I think little dogs intimidate me. Christmas Day I was delivering a final gift and when I knocked on the door, an explosion of barking burst out from somewhere deep inside the house. Through the window and down the hall I could see the glow of coloured lights from some hidden Christmas tree casting on the wall the shadow of a huge growling creature. I was glad to have the closed door between me and the loud and fearsome shadow, especially as the growling drew nearer. As nearer it came I noticed the menacing giant of a shadow began to shrink smaller and smaller until what rounded the corner was not some gigantic mutant canine slobbering streams of drool from frothing gums with a desire for human flesh; mine in particular, but rather, a small curly white-furred dog no bigger then a loaf a bread with an albino afro. “Don’t mind Boomer,” the dog’s owner said as she open the protective door and invited me in. “He doesn’t like men.” I nodded, understanding. I know people who feel the same way. The animal continued to bark as I tried to make myself very small and keep the woman between me and the raging beast. It may not like men, well, I don’t like small dogs, we are even. I just don’t growl and snarl and bark when I see one. At least, not anymore.
Medium-sized and large dogs get along fine with me without trouble. We have no problem at all sharing the same planet in close proximity. Little dogs simply hate me and nothing I can do will change there minds or convince them otherwise.
In years long passed a friend of mine owned a Chihuahua. When he picked it up and playfully convinced it too bare its teeth, the small Mexican dog transformed from a member of the canine family into one of the terrifying creatures in the movie ‘Gremlins’. One evening when visiting that friend, I came through the front door and stood on the bottom landing looking eye to eye with this miniscule creation. It stood on stickly little legs glaring back at me from the top step. It was yapping and snarling, baring its teeth at me as we stared face to face. Someone beside me laughed, ” That dog doesn’t like you Brad.”
Not pleased with being rejected and not willing to back down, I laughed off the comment. “That thing is all bark and no bite! Watch this, I’ll make him run.” Without delay I launched myself up the stairs, hooting and hollering and clapping my hands fully expecting that horrid little torment to turn tail and run for cover, to whimper under some darken sofa or flee to the safety of some open closet. I was halfway up the stairs when the horrifying truth became real to me. The tiny dog had not fled but instead had now come halfway down steps to meet me midway. Its bulging bug eyes were focused on my throat as the muscles under its pale short fur knotted in preparation to launch its tiny body at my chest.
I had no time to think. The survival mechanism of flight kicked in and I was back down the step, out through the front door and nearing the end of the driveway before I could form thoughts of my own once more. The tiny beast stood in the doorway yapping in domination, then turned around to reclaim its territory inside the house. I stood there gulping huge lungfuls of sweet air, thankful that God created me with legs longer then a chihuahua’s. I shook my fist at the door shouting to nobody in particular, because I was all alone at the side of the road, “This is not the end!”
Then, I went home.
Yes, I had fled that day and had to live with the shame of running for months to come. I wanted revenge. I wanted to show little dogs everywhere that I may have fled once, but never again. I didn’t really care what little dog I proved it to, it didn’t have to be that same chihuahua, any little dog would suffice.
Later that year, walking alone on a dark sidewalk in Peterbourgh, Ontario, the chance for revenge occurred when the target of my retribution was spotted. There ahead of me on the sidewalk, trotting along completely unaware of my existence, was a tiny black dog. “Watch this, I’ll make him run.” I said to nobody in particular, because I was all alone. Pride had driven me. Seeking to prove to myself that I was more powerful then any miniature canine, I am ashamed to say, the following actions then took place.
Without delay I launched myself down the sidewalk, hooting and hollering and clapping my hands fully expecting my unsuspecting little victim to dart for cover behind some nearby fence or flee to the safety under some parked car such as cats are known to do. I had halfway covered the distance that separated us both when I was puzzled to observe the small animal had chosen not to flee but instead, slowly, with a deliberate calmness, stopped. It seemed to glance back at me and then simply began to shuffle in place as if doing some type of animal square dance.
All I desired was to see the little dog run away. That was all my vengeance required, one little dog, running away. My wounded ego would be slated. My shame would be erased. But that stupid, stupid dog just stood there as I stormed closer. Then that stupid, stupid dog did the last thing I would have ever expected it to do. It simply stood in place and raised its big thick bushy tail. The big thick bushy tail with the bright white stripe down its back. Stupid, stupid me! Again, the flight mechanism for self preservation kicked in and again I turned and fled running down the sidewalk screaming, to nobody in particular because I was all alone, “Skunk!”
Then I went home.
The long way.
In the years since nearly getting sprayed, the need for dominance over these very loud, annoying but diminutive creatures has long since vanished. I realized Christmas day, when once again I faced a tiny yapping white puffball, that the thought of exerting my dominance over such a small noisemaker of a creature had not even entered my mind. I simply raise both my hand, palms out in a gesture of surrender and in I my best calming voice said, “Ok, ok. your right.” I slowly backed my way to the door and feeling behind me with one hand found the doorknob and let myself out. Trying to claim whatever shred of dignity I had left I kept telling myself over and over not to turn tail and run. After all, my legs are still longer then those of little canines’, but, with the way the weather some days effect my knees, the fuzzy growling bundle of teeth and fur could have easily pounced on me long before I reach the end of the driveway. What my fate would be in that case is not one I wish to ponder long.