I’m not a cat person.
All the cats that I’ve allowed into my life were either by accident or through association with someone else.
I don’t hate cats. I’ve been around them ever since I was a kid. For the most part, we’ve tolerated each other. But I don’t feel the same sort of attachment that I do to a big affable dog like Huck.
That’s not to say I don’t get attached. I do. It’s just different.
Last week, I took Huck for his usual morning constitutional walk down the street from the apartment in Cary. We didn’t encounter any demon bunnehs or evil yip dogs. He did his business without much fanfare. Then I led him back toward the apartment.
My place is on the first floor, first door on the left. We’ve run this route for nearly nine months. It’s never been interesting when we reach the door to the apartment. Once there, it’s usually a simple matter of opening the door, removing Huck’s leash, and filling his food dish.
This particular morning proved different.
A woman who lives in the apartment diagonally across the breezeway from me was out, collecting cigarette butts from the ground where her husband had dumped them. Why he refused to use an ash tray, I do not know. Why he wasn’t cleaning up his own mess, I couldn’t say. She wasn’t alone. Her giant schnauzer, leashed, was near the staircase about five feet from my front door.
Huck followed the usual routine, walking toward the door. The schnauzer broke that routine, though. He started barking furiously and lunged at Huck. The schnauzer’s owner, who had a loose grip on the leash while she gathered dead soldiers from the concrete, noticed too late. The leash was out of her hand.
It was bitterly cold, so I was bundled in gloves, a thick jacket, and thermals under my pants. I tell myself that’s the only reason why I did what I did next, because what I did next was terribly stupid. Huck tried to flee from the schnauzer while still on his leash. The other dog pursued him in a circle, trying to bite at his legs, flanks, and back. Huck didn’t make any effort to retaliate. So I put myself behind Huck, shoving the schnauzer back, and then circled while the schnauzer nipped at my legs and hands. Between the animals, I made myself the target. It probably spared Huck and the schnauzer any injuries, but it was incredibly risky and dumb.
Finally, the screaming woman managed to grab the other dog’s leash and pulled him clear. She apologized. Her dog wasn’t vicious, she assured me. She thought that the schnauzer just wanted to play with Huck, but then got aggressive when she realized how big the Golden Pyrenees was. I checked Huck over, told her that I didn’t think Huck had been hurt, but she told me to let her know if I found injuries later – she insisted that she would pay any bills necessary. She really was mortified that her dog had attacked mine, and that she had lost control of the schnauzer.
Huck’s fine. He seemed to have forgotten the attack within hours. I expected that was the end of it.
Then, today, I was taking Huck out for another morning walk. Something new broke the routine: A glossy silver bag stuffed with green tissue, sitting on the welcome mat, with a card inside.
The card read:
Just a note to apologize again for the other day when my dog ran out into the breezeway. He truly isn’t aggressive, which is why I was so surprised! Anyway, hope your golden likes a Kong as much as my dog does. A special thank you for being so kind to me, as you surely didn’t have to be. Again, my apologies.
Inside the bag, a fresh blue rubber Kong for Huck to play with. Yes, he does love Kong.
I’m really impressed and touched by the gesture. Now I’ll have to be something less than a savage myself and get a thank you card for her in response.
Great way to start the new year!