Sunday, August 3, 2008


Norman (Continued)
©Ken Harris, 2008
Norman had the unfortunate habit of biting people. Joanne and I were as safe as gold at Fort Knox but anyone else who came into the yard stood a serious chance of leaving a part of his gluteus maximus in Norman’s mouth. Whenever Joanne came home from work she always shoved Norman into the house first. Anybody lurking there was going to get fanged to a fare thee well.
It didn’t help that the drive-in parking lot joined our property line. Several amateur dog trainers had to be told to stop leaning over the fence and calling to the dog. I especially remember asking one man several times loudly, and profanely, to leave the dog alone. Norman had already taken some tentative steps towards him, trying to decide which hand to remove first. “But dogs like me,” the gentleman said.
“Yes,” I replied, “and this dog will like you so much he will remove your arm and bury it in the back yard.”
The gas man was another near miss. He screeched up to the driveway, stopped diagonally and vaulted the front fence. Norman was waiting for him on the other side of the fence with his mouth open. It was the first time I had ever seen anyone defy the laws of physics, because somehow he reversed direction in mid air and came back down on his own side of the fence. In this case, I was cheering for the dog because the man was showing no respect.
Another meter reader did not escape intact, though. He came into the yard and Norman followed him all around. He was about to leave when Joanne saw him and expressed surprise. “Well,” the gas man said, “dogs like me.” Joanne went back into the house and heard a cry of pain. Norman had sunk his canines right up to the gum line into the man’s leg. And the dog had been following the man around for twenty minutes. Oh, well, another round of quarantine.
The people who gave Norman to us lied about him. He was not a two-year-old dog. He was actually six year old, or even older. Joanne found this out when she had to take him to the vet. Norman had lived with one family in an apartment for five years and then been placed for adoption because, who knows why. The family had taken him to the vet and asked that he be placed in another home. But when Joanne walked in with the dog, the receptionist said, “Oh, no, not poor Norman again.” We were his fifth family since his original abandonment.

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