It strikes me that domesticated cats vary mostly in coloring; while there’s a large variety of cat breeds, they are all more or less the same size. We’re not talking lions and cheetahs, mind you, but Siamese, Maine coons, Burmas, calicos, Manxes, etc. Dogs, on the other hand, you look at the immense variety of breeds and you say to yourself, “These can’t possibly all be the same species.” From St. Bernards to Pekinese, mastiffs to Chihuahuas, giant poodles to Scotties, Great Danes to Welsh Corgis, there’s as much variation in the morphology of dogs as there is in, say, the subclass of marsupials, which includes koalas, kangaroos, kangaroo rats, bandicoots, Tasmanian devils, and opossums. You look at a Pekinese or a Chihuahua or a Dachshund or a Lhasa Apso and it’s difficult to imagine these bizarre little creatures are direct descendants of the Great Grey Wolf.
I had a comical adventure with one of those bizarre little creatures last weekend. He was a tiny auburn-and-white curly-tailed Chihuahua named…Snoopy. Not Ren, not Speedy Gonzales…Snoopy. I was coming down the stairs from my mom’s apartment at The Bedford retirement community and I encountered in the main hallway an obese woman in a Rascal scooter, a gentleman in his sixties who was hobbled by something—lung disease, arthritis, who knows, at any rate, while he didn’t use a cane, moving quickly was out of the question—and a very restless Snoopy running back and forth up and down the stairs and down and up the hallway. I think the couple was trying to grab Snoopy to take him for a walk.
The exit doors consist of large inner and outer door, both power assisted. As I went out, the inner door swung wide, then the outer door swung wide, and I heard the woman say, “Don’t let him out!” I tried to grab the outer door and shut it, but Snoopy was through my legs and outside in a flash. Ohhh……..noooo………
Feeling guilty and sorry for the hapless couple, and having had some experience herding cats (shooing Carol’s and my indoor cats back into the house), I immediately set about trying to shoo Snoopy back inside. Snoopy, meanwhilst, was determined to lift his stubby little hind leg against every single flowerbush decorating the grand front façade of the sprawling apartment complex. Not peeing, mind you, just practicing his form, I guess. Despite my game efforts to outflank him, Snoopy then decided to scoot out towards the street.
I was going it alone; Snoopy’s master and mistress were back in front of the building, and I was trying frantically to stay between Snoopy and the busy thoroughfare. I almost grabbed him when he decided to, um, squat, but he wriggled out of my grasp. Then he scooted down the sidewalk the other direction, and to my horror, I realized that what had attracted his attention was a young couple strolling up the street with a huge mastiff. I watched incredulously as Snoopy scampered right up to the mastiff and eagerly sniffed its butt. By the grace of God the mastiff was on a leash, muzzled, and apparently pretty well trained.
The mastiff’s owners managed to control their dog, and I managed to herd Snoopy back through the front gate. Then Snoopy got past me again and raced back to the mastiff. As quickly as he did, though, evidently realizing they had no future together, Snoopy abandoned his romantic inklings and raced back towards the building yet again. The slow-moving gentleman was trying to help me outflank Snoopy as the scamp instinctively and effectively eluded us by skittering in and out of the bushes. (I recently saw onNature a herd of elk shake off a pack of wolves in much the same way.)
Somebody said something about opening the door and I looked up to see my brother-in-law Tim (we were both there moving Mom to a smaller apartment) at the entrance door and yelled at him to please hold it open. Now our efforts were aimed at herding Snoopy back inside the building, but as it turned out, after another minute or two, Snoopy scooted back to Scooter-Woman and allowed her to scoop him into her lap.
What a relief not to be responsible for the light of Scooter-Woman’s life being squashed like a bug in the middle of McGillivray Boulevard! As I unlocked my bicycle, I heard the gentleman saying, “Bad dog! Bad Snoopy!” and the woman cooing, “Poor doggy was scared, all those people chasing him…” Well, that explained everything. The precious little rodent wasn’t trained worth a tinker’s damn.
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