This We Like, 15

Bad dogs

Bad dogs

Bad dogs     Photo: Oli Tennent /

Every time I see a dog lunging at the end of its leash, teeth gnashing, owner braced like a tug-o’-war champ, I think of my rotty-shepherd-Doberman-chow-wild-boar mix, Minnie. Lil’ Mins was rescued from the highway, a quaking, stick-limbed runt with a glossy black coat and horned ears, and I promptly enrolled her in obedience school. She was just as promptly kicked out after jumping on the instructor, a mirthless woman who defended herself with a plant spritzer (a little too zealously, in my opinion). Minners went on to a bright career in terror, snapping at kids, former friends, countless Texans. Once, while I was skiing, she ram-charged a speeding snow­mobile and got smacked ten feet into the air. Another time, on a walk with my ­elderly father, she yanked him off his feet and dragged him along a gutter before he could let go of the leash. The Puppy Diaries? Rin Tin Tin? Please. Min’s biography would be called Snarly and Me. Still, I’d take my rez dog over your hypoallergenic designer hybrid or preening American Kennel Club show pony any day. I know that inside her beats a little golden heart that, no matter how misguided, really wants to be good. Whenever Minoozers and I go hiking or biking; whenever she’s perched next to me in my pickup truck as we sail silently through a midnight blizzard; whenever she curls up at my feet, patiently awaiting her next barking paroxysm or cat mauling, I think, warmly: I would take a bullet for that mutt. And one day I probably will.

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