This may come as a revelation, but there are people out there who do not like dogs. Especially gray ones like mine.
And I've met more than my share while walking Ben this week. We won't be getting together soon, I'm think.
To be fair, Ben is a blue merle sheepdog whose thick, luxurious coat is dappled in white, black, tan with hints of red.
He also has a small patch of blue pigment in his left eye, which I admit, gives him a little wild-eyed look given the right angle. And, in celebration of scoff-laws everywhere, we generally go leash-free. . . largely because Ben is an old soul who sticks close and listens carefully because he knows it's his Sworn Herding Dog Duty to keep track of me on our walks.
I don't wander. Much.
So, yes, he is a little unusual in the appearance department. And so, with that in mind, I totally do understand why we sometimes enjoy this classic encounter:
Passer-by (with or without dog), rapidly back-pedaling (eyes bugging out if we're lucky) and hyperventilating, asks in an increasingly high-pitched voice:
"Is that dog part WOLF?"
Turns out I am talking to air.
So be advised: If you have a gray dog, you are going to have moments of Canine Fear and Loathing. Like this week.
The little old lady moment
Ben loves, loves, LOVES little old ladies. And I think the many quality hours spent with The Mom Unit (my mom) and Young Bob Flynn (the Wonderfully Patient Spouse's) have led Ben to believe all LilOLas universally and unconditionally love him right back.
Not always the case as we discovered a couple of days ago:
LilOLa was out on her patio watering plants. Ben perked up immediately, wagged his tail and sauntered over for a "Howdy do." LilOLa's eyes got real big and she started to skitter around the patio.
Me: "He's very friendly."
Me (reaching down to find Ben's collar): "Oh, then we better go. Ben's afraid of cats."
Me (voice trailing off as I try to corral Ben who is still putting out his best effort to greet LilOLa): "Just. wanted. to. say. hello00000. . . ."
And I never did see her damn cat.
The many little dogs and many leashes moment
(With apologies in advance to people who own little dogs. Yes, they are adorable. And I enjoy them very much. But, sometimes, just sometimes, well, they're so little.)
First an observation: Many people who own little dogs seem to own a lot of them. All at once.
Recently, we approached one such owner walking his fleet of little dogs. It was honestly like walking toward the eye of a churning, furry hurricane. Dogs milling, leashes flapping, owner flailing. Little dogs are just so busy.
I'm exhausted just thinking about them.
As soon as the little dogs spotted Ben, they went postal, egging each other on in a mounting fit of noisy ferociousness.
This was a little too much canine chaos for Ben. (He is, after all, a sheepdog and prefers a Very Orderly World.) He looked up at me, blinked once and then sat, watching the little-dog conflagration in front of us with resignation.
Now hopelessly entangled in a whirling frenzy of leashes and little dogs, said owner gave Ben the classic "Is HE part wolf?" look and sent me a Big Ole Bad-ass Stink Eye for allowing this feared predator to walk the streets. Unleashed no less.
Whaa-aaa-tt? Last time I checked, it was your pack of hounds raising holy hell.
And so we moved on, leaving little-dog owner in the dust, simultaneously trying to calm his hysterical pups and undo a canine-induced version of the Gordion Knot. Good luck with that.
I am happy to report that, for the most part, most people we meet are charmed by Ben, his good looks and even better table manners. The folks who cry "Wolf," so to speak, are few and far between.
There's a moral here, isn't there? And it is. . . .
Always trust wolves in sheep(dog's) clothing.
I thought you'd like it.