BUDDY THE DOG and I went for our morning sniff last Friday.
I’d call it a walk, if that’s what he did most of the time.
As a relative of mine puts it, Buddy was checking his peemail.
I know it’s my fault for not making him walk more and sniff less. But doggone it, he has to do as I tell him all day long while I’m writing.
He deserves a little time to smell the roses. Or the imported scent on the ground below them.
We were making our final turn on the homestretch when one tiny dog came charging toward us, dragging his or her long leash behind him or her. No sooner was that dog swarming around us, Soprano barking and nipping, when it’s clone joined the attack, pulling his or her leash as well.
Together, they would have weighed about as much as Buddy’s butt and both hind legs. I could have drop-kicked them into the creek, if I had had both hands free. But I had nothing free.
With one hand I held Buddy’s leash.
With the other, I held a small plastic bag tied in a knot at the top. Inside was a sampling of Buddy’s DNA. About two handful’s worth.
I couldn’t have kicked the Sopranos even if I had wanted to—which I didn’t. They had already hog-tied me at the ankles with their long leashes.
Out came their master, an elderly, single lady in a nightgown and a robe.
Clearly, she had intended on standing at her back door and holding the leashes while her Sopranos searched their backyard for a high C or a low P.
But when the dogs saw Buddy, my friendly black lab, they saw red.
My wife and I adopted Buddy about two years ago, after my wife saw two cars hit him.
In all this time, I’ve never seen Buddy attack anything he didn’t expect to French kiss.
This was the exception.
He stood his ground, though I think we both would have backed off if we could have. I know that’s where I would have gone; stand your ground is stupid when God gave you two feet to run…four feet in Buddy’s case.
But we were roped together in a leash-tangled mess.
Buddy impressed me during the attack.
He’s got a bark that kicks a Soprano up an octave.
And he’s got a nip that would make you tuck.
I suspect that’s what the doggettes would have done had we not all been wound up together into something like a ball of noisy yarn.
The lady, frazzled as all get out, helped me out of that mess.
I heard her mumbling, “I’ll never do that again,” though I don’t know what she meant. Maybe she was talking about letting the dogs step outside while she held the leash inside, dressed for occasions best spent inside alone or with someone who doesn’t care what you look like in the morning.
I’ve spoken with the lady a few times when she was fully dressed.
Earlier in the week we were talking about mudjacking, and she recommended a company that uses foam instead.
Here’s the question.
What does a Christian do after something like this?
I got away as gracefully as I thought I could, given the circumstances:
- me holding a bag of DNA
- my dog counterattacking her Napoleon twins
I said nothing I regret.
A colloquial description of what I held in the bag did come to mind, though.
Here’s my plan. It’s based on this verse:
Don’t talk crap to people. Use sweet words that draw them to you, instead of stink bombs that run them off. Pick honest words that lift their spirits (Ephesians 4:29, Steve’s Bible Translation).*
I’ll keep dog-walking by the neighbor lady’s house until I see her fully clothed.
Here’s what I won’t do:
- I won’t miss that opportunity to speak to her.
- I won’t say, “Oh, I didn’t recognize you without your housecoat, slippers, and messed up hair.”
That would not be sweet.
Instead, I’ll say I’m sorry I got caught off guard. And that when I see other dogs, I quickly rein Buddy in on the leash and give the other dogs elbow room, as though dogs have elbows.
And I should probably ask if her dogs were okay after coming within a few snaps of their meeting their Waterloo—though I probably shouldn’t mention Waterloo, Napoleon, or the Sopranos.
I probably won’t invite her to church.
Maybe after a follow up chat.
Beyond that plan, I’m open to helpful suggestions or polite humor.
*If The Message can paraphrase like nobody’s business, so can I)