Poor thing never knew what hit her. Spit and gnarly beard, rank fish and beady eyeballs . . . . But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Perhaps I should back track to a prior setting . . . a more tranquil setting.
Alas, that would force me to delve back to before Maggie joined our family, so I’ll focus on one specific day--the day when my daughter and nine month old granddaughter, Marah, came to spend precious hours with me before picking up my grandson from school that afternoon.
The atmosphere of our visit was quite relaxed. Marah, the last, the daintiest, and most delicate of my daughter’s flowers, played contentedly with plastic building blocks while we lounged around and caught up on the latest. I relished our time together and despite a little fuss here and there and a diaper change or two, nothing broke the flow of our conversation. That is, until Maggie discovered we entertained visitors and insisted upon joining us. You see, Maggie is our Welsh/wire-hair fox terrier mix and she’s wired for action. Especially, when in the presence of children. In her defense, I must admit that she’s matured considerably since hitting the ripe old age of two years, but some days she still makes me crazy.
The instant she blew through the doggie door to hobnob with us, she gravitated towards Marah like a horsefly bound for a smorgasbord of juicy steeds, flitting from one side to the other in pursuit of that one good lick. Her victim drew back in horror, with eyelids fluttering, while I blocked her attempts and voiced unheeded rebukes.
Nothing dampened Maggie’s spirit. Even the trusted ‘doggie spanker’ wielded before her nose failed to discourage. As a last resort, I banished her to her kennel, where she collapsed with a woeful sigh to watch us from behind bars. Within moments, she lost all interest and fell asleep.
Some time later, with Marah also bedded down on a make-shift pallet of blankets on the floor of the guest bedroom, I suggested my daughter head out to pick up her son while I kept watch over our sleeping beauty. She gladly concurred. With heart overflowing, I tidied the place a bit, humming a little tune under my breath so as not to awaken the baby.
As I passed by the kennel, my song stopped short at the sight of Maggie’s nose pressed hard against the bars and those doleful eyes of hers, watching my every move. A pitiful vision, indeed. Pitiful enough to weaken my toughest resolve and grant her freedom, if only for a moment, to relieve herself in the yard.
With a memory like an elephant, she shot through the open kennel door and bee lined for the guest room to resume her previous mission. By the time I crossed the threshold in hot pursuit, the sight of Maggie’s wooly rumpus with stub tail whirling about like a rotary blade and bearded snout burrowed deep into the mound of squirming blankets and thrashing arms all but stopped my heart. With eyelids still a flutter and hair plastered against her forehead, a flushed, gasping Marah filled her lungs to capacity and bellowed out her grievances as I whisked her from the floor and attempted to soothe her frantic soul.
I’ve prayed lots since that day. Prayed that the ghoulish nightmare of spit and gnarly beard, rank fish and beady eyeballs would be erased from her memory banks forever and that Marah’s timid offering of her pointer finger towards Maggie’s lustful tongue last week would be first sign of a lasting friendship.