Thursday, May 26, 2005

Babe, the Crocodile that Thinks He's a Dog

I know that I have mentioned somewhere,

to someone, that Babe attacks me every time I walk on the north side of the house, heading for the back yard. I don't know why. He was my dog for two years when we lived in the house on Cooper, and never attacked me on any side of the house there. But once we moved here, every time I came through the north-side gate, pow! a grinning, barking, leaping 100-lb German shepherd pressed forward to try to bite me.

Now of course we're not talking about the serious kind of biting Babe can do, but still, those honks and pinches aren't all that funny. I was able to get quite a workout trying to fend off his fervor, and did get quite a few bruises, even through work gloves. One day I came through the gate with the wheelbarrow, and when he charged, I aimed the wheelbarrow at him to push him back. He merely dove to the side and I ended up being chased around the wheelbarrow until I could duck in the nearby garage door and slam it. Another time I thought I would fix his wagon by putting the plastic bucket I was carrying over his head so that I could get past him -- because once I was past him, the game was over and he was happy. It didn't work. He grabbed the bucket in his teeth, gave a mighty shake of his head, and the plastic bucket cracked into pieces. Escape into the garage again.

Finally, in frustration, I went to the hardware store and bought a wooden closet pole about 1 1/2 inches thick. Hey, I watched Xena -- I know a quarterstaff can be quite a weapon.

The key to victory turned out to be learning how to torque the staff to wrench it free from Babe's grip. I began to win our bouts on a regular basis ... as long as I remembered to carry my "quarterstaff" with me, that is.

Babe lost most of his interest in attacking me on the north side of the house once Howie came to us. Howie apparently needed attacking more than I did, and Howie could outrun Babe. I was off the hook. The times Babe has remembered that I should be attacked for bringing the garbage can back inside the gate, Howie usually intervenes and lures Babe off.

There is one other time that Babe will attack me, Bernie, Alex, or John; I rediscovered it today as I tried to leave the pool. Some days (not all) Babe doesn't want people leaving the pool. He stands at the top of the steps and barks, which is noisy but cute, and one is inclined to ignore him and just walk out. However, one then has to be prepared for a crude pinch on one's midsections. After the third time I tried unsuccessfully to get out of the pool, Howie once again came to my rescue. "Look, Babe! Howie's got the ball! Go get him, Babe!"

As I said, Howie can outrun Babe, so I don't feel too bad. I woo-hoo-hooed my way quickly out of the pool and onto the patio before Babe figured out he'd been tricked, but I've got to remember that Babe is feeling pretty good these days and make sure I step out of the pool when he's occupied elsewhere.

P.S. (a few minutes later)The unpleasant little boy who was assaulting his neighbors with his obscene rap music had visitors over after school (guess he's not all moved out after all) and I ran outside with my phone poised to call 9-1-1. From the shouted obscenities and the bellowed words "my house" that I could hear (in my studio, with all the windows closed) I thought maybe his father was beating up his mother. The boys, who were on the front porch, saw me and stood up to take a good look. I went back inside and put Babe on a leash and went out front to take pictures of my flowers, just as a reminder that there is a big-ass mean-looking dog in residence

And I guess that's one of the big reasons I don't mind playing "Attack Mommy" with Babe. When it counts, he's not attacking me, he's defending me. Good dog, Babe.

1 comment:

Wendy said...

I really do need to meet Babe one of these days! Argus will get tough and "attack" if anyone approaches wearing work gloves; the motivation seems to be to "get the glove." If he succeeds, he plays keep away with the glove for hours. They're funny!