Sunday, January 17, 2010

It doesn't bite (unless you're a chicken liver)

After what seemed like weeks of walking in below freezing temperatures, Stella got to go to the dog park on Friday. We're really not supposed to be there since "pit bull—type" dogs aren't permitted but occasionally if it isn't crowded, we go anyway. There were only a couple of dogs there but she played for a while with a beautiful Great Dane puppy named Clementine.

After that we went to pick up our friend Walter and I dropped her off at Barney's house while Walter and I had lunch at the diner next door. When I got back to Barney's his caseworker was standing outside the door peering through the glass and asking: "Does it bite?" I had to laugh. I think he met Stella once before but had forgotten and since I wasn't around, he didn't make the connection.

Barney's case worker wasn't really afraid, he was just being cautious but it reminded me of the people I've met who automatically assume that all pit bulls bite. The media (of which I am a card-carrying member) has seen to it that there's an unlimited supply of those people and while I might've fallen into that category myself in an earlier incarnation, I realize now how ridiculous it is.

Not so long ago, Stella and I were asked—no actually we were told in no uncertain terms—not to come back into the post office together. We'd gone in there six or eight times already but on this particular day, after three people had already petted her and she was lying at my feet (smiling at everybody), a woman came in the door and had what we here in the south call a hissy-fit. Her and a woman behind the counter made a big scene and Stella was the one who got thrown out. I had to smile and be polite because I knew that whatever I said would automatically transfer to Stella and pit bull owners and pit bulls in general. I don't mind telling you, it was a difficult moment. When you're unable to speak..that's typically when the most fascinating things come to mind. Now we just do our business in the lobby where that woman can't see us and I try to resist the urge to make Stella speak on our way out the door.

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