April 8, 2001 Dear friends,

Nice thing at the dog beach this afternoon: Roland the HufflePuff Enforcer was looking like he might get into a fight with a couple of big-balled big males, and some sparring was already under way. Rusten and I were nearby, and I said firmly, "Leave It, Come, Sit!" Miracle of miracles, he left it, came, and sat. I was thanking my lucky stars, and remembering Pyr alpha bitch Catherine de la Cruz's and Linda Weisser's daunting stories of breaking up fights among large dogs, knowing I could not have measured up. Rusten looked grateful to some sort of deity too, even though he is braver than I am, or perhaps just more committed to not letting anyone in this world get hurt.

Then what to my wondering ears should I hear but the patter of my fellow dog beach humans, saying, "My, my, did you see that! That dog just walked out of a fight and came and sat! How do they get him to do that?" Good question. "Liver cookie" seems such a mundane answer. But then, I never did rise above the level of popular religion—at least not since I retired from wannabe Jesuit.

As the masthead on The Bark says, "Dog is my co-pilot."

Reverently grateful, Donna

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