A Cujo Moment
Children and dogs. They’re cute, cuddly and a lot of fun. But we’ve all seen the other side of the coin. We’ve all witnessed the adorable three-year old child with dimples and curls who suddenly turns into a monster in the shopping mall, alternating between going limp and stiff in his parent’s arms, hurling himself on the floor and screaming at the top of his lungs. And oh, that feeling of shame when shoppers turn to watch and judge. Dogs too are chameleons.
My dog Lenny, is a handsome 72-pound mix with long black fur and yellow eyes. He loves his walks and he loves to greet everyone he meets enroute, children, adults and dogs alike. His signature is his fan-like tail which swishes back and forth in excitement at the prospect of meeting someone. This afternoon, we set out for our daily stroll. We arrived at the intersection of a busy street. The light was red so we stopped. In the distance, I spied a woman approaching with two dogs. As they came closer I saw that one was a huge St. Bernard and the other was a massive Newfie, both docile breeds. Lenny dropped onto his belly, tail wagging in anticipation. I smiled. They were now just two feet away. “Those are gorgeous dogs“, I said to the owner. Then, the unthinkable – my dog turned into “Cujo”, snarling and lunging. Now for those of you who are not familiar with Stephen King’s horror novel of the same name, Cujo was a family pet who became rabid and killed several people. Yes, my beloved mutt had became Hell on a Leash. I screamed, “NO BARK, LIE DOWN NOW”, and dropped to my knees, clutching his leash to my chest. Lenny immediately lay down. There was a pause, and then shocked silence all around. The woman and her two dogs re-grouped, made a wide berth around us and walked on. It was over. I got up, brushed the snow from my jeans, told Lenny to stand up, and we continued our walk in the opposite direction.
Ah, children and dogs. They are similar in so many ways. They drive their parents and owners crazy with their unpredictable Cujo moments. What the heck, we love them anyway.