Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pooka Punks Out

© 2009 Leighann Lord

Rolie, my 34-pound Cocker Spaniel, is the baddest dog on the block; at least he thinks he is. No one can set foot on the sidewalk outside our house without His Lordship sounding the alarm. Nature be damned, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him bark and defecate at the same time. I’m impressed. I don’t think I could manage the same feat without my pride getting in the way.

Rolie is equal opportunity. He barks at strangers, the neighbors, and all the delivery people. The Chinese food delivery guy calls him Bark-Bark. The UPS man calls him Killer. The lady who drives the sanitation truck calls him "Pooka." Apparently, she thinks Rolie is cute despite the mean front he puts up.

His Lordship doesn’t always bark. When a woman walks by, he slips into mack doggie mode. He keeps pace with her as she passes, soaking up all smiles and compliments she can dish out. I guess "Aww, what a cute little dog," never gets old. My Furry Flirt likes the ladies.

His Lordship doesn’t just bark down select human beings. He’s also got plenty of attitude for the local wild life. He’s got a running feud going with an uppity, trespassing squirrel. I know this sounds biased, and I don’t have any proof, but I’m pretty sure the squirrel started it.

The general focus of Rolie’s ire is Rocky, the Rottweiler who lives up the block. Out weighing Rolie by at least 70 pounds, Rocky is all muscle. He looks like he puts in five days a week at the gym. I’m not saying the dog’s on steroids, but he could have easily eaten the guy who sells them. To his credit, Rocky has never made any aggressive moves toward Rolie. He jogs calmly by with his owner, paying no mind to Rolie’s histrionics.

Rolie seems undaunted by the size disparity. He acts like he is Davey to Rocky’s Goliath. I, however, keep envisioning Apollo Creed. With every snap and snarl Rolie makes it clear that were it not for the fence in between them, he would do his best to get a piece of the Rock.

Well, Rolie finally got his wish. My Dad took him for a walk in the park, at the same time Rocky happened to be there with his owner. Being a young dog, with a lot of energy, Rocky’s owner likes to let him run; consequently, Rocky wasn’t on his leash. The scene was set for the urban edition of "When Animals Attack": Cocker Spaniel vs. Rottweiler, Appetizer vs. Carnivore. Minus a little butt sniffing, this wasn’t going to end well.

Luckily Rocky was too busy chasing the birds to notice our loud mouthed little friend. Rolie of course noticed him and tried to make himself invisible by hiding behind my Dad’s legs. The glaring lack of fence left His Lordship feel all too vulnerable.

"Dude? You wimped out?" I said to Rolie when my Dad told me what happened. His Lordship ignored me, choosing instead to settle into his bed and sleep off the ordeal. I shouldn’t be surprised. Cocker Spaniels aren’t bred to be vicious – vain, entitled and arrogant – but not vicious. Rolie’s best survival mechanism is being too cute to kill. I don’t have a guard dog as much as he has a guard human. I’m trying to get Rolie to tone down the fence rhetoric, especially now that I know it’s all just for show. If someday bark comes to bite, I’ll be the one protecting Pooka.

I take comfort in the fact that His Lordship is not a complete and total wuss. I have one of the few dogs in Christendom who is not afraid of the vacuum cleaner. Lucky me. But unless it evolves into the Terminator, I’ll take my chances with the Dust Buster over an irate Rotty.

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