pages upon pages. Here are but a few.
Her first day. She has no name yet. Small and thin, unsure of the world, she gawks and gazes wide-eyed at the interior of the home. The human pats the bed with her hand. What does this mean? She has never seen or been on a bed before.

She jumps, leaps up, landing square in the middle. Twirling, she faces the human.

She playbows.

The human is hers.
Standing outside the coffee shop, waiting for a friend to bring back luscious iced beverages. A woman and her child approach as I coo over Mina, calling her silly names. My favorite is My Little Pea-Bow. It used to be Pibble, but everyone uses that now and Mina is a trend-setter. Pea bow.

"What kind of dog is that?", I hear a voice ask, from somewhere to my left.

"A Pea-Bow!", I proudly proclaim, internally grimacing at my verbal slip-up.

"Neat, never heard of them," the woman responds back. The little girl asks to pet the Pea-Bow and Mina obliges.

Wandering the "pet" section of the local ACE Hardware, trying self-control by not "saving" all the feeder mice and rats and bunnies and becoming a lagamorph rodent hoarder. Mina sits sadly by my feet, wondering why on earth I have taken her to a place full of so much useless stuff, including the rabbits she says.

I make gentle sounds to the rabbits, smiling softly as one nuzzles my hand.

"She should not be in here," an angry woman announces.

I feel the same way. Rabbits should not be sold but should be adopted and loved in a home. I am about to nod wisely and agree with this woman when I notice she's staring at Mina.

A little part of my heart cracks.

Mina wags her tail at the woman.
Sitting in my truck, Mina panting happily in the passenger seat. Pulling to the exit of the storage facility, an elderly woman appears in my side mirror, waving wildly.

I stop. She approaches.

"Is that a Pit Bull?", she asks, her voice a gravelly whisper.

"Sure is," I respond.

"She looks just like the dog I had as a kid." I smile. She tells me she is 85 years old. Her dog had a red-nose too. She was a farm dog and kept her company when she played in the reedy grass, traipsed through woods.
Pit Bull Falling Asleep Curled up on the sofa, nestled atop a hard book, snoring contentedly.

A tail wags.

And then she farts.
It's the fifteenth call. I take a deep breath, steel myself against what I might hear on the other end.

"I'm interested in the apartment for rent. It's dog friendly, right?"

"Yes, what kind of dog do you have?"

A heavy pause. A moment to consider a lie, anything to stop what I know is coming.

"She's a pound pup, 38-lbs. She has letters of reference from her dog trainers and I have a reference letter from both my vet and employer."

"That's fine, what kind of dog is it?"

"A Pit Bull."

I know it's coming. I'm tempted to hang up, before those painful words are spoken.

"Sorry, we don't accept those kind of dogs."

It's better than the one who says I should just kill Mina, and the one who just hangs up on me the moment Pit and Bull come from my mouth.

But still, I don't know what those kinds of dogs are. All I have is a dog kicking in her sleep, eyes twitching, tail thwacking in her happy slumber.

It hurts.

Mina is in awe of the land before her. There are acres and there are other dogs and she gets to run around freely, wildly.

She chases the other dogs, lets them chase her back.

A Border Collie approaches, slinking, low to the ground, then charges. Mina has never seen this before, this strange stalking behavior. She is impressed.

The next day: Mina has transformed from rambunctious invader of dog packs to a stalking lioness of the savannah. No one really appreciates this. Mina does not understand why none of the other dogs want to play with her when she rushes from the brown grass, pounces on unsuspecting canines.

The other dogs tell her not to return.
The squirrel chatters from his vantage on the top of the fence. He thumps his foot at the angry dog below. Up on his pedestal, he believes himself above the riff-raff below.

And then she leaps.

Glinting teeth snap inches from his tail.

Surprised. Astonished. Uh-oh, fear! He scampers across the fence, leaps into the pine tree.

From now on, when he sees her, he goes a few feet higher and chatters from a safe distance.

She keeps an eye on him. Waiting. Just waiting.
The horse eyes the petite brown and white dog suspiciously. Friend or foe?

"Is your horse comfortable around dogs,"I ask.

"Oh yeah, she loves them."

I am not so sure.

Mina is, though. Trotting behind the horse, she strains, struggles, and finally, paws on equine legs, she reaches up and sniffs.

The horse returns the favor, reaching low, head the size of Mina's body, and noses her in the butt.

A play-bow is returned, a pink nose bops the velvet fuzz on the horse's.

Game on.

The small puppy directs her razor sharp teeth towards the larger dog's face. Teeth meets skin, tugs, skin stretches taut.

Mina tears away, the puppy whines in annoyance.

I toss a toy out. The puppy latches on, fierce and determined. Mina grabs the other end and pulls.

Dragged across grass, across time.

The puppy grows up, becomes Celeste, and loves only one other dog deeply in this world. She grows larger than Mina, stronger, though it might not be obvious upon first sight. But Mina is more fragile now, legs are failing her on tight corners, an accidental body slam sends her tumbling.

Celeste lets her win, always. Let's Mina drag her across the grass. Because that is how it should be, it is the way of the world, just and right.

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