27. August 2006 · Comments Off on Tails of the Lesser Weevil · Categories: Critters, Domestic, General, Pajama Game

The dog that Sgt/Cpl. Blondie presented me with at Christmas when she came home from serving in the Marines, after telling me that I would have either a dog or a gun in the house— my choice — now appears to have grown to her full adult size of about fifty-five or sixty pounds. She is a densely muscled, fawn-colored dog, with a black mask on her face, and a white chest and toes; almost everyone who sees her recognizes her immediately as being part-boxer. She displays much of the boxer temperament as well; friendly, intelligent and companionable, quiet as dogs go, but capable of being quite willful and stubborn.

The Weevil is much admired by the general public, as an attractive, and appealing dog, whatever the mix is. She has pretty well grasped the obedience thing at this point, also. She’ll sit, stay, come when called, knows that she cannot go beyond the garden gate, or into the kitchen, go into her crate with all speed, and these days, only pees in the house if I have frightened her. I yelled at her once, in a scary, Mercedes McCambridge-exorcist voice, one evening, after she swiped some food off the kitchen counter, and she was freaked for hours afterwards. I have even included her in the book I am currently writing, as a minor character, albeit with an intelligence transplant and a little more size to her.

It’s always been a bit of a mystery as to what the other, non-boxer half was, though. Something large, was the general consensus… Doberman, Great Dane, even Rhodesian ridgeback featured among most of the guesses. Blondie originally acquired her from a friend, who had her from a friend of a friend, who was reported to breed pit bulldogs, and I had always ruled that option out, as I assumed that pit bulldogs were generally smaller than Weevil, and her size had to have come from someplace. Working at home on the next book leaves me to run with her slightly later in the day, and last week, I made the acquaintance of a neighbor who took one look at Weevil and pronounced her to be, yes, about half pit bull. But I thought they were smaller dogs, I said, and the neighbor said, no, some of them were of a good-size… and Weevil’s head was just the right shape. She used to have pit bulls, and to her, it was as clear as anything.

I went home and looked up the characteristics of the breed on a couple of websites, and oh, my— some of them fit Weevil to a T. Like being an absolutely rotten watchdog. She loves people, any and all people, and has no inkling in that little doggie brain that she ought to be barking at any of them. William visited this spring, several months after Weevil came to stay. He has a key, and let himself into the house at four in the morning, and never the slightest “woof” out of the Weevil. She wandered up to him with her tail wagging, as a matter of fact, all friendly curiosity. In the event of a crazed, knife-wielding terrorist breaking into the house, I am almost sure the Weevil would be cowering behind me. The destructive chewing, when bored… yep, that’s the Weevil, all right. And the athleticism; she twirls like a dervish when she is excited, leaping and pirouetting in the air. First thing she does when I let her out in the morning, she leaps and spins three or four times in the air.

But the most convincing characteristic of pit bulls that she displays, would be how she reacts to strange dogs… and that is with extreme hostility.. But over the last few months, meeting another dog-walker with a dog on a leash has usually turned into an upper-body workout for me, and a couple of houses with barking dogs in the back yards send her so wild with hostility that I have to use both hands on the leash to pull her away, if I have not already crossed over to the other side of the road. Once or twice, we have encountered loose dogs, on our walk, and the Weevil turns absolutely rigid with tension. I’ve had to wrap the chain leash several times around my hand, hold her close to my knee and talk to her, as we walked by the loose dog.

Otherwise, the Weevil is very fond of Spike, and she was playful and affectionate with my parents’ and sisters’ dogs at Christmas, as well as a lot of other dogs that she met here and there, but I don’t think I will ever be able to take her to a dog park and let her off the leash , and I am not sure I could even take her into Petco, now, not unless I shot her full of tranquilizers, first. And as long as I live in this neighborhood, I shall keep rather quiet about it in any case.

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